Research Finance Manager (Post Award)

Fulltime Permanent University of Birmingham Email Job
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Job Description

Research Finance Manager (Post Award) – Research Support Services – 5033 – Grade 8

– (210000Q3)

Position Details
Research Support Services – Finance Office

Location: University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham UK

Full time starting salary is normally in the range £41,526 to £49,553, with potential progression once in post to £55,750

Grade 8

Full Time – Permanent

Closing date – 15th June 2021

Job summary

The post holder is responsible for leadership of the Research Post Award Finance (RPAF) team, which has c30 staff split into five teams. The team’s remit covers a full range of post-award financial administration activities, including maintenance of appropriate systems records, invoicing funders in accordance with funder terms, and monitoring and reconciling account expenditure in compliance with internal and external assurance requirements. The University’s portfolio of externally funded research grants and contracts generates income of c£150m per annum.

The Research Post Award Finance Manager will be responsible for promoting a service-oriented culture within the team, acting as a role model of actions and behaviours that anticipate and respond to the needs of internal and external customers, and proactively develop systems and processes that will ensure continuous improvement in the levels of service delivered by the Research Post Award Finance team.

The post holder should be able to understand, interpret and communicate relevant features arising from the complex structure of the University’s system of financial control, with particular regard to research activities, to staff at all levels. In particular they will be required to act as the key point of contact for a wide range of stakeholders on all aspects of managing research finance at the University. This will require expert knowledge of the requirements of key external research funding bodies, a detailed understanding of the operation of our core research finance systems, and the ability to interrogate and interpret research finance data and to ensure consistently accurate research management reporting.

It is essential that the Research Post Award Finance Manager understands the interaction between research accounting and the University’s wider accounting systems and processes in order to provide specialist advice to the Financial Services Management Accounting Team and the College Finance Business Partners (FBPs); the post holder must work to ensure that RPAF and the FBPs work collaboratively as one Finance Office team in providing a comprehensive, co-ordinated and high quality service to support the Colleges in delivering the University’s strategic aims.

The RPAF team sits within Research Support Services (RSS), and the post holder will be expected to provide high level professional and technical support to peers within the wider Post Award department as well as to work with colleagues in the RSS senior management team in order to contribute to the continuous improvement of research support systems and processes for the benefit of the academic research community.

Main duties

  • Line management of 5 Research Team Leaders (RTL) and overall responsibility for a team of 25 Research Finance Administrators.

  • Promoting a culture in the Research Post Award Finance team in which the actions of team members are guided by the Finance Office values of integrity, service, innovation, ownership, respect and teamwork, and personally acting as a role model for behaviours which embody these core values.

  • Responsibility for ongoing individual performance coaching and personal capability development through regular one-to-one review meetings, management of the annual Personal Development Review (PDR) process, and ensuring a schedule of regular team meetings both for the RTL group and for the 5 teams within Research Post Award Finance.

  • Engaging the RTL group and the wider Research Post Award Finance team fully in the Finance Office change agenda, ensuring not only that the team members appreciate the need for ongoing change to meet the needs of an evolving external environment, but also that the team’s suggestions for process improvement are actively encouraged and that individuals and groups are supported through the delivery of change initiatives.

  • Responsibility for developing team operating standards, monitoring systems and processes for identifying and spreading best practice to facilitate the delivery of robust quality assurance and high levels of service to internal and external customers; ensure that feedback from key stakeholders (for example auditors, academic customers and professional service colleagues) is reviewed, working with peers to incorporate into action plans to improve future performance by both individuals and teams.

  • Responsibility for anticipating, planning and prioritising resource requirements in the team, ensuring that the deployment of resources is allocated to areas of greatest need and that opportunities to maximise resource efficiency through removing duplication or other inefficiencies are fully exploited; ensure that the individual teams within RPAF fully support each other as one team working together to respond to workload demand peaks and/or staff absence.

  • Ensure that succession planning needs are kept under review and that recruitment and selection processes are managed to ensure the timely appointment of high quality new team members.

  • Ensure that Research Post Award Finance strategy and action plans reflect the Finance Office agenda of driving process simplification, proactively seeking opportunities within the team to remove unnecessary or duplicated tasks; encourage the identification and adoption of best practice across the team, actively engaging the RTLs and their teams in driving a consistent ‘one best way’ culture; ensure that Research Post Award Finance process change initiatives fully consider the impact on other stakeholder groups in the University, for example College research support offices and colleagues in Financial Services, and devise communication strategies to secure their buy in to change initiatives.

  • Apply expert knowledge of research post award finance to promote process changes in and between other departments that will improve the overall effectiveness of research support for academics across the institution; engage with change initiatives outside Research Post Award Finance and ensure that recommendations arising from these projects incorporate and/or integrate with existing best practice in research post award finance administration.

  • Provide support to management as required in the delivery of strategic change projects and the overall delivery of the Finance Office process and culture change agenda.

Financial administration of externally funded research projects:

  • Assist in the resolution of complex financial contract issues (either directly or through individual team leaders), ensuring that contracts do not unduly disadvantage the University’s cash flow position or represent undue financial risk. This may involve complex negotiation with stakeholders (for example funders and College academic management) in conjunction with the Contracts team.

  • Provide oversight of the portfolio of research project accounts to mitigate risks and ensure that the University’s cash flow is maximised; this will include monthly reviews of funder systems such as JeS reports, prelive reports (to ensure claim schedules are maintained for all projects), facilities on fEC projects (reversing ineligible facilities as required), unapproved invoices, aged debtor reports (liaising with TMCC to agree recovery actions), and research accounts past the project end date (setting targets for Team Leaders and monitoring performance).

  • Ensure effective oversight of the complex financial management processes required for specialist and highly regulated areas such as clinical trials and EU government research projects.

  • Responsibility for managing the interaction between Research Post Award Finance and Colleges to ensure that proposed staff appointments and extensions are affordable and applicable to external funding frameworks, and that the processes for the approval of staff on research projects are efficiently managed between all stakeholders (including the College Post Approval Groups).

  • Support the coordination of Institutional grants with colleagues in Research Support Services, including personal responsibility for the management of selected major strategic project accounts (for example major institutional grants and significant multi-million pound institute/hub awards).

  • Coordination and management of funder external audits of our research accounting processes, ensuring that a timetable of audit visits is maintained and information required by auditors is provided in a timely manner in order to facilitate verification of both internal processes and the reported position in respect of externally funded research activity

Research reporting and management information

  • Responsibility for the provision of a range of monthly research performance reports, ensuring that performance trends are analysed to identify and resolve data integrity issues prior to the circulation of the reports.

  • Responding to ad hoc management information requests from other research stakeholders, either through providing reports or by giving advice and training to colleagues which enable them to access their ongoing management information requirements from University systems such as Oracle Fusion.

  • Responsibility for providing financial reporting to various committees, for example the maintenance and updating of monthly reports for the Research Technology Infrastructure Co-ordination Group (RTICG).

  • Develop an in-depth ‘expert user’ understanding of the operation of our Oracle Fusion core research finance system, ensuring that accurate data is held in these systems to facilitate robust account monitoring and accurate reporting

Other duties

  • As a member of the Senior Management Group in the Post Award Department, the post holder will work with colleagues to ensure that a consistent approach is taken to research finance policy and advice within Research Support Services, the Finance Office and the University; this is likely to involve the identification and interpretation of external influences and their effect on activities.

  • Periodic high level contributions to other University or Finance Office initiatives, presentations to external bodies and at high level within the University, and membership of University-wide working groups

  • Actively manages equality, diversity and inclusion through monitoring and evaluation and actively challenging unacceptable behaviour.

  • Other ad hoc duties related to the remit of the RPAF team and Research Support Services as requested by Management

Required Knowledge, Skills, Qualifications, Experience

  • Educated to degree standard

  • A qualified accountant with membership of one of the major professional bodies or equivalent.

  • Extensive experience of managing a portfolio of research accounts in a UK university, with a detailed working knowledge of key HE processes such as fEC and major funder terms and conditions (for example RCUK, EU Government, major charity funders)

  • Excellent IT skills and practical experience in using Oracle based finance systems is desirable.

  • Team leadership experience in a customer focussed environment, including proven ability to apply disciplined coaching and people management techniques to achieve key business objectives

  • Experience in leading change, with demonstrable success in gaining the commitment of diverse groups of individuals to implement initiatives designed to enhance process efficiency and/or improve customer service

  • Excellent communication and influencing skills, including proven track record of engaging effectively with senior colleagues and external organisations

  • Experience of championing Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in own work area.

  • Ability to monitor and evaluate the extent to which equality and diversity legislation, policies, procedures are applied.

  • Ability to identify issues with the potential to impact on protected groups and take appropriate action.

Informal enquires to Craig Maskell, email:

Valuing excellence, sustaining investment

We value diversity and inclusion at the University of Birmingham and welcome applications from all sections of the community and are open to discussions around all forms of flexible working.

Primary Location GB-GB-Birmingham
Work Locations Accounting – Finance Office Room 130 Aston Webb B Block University of BirminghamEdgbaston Birmingham B15 2TT
Job Specialist/Professional
Organization Finance Office
Schedule Regular
Job Posting 17.05.2021, 6:00:00 PM
Grade (for job description) Grade 8
Salary (Pay Basis) 41,526.00
Maximum Salary 55,750.00
Advert Close Date 15.06.2021, 5:59:00 PM

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