Service Accountant – Education, Learning and Inclusion x 2 - Milton Keynes Council

Client: Milton Keynes Council

Location: Milton Keynes

Salary:

Closing date: Sunday, 05 December 2021 23:30

Milton Keynes is a rapidly expanding, vibrant and dynamic place to live, work and play. How better to contribute to that continued success than through a unique and rewarding career with Milton Keynes Council. So if you're looking for an excellent benefits package and the chance to make a difference, make a move to Milton Keynes Council. With modern working practices where flexibility is commonplace and performance is measured on outcomes and results, alongside a generous holiday entitlement, you can experience a fulfilling job and great work-life balance. Please note that this role is only open to applicants who have the right to work in the UK.

We are looking for an enthusiastic, inquisitive, and passionate person who will challenge services and processes to ensure good governance and value for money. You will be part of a dynamic, energised finance team who are integral to the wider council services. The finance team work in close collaboration with all services which allows us to get involved with lots of different projects.

We are now looking for two part-qualified Service Accountants to support the Learning and Inclusion Services which include Schools, Children with Special Educational Needs, Sufficiency, Access and Attendance and Education Improvement Services. We offer flexibility as these roles can either be home or office based.  Every day is different and provides lots of opportunities to work with the services to deliver value for money and improve services to the residents of MK. We play a key role in supporting significant procurements, monitoring of large contracts, developing future budgets based on demand analysis and presenting robust business cases for change. You will have the opportunity to build relationships with colleagues across MKC as well as external colleagues from other local authorities, government departments and other external partners.

Key Deliverables

  • Challenge forecasts of budget managers and school business managers (providing training and guidance where this is needed).  Budget managers and schools are responsible (and accountable) for their forecast but in the case of some complex budgets (such as high needs, early years) you will provide modelling and datasets to support the managers to forecast accurately.  Responsibility for finalising all numbers for the monthly reports (including savings tracking, reserves analysis) and providing explanations of all material variances. Responsibility for ensuring establishment control is in place and reflects the available budget.
  • Support the service to develop fully costed proposals for business cases such as pressures and savings proposals, contractual inflation and demographic growth (fully supported by working papers) for the MTFP including identifying issues from the in-year position that will impact the medium term.
  • To support maintained, special and nursery schools which have a deficit budget plan to develop a costed action plan including timescales. Ensure that you have a detailed understanding of the Dedicated Schools Grant technical guidance in relation to school budget shares, early years and high needs funding to provide advice and guidance to schools. This will be delivered as part of the schools traded service.
  • Ensure compliance of services with Financial Regulations (scheme of delegation, procurement thresholds etc.) and look to improve how we share information with and train service managers, school business managers and governors on good financial management (such as the content and accessibility of the finance and local management of schools intranet sites).  Provide positive assurance looking to promptly evidence or escalate issues.
  • Responsibility for submission of grant claims and returns, ensuring compliance with conditions and appropriate working papers to evidence spend. Grant income for service area should be projected and tracked, ensuring prompt allocation of income to budgets.
  • Provision of any financial information or modelling to support project boards, procurements, Freedom of Information requests and guidance to budget managers.

Essential Requirements (Key skills and qualifications)

  • Part qualified CCAB with up to date CPD (relevant to qualification).
  • Comprehensive skills in all Microsoft applications; Excel (spreadsheet modelling and reconciliations), Word (report writing, including business cases) and PowerPoint (presenting financial information).  Experience of using financial systems.
  • Experience of a budget planning cycle, ensuring compliance with governance processes and analysing and reporting on financial issues.
  • Be able to build strong relationships with external stakeholders (head teachers, schools and other LAs) in order to provide good professional advice.
  • Be able to explain financial information in a manner that can be understood by others with different levels of knowledge on the subject, including delivery of presentations and training.
  • Inquisitive and challenging with the ability to apply innovative and creative thinking to challenges within a fast-paced environment.

Departmental Benefits of this role

  • Working as part of the wider finance team, this role is suitable to be considered for home working, with appropriate ICT equipment provided for the role.
  • We have an extensive in-house training programme, both Council wide but also specifically within the finance team.