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Head of Accounting Services (FTC) needed at London art institute

Royal Academy of Arts
Art Finance, Art Museums and Institutions
   Location: London
   Salary: £60,000+
  Organisation: Royal Academy of Arts
Deadline: 31/03/2019

About the Royal Academy of Arts

The Royal Academy of Arts is one of the UK’s foremost arts institutions and our vision is to be a clear, strong voice for art and artists. It is a particularly exciting time in our history. A series of recent, major investments have transformed our physical and digital infrastructure and our public offer, coinciding with our 250th anniversary in 2018. An ambitious ‘Masterplan’ by David Chipperfield RA has redeveloped our 2.5-acre campus in Mayfair, uniting our two buildings, providing refurbished galleries for the display of art and architecture, a state-of-the-art auditorium, a new learning centre and dedicated Collections gallery, and enabling greater public visibility of our art school at the heart of the Academy.

About this position

We are looking for a Head of Accounting Services to manage a team of 12 (with 5 direct reports) and oversee the RA’s transaction processing function, including Accounts Payable, Purchasing, Accounts Receivable, Cash Management and Friends Finance.  Along with the Director of Finance, you’ll be responsible for control and compliance activities, preparation of the annual statutory accounts for six RA legal entities and contribute to the development of all financial systems and policies and procedures.

About you

You must be a qualified accountant (ideally ACA or ACCA), with at least five years post qualification experience. You will be technically knowledgeable, ideally with experience of the Charities SORP and a good understanding of charity taxation matters (including Gift Aid, VAT, Museums and Galleries Tax Relief).

You must be systems orientated, ideally with knowledge of SUN Accounts and iPOS (or a similar online purchasing solution), as well as a proficient user of MS Office Applications (specifically advanced MS Excel skills).

You will have significant experience of managing and mentoring a transaction processing team, as well as being able to be “hands on” when required. You will be a strong communicator, able to build positive working relationships and be able to effectively advise non-financial colleagues on financial matters.

Supremely well organised, systematic and efficient, you will be able to plan and manage workloads to tight deadlines. You will possess an eye for detail and strong numerical and analytical skills, as well as a proven track record of delivering improvements in processes and controls.


  • A generous pension, contributing up to 10% of your salary into a defined contribution scheme
  • Along with 25 days’ holiday and 8 bank holidays each year, we close between Christmas Eve and New Year, allowing staff additional paid leave
  • Staff are encouraged to attend free History of Art and life drawing classes on site
  • We also have a staff choir, football, running and craft clubs
  • Best of all, we have reciprocal agreements with many leading museums and art galleries in London and New York that enable you to enter for free with your staff pass.

Interviews week commencing 1 April 2019




Title:                                       Head of Accounting Services

Department:                           Finance Department

Reports to:                             Director of Finance (“FD”)

Responsible for:                   RA Accounting Services team based in London



  • To manage and oversee the RA accounting and transaction processing services (including General Ledger, Accounts Payable (including expenses) and Purchasing, Accounts Receivable (credit control and billing), Cash Management and Fixed Assets)
  • To work closely with the FD and oversee control and compliance activities (including preparation of annual statutory accounts and liaison with auditors; completion of all statutory and tax reporting; review of balance sheet reconciliations; monitoring implementation of internal/external Audit recommendations); to ensure the safe stewardship of RA assets through the implementation and monitoring of a sound control environment; and to contribute to the effectiveness and development of all financial systems and processes
  • To work closely with the Deputy Director of Finance (Decision Support) and Head of Procurement, as well as the FD, to ensure a co-ordinated approach to the Finance Function
  • To establish working relationships with colleagues at the RA to facilitate all aspects of transaction processing and control and compliance activities to the wider RA


  1. Manage the maintenance of general ledger records, ensuring accuracy, timely accounting, resolving issues and queries, as required.
  2. Prepare the annual statutory accounts and monthly audit files for six “group entities”, and to liaise with the FD and external auditors, as required.
  3. Review monthly balance sheet reconciliations to ensure that the information reported in the management accounts accurately reflects the financial performance of the RA and provides an audit trail to appropriate source data.
  4. Review the Monthly Review Schedules (MRS), ensuring processes and procedures are being duly completed. Follow up and resolve any control weaknesses identified on a timely basis.
  5. Manage and direct the RA accounting and transaction processing services with five direct reports (Senior Financial Accountant, Accounts Payable & Purchasing Supervisor, Sales Ledger & Credit Controller, Cash Management Assistant and Friends Finance Manager) and currently a further seven indirect reports. Undertake appraisal reviews and monitor and review performance to ensure the team applies a professional standard of performance at all times.
  6. Contribute to the overall development of systems, processes and procedures within Finance – working closely with the FD, as appropriate and as directed.
  7. Review and duly submit timely statutory and tax reports, including VAT returns; National Statistics Surveys; Gift Aid submissions; Museum and Galleries Tax Relief claims, and Charity Commission returns.
  8. Provide financial analysis relating to the financial accounts for inclusion in management papers and reports, specifically the annual Balance Sheet budget.
  9. Support the FD in investment and treasury management planning.
  10. Identify areas, which may have a potential VAT impact or impact on current VAT treatment, and brings these to the attention of the FD.
  11. Provide guidance on the financial impact of projects, as requested.
  12. Review the effectiveness of current systems and processes, and evaluate the impact of new systems or changes and implement any improvements required, including those identified from internal audit or external audit reports.
  13. Act as the main contact point to the accounting software service provider, for issues relating to Sun Systems (including iPOS).
  14. Provide assistance and training for other members of Finance (or wider RA) on use of Sun Systems (including Query & Analysis and iPOS) and Microsoft Excel.
  15. Prepare / review a quarterly dashboard report of Key Performance Indicators across transaction processing and control and compliance activities.
  16. Ensure the highest standards of financial controls are set for the RA, consistent with RA accounting policies and procedures, and are maintained effectively and complied with across the RA business, including undertaking periodic review and update of the Financial Policies and Procedures Manual.
  17. Assist in the preparation of long term financial planning.
  18. Attend quarterly Audit Committee meetings and prepare / assist in the preparation of material for both the Audit and Finance Committees.
  19. Undertake any other duty, which may reasonably be allocated by the FD or other senior officer.
  20. Ensure that Health and Safety policies, procedures and regulations are known, understood and complied with by yourself, your team and any contractors, suppliers and all others who work with the team.



  • Qualified accountant (ideally ACA or ACCA) with at least 5 years PQE.
  • Experience of Charity SORP accounting is desirable.
  • Demonstrable experience of management accounting, transaction processing and control and compliance procedures is essential.
  • Strong skills in financial systems – preferably SUN Accounts, in particular experience of Query & Analysis. IPOS experience would be an advantage.
  • Existing experience of managing people; strong coaching and mentoring skills.
  • Excellent IT skills; advanced user of Excel and PowerPoint.
  • Excellent attention to detail.
  • Ability to plan, manage and control complex workloads to tight deadlines.
  • Well organised with a methodical and accurate approach to work.
  • An active approach to improving processes and developing the use of systems.
  • Strong written and oral communication skills.
  • Excellent analytical skills.
  • Ability to advise non-specialist colleagues and non-financial managers on complex technical financial matters.
  • Establish positive, productive working relationships and work closely with internal colleagues.
  • Flexible and co-operative approach to work as a team member initiating and building on ideas, prepared to work to deadlines and to see projects through to completion.
  • An interest in the visual arts and a commitment to the aims and objectives of the RA.

Art. World. Jobs.