Head of Finance at The British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We create friendly knowledge and understanding between the people of the UK and other countries. We do this by making a positive contribution to the UK and the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust.

We work with over 100 countries across the world in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Each year we reach over 20 million people face-to-face and more than 500 million people online, via broadcasts and publications. Founded in 1934, we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body.

Head of Finance

Department: Finance
Job Category: Finance
Region: Sub Saharan Africa
Pay Band: Senior Leadership Band
Duration: Indefinite

Role Purpose

  • The Head of Finance will have responsibility for all aspects of strategic and operational finance in Nigeria, acting as the finance partner to the Country Director and Nigeria Executive Team.
  • S/he will be responsible for ensuring the finance strategy delivers growth through new business operating models and conforms to the Council’s financial control standards and the broader corporate and regional objectives, whilst ensuring compliance with local tax and regulatory requirements.
  • The post holder will be a key member of the Nigeria Executive Team, working collaboratively with the Regional SSA Finance Teams, and will actively contribute in the design and implementation of regional financial strategy in the country.
  • S/he will be comfortable with a highly visible senior role, during a period of significant organisational change.
  • S/he will have a broad base of finance experience and have previously led multi-location finance teams.
  • The post holder must also display an understanding of the organisation’s aims and the ability to connect with operational colleagues.
  • Where necessary, s/he will be prepared to roll up their sleeves and support their team in making things happen

Geopolitical/SBU/Function Overview
Nigeria is one of the largest economies in Africa. It is also the most populous country with over 180 million citizens. The UK is its largest trading partner. Nigeria holds significant political power in the region and internationally and its society retains a positive attitude to the UK. Therefore, there continue to be major opportunities for the UK and BC to build on our strong existing relationships with the Nigerian government, institutions and customers/audiences. However, there are complex and substantial risks to this work i.e. security and compliance.

Nigeria is the British Council’s largest operation in sub-Saharan Africa with offices in 4 cities – Port Harcourt in the south, Kano in the north, Abuja the Federal capital and Lagos the commercial centre. We also have a number of project offices across the country. Our 200 staff work across a range of states delivering large scale contracts, partnership programmes, examinations, projects as well as services in Arts, Education & Society and English & Exams. We are already achieving substantial impact and income (current annual income is £27.2 million) and have plans to grow and develop our impact further. Partners and clients include government, public and private institutions, foundations, private sector organisations and civil society. We work closely with the wider UK mission including DFID and UKTI.

Future:
42% of Nigeria’s population is under 14. The government has recognised that its Vision 2020 must address the aspirations of this young population as part of its drive to achieve peace and prosperity. This has led to unprecedented interest and investment in Education, the Arts and good governance. This alignment with the UK’s priorities creates a growth environment for the British Council. To be successful in this, we are building understanding with our UK stakeholders of Nigeria as an emerging economy with substantial commercial and development opportunities as well as the challenges they may be more familiar with. In this we seek to integrate our approach with that of the wider UK mission.

We are expanding and scaling up our existing programmes, contracts and services in the Arts, Education & Society, English & Examinations and developing offers to fill important gaps such as in Skills. We are also working to ensure that we have a good balance of partnership, customer services and client funded work across all these sectors. To do all this we need to create the right enabling environment. In addition to developing the professional and technical expertise of our staff, we need to support them to build their relationships within Nigeria, the region and the wider global network. This will ensure we develop as well as adopt and use best practice. We also need rigorous and compliant frameworks to support our work in areas such as finance, tax & status, security, procurement, compliance and quality management. We have new premises in Kano and have a major premises project under development in Abuja. However, there is still more work to be done, especially in Lagos and Port Harcourt to ensure our premises and technology support our brand reputation for integrity, innovation and professionalism.

Main Opportunities/Challenges for this Role

  • The post holder will have, as a member of the Country Management Team (CMT), contribute actively on country level strategy, leadership, policy and decision making.
  • The post holder will be expected to travel within Nigeria, regionally and more widely.
  • As with any business that experiences peaks and troughs of activity, there is likely to be a need to work outside office hours from time to time.

Accountabilities, Responsibilities and Main Duties
The post-holder will:

  • Provide financial information which supports the Country Director and SBU leads in making business decisions in line with country and regional strategy, which grow the business in a profitable and controlled manner.
  • Ensure the delivery of strategic and operational business planning, forecasting and reporting in partnership with country SBU leads.
  • Ensure the assessment of financial risk and return on market opportunities and any investments in new products and services.
  • Lead on ensuring all financial aspects of the setting up new products, projects, investments and services e.g. tax and accounting compliance, as well as pricing and costing are addressed.
  • Effective financial control and risk management, working together with Risk and Compliance regional team to ensure that all aspects of financial risk are managed rigorously.
  • Maintain a strong culture of risk management, both within the operation and with partners.
  • Lead on Treasury and cash flow management for the Nigeria operation.
  • Act as Company Director of the company (limited by shares) in line with legal and organisational requirements of the role and as advised by the Company Secretary and local legal advice. Ensure compliance with the Nigerian regulatory framework, in particular: statutory financial reporting, tax reporting, visa and employment quota regime, exchange control, corporate governance, and other regulations applicable to Nigerian entities (premises, health and safety, HR et al.)
  • Coordinate advice on financial and legal aspects of commercial negotiations.
  • Support Director Programmes to ensure that effective financial monitoring and reporting is undertaken to British Council, client and/or partner standards.
  • Ensure effective and efficient delivery of financial services by maximising productivity in financial transactions and support.
  • Lead in-country organisation, support and response to internal and external audits.
  • Ensure financial business processes are kept up to date, documented and communicated to staff.
  • Ensure that the Fixed Asset Register is completed accurately and monitored on a regular basis.
  • Ensure all Finance and Tax activities are delivered in compliance with and to relevant official standards and governance.
  • Monitor and ensure implementation of changes in Nigerian tax and accounting legislation and ensure any changes required are made to financial and business systems.
  • Lead the development and delivery of the Nigeria Status Business Case ensuring that the operation has the right governance structure to successfully and compliantly deliver its business growth.
  • Develop and leverage potential for business growth through high quality financial modelling and commercial costing and pricing strategies.

Team Leadership and Management:

  • As a member of the Country Management Team (CMT), contribute actively on country level strategy, leadership, policy and decision making.
  • Contribute to ensuring the policies, procedures and systems of the BC are delivered with integrity.
  • Maintain close working relationships with all SBU leads and exploit collaborative working opportunities to support achievement of impact in Nigeria.
  • Demonstrate effective leadership of the Nigeria Finance staff and ensure that line management of staff is to British Council standards.
  • Coach and support individuals and teams.
  • Ensure that capability and capacity in the Finance team is fit-for-purpose and able to respond flexibly to changes in the portfolio and operating context.
  • Ensure financial training for members of the Finance team and operational staff.
  • Ensure Performance Management process in undertaken to meet corporate requirements.
  • Actively support equality and diversity and work to the British Council’s EDI policy at all times

Key Relationships
Internal:

  • Country Director and Nigeria Executive Team
  • Regional Finance Team, UK group Finance, Country Finance and Shared Services Centre
  • Internal Auditors

External:

  • External Auditors
  • Corporate Affairs team (Corporate Governance and Legal)
  • Key colleagues in Strategic Business Units (SBUs)
  • Major suppliers including bank and consultancies
  • Tax authorities
  • Relevant colleagues in British High Commission

Role Requirements 
Threshold requirements:

  • Passport requirements/ Right to work in country – All applicants should have a pre-existing legal status to live and work in Nigeria. The British Council will not facilitate/sponsor visa applications and work permits.

Assessment Stage: Shortlisting:

  • Direct contact or managing staff working with children?

Person Specification
Qualifications:

  • Qualified accountant or equivalent with proven experience of successfully managing and delivering in similar roles

Assessment Stage: Shortlisting:

Role Specific Knowledge & Experience 
Minimum / Essential:

  • Ten years of relevant experience in commercial and/or ‘not for profit‘ organization
  • Commercial experience, including analysis of business operations, investment appraisal feasibility analysis
  • Leading a team of professionals and working across functions/locations
  • Operating in international and multi-cultural organisations
  • Knowledge of Nigerian Tax and reporting regulatory requirements
  • Strong evidence of managing the performance and development of finance teams

Desirable:

  • Evidence of being a key decision maker i.e. member of board or senior management team
  • Experience of managing government funded projects
  • Extensive project management with regards to change with evidence of leading and delivering

Assessment Stage: Short listing and/or interview

Role Specific Skills (if any):
Essential:

  • Financial Planning and Management Accounting (all areas level 4):
  • Business Performance Management (including Investment Appraisal)
  • Financial Analysis
  • Management Reporting
  • Planning, Forecasting and Budgeting

Financial Accounting and Reporting (level 3)

  • Governance, Policy, Financial Risk and Compliance (level 3, except for specialisms)
  • Business partnering (level 4)

Desirable:

  • General Knowledge across other finance fields

British Council Core Skills
Managing Finance and Resources – (Level 5) –  Evaluates performance:

  • Evaluates resource allocation and use over time, to understand business and service performance and assess future opportunities and constraints.

Managing Risk (Level 4) – Exemplifies strategic risk management:

  • Has track record of balancing and mitigating risks in strategic and business plans and of providing a clear model of best practice to the business area/function.

Managing Projects (Level 4) –  Leads larger projects:

  • As above for medium-to-large and/or high risk projects, coordinates a diverse team with awarenessof equality and diversity impact as part of the project specifications and handles changes in specification or plan to meet unexpected circumstances.

Communicating and Influencing (Level 5) – Influences at the highest level:

  • Influences and manages relationships at the highestlevels to build mutual understanding, shapes perceptions of the British Council and creates positive change over the medium term.

Managing People (Level 4) – Leads a large and varied team:

  • Manages a substantial group to deliver annual business objectives. The team includes differentprofessions, cultures and/or areas of business,and may cover multiple locations.

Assessment Stage: Short listing and/or interview

British Council Behaviours

  • Being Accountable – (Most demanding)
  • Making it Happen – (Most demanding)
  • Shaping the Future – (Most demanding)
  • Working Together – (Most demanding)
  • Connecting with Others – (Most demanding)
  • Creating Shared Purpose – (Most demanding)

How to apply


Click here to download Job Details (Pdf)

Click here to download BC Behaviour (pdf)

Click here to download BC Core Skills (pdf)

Interested and qualified? Go to British High Commission career website on jobs.britishcouncil.org to apply

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