London, Greater London (On-site)
£28,822 - £34,042 per year
Permanent, Full-time
Job description
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About Challenge Partners 

Who we are: Challenge Partners is a practitioner-led education charity that enables collaboration and challenge between schools to enhance the life chances of all children, especially the most disadvantaged. 

How we do it: The Challenge Partners central team works closely with school leaders and other education professionals to facilitate a variety of programmes and networks for schools in our partnership. We ensure the knowledge and skills of the best in our network are available to everyone, reducing the variability in education provision whilst improving the performance of all schools, leaders, and pupils in the partnership. 

Our team: We are a small, but growing, team of around 25 people. We are dedicated to working hard for our schools whilst enjoying what we do and who we work with. You will be working in a friendly and dynamic group with backgrounds in education, the wider social enterprise and charity sector, and the corporate world. The majority of roles are school-facing, and team members work closely with leaders in our schools to generate and refine ideas and create maximum value for the network. 

Job purpose

To ensure the smooth running of Challenge Partners’ finance and operations, reporting to the Head of Finance and Operations. Working with the Head of Finance and Operations and the Finance and Operations Assistant to ensure the finance systems and processes are up to date and accurate, in terms of both the financial data within the accounts and the administration of the finance set up within the system. The Finance and Operations officer is expected to take on other tasks commensurate with the role and contribute to cross-cutting organisational priorities with the expectation to undertake tasks outside the immediate scope of the role.

The Finance and Operations Officer has line management responsibility for the Finance and Operations Assistant and responsibility for overseeing the day to day operations of the finance and operations team.

The role of the Finance and Operations Officer is key in the delivery of accurate and timely management accounts and will have to work closely with the Head of Finance and Operations to ensure this is delivered.

The Finance and Operations Officer will manage Challenge Partners finance and operations to: ensure compliance with accounting practices and tax requirements; promote the continued improvement of financial systems and operations; and ensure timely and accurate payment of suppliers.

Financial Management

  • Using Xero accounting software, manage all day-to-day accounting and book-keeping operations including income and invoice processing.

  • Raising and issuing all sales invoices.

  • Processing and coding all purchase invoices received and staff expenses.

  • Reconciliation of all bank transactions as required to ensure that Xero is always up to date and accurate.

  • Reconciliation of all credit or debit card payments (online or in-person) to the appropriate income streams.

  • Preparing the necessary VAT reports.

  • Lining up purchase invoices for payment in line with the level of delegation.

  • Manage the regular banking of income (cheques and cash)

  • Timely and accurate monthly reconciliation of bank accounts

  • Manage/prepare prepayments and accruals workings monthly/quarterly for management accounts

  • Complete/review balance sheet reconciliations for all accounts monthly/quarterly.

  • Ensure maintenance of the fixed asset register and depreciation recorded appropriately

  • Ensuring all documentation is filed, as necessary.

  • Ensure direct reports have the management input, training, resources and guidance they need to undertake their roles efficiently and effectively, including maintaining our financial system (Xero) and other internal systems

  • Work with the Head of Finance and Operations as and when required and appropriate with other work related to the preparation of monthly management accounts, year end accounts preparation and external audit process.

  • Assist the Head of Finance and Operations with the annual budgeting process.

  • Identify and work with the Head of Finance and Operations to update financial processes and policies.

Payroll and Pension Management

  • Liaison with our payroll provider to ensure information is up to date and payroll is accurate. 

  • Allocation of monthly payroll transactions to the correct cost codes. 

  • Prepare payroll and approve journals, posting into Xero monthly

  • Processing of annual returns. 

  • Liaison with our pension provider to ensure that agreed pension contributions are made

Statutory Compliance

  • Prepare and file quarterly VAT returns, accurately and timely

  • Ensure Challenge Partners complies with all HMRC current and future tax regulations and maximises tax opportunities, including VAT and GiftAid

  • Complete all HMRC or other returns accurately and on time.

  • Drive continuous improvement of processes and systems to manage UK compliance and efficiency of VAT/Tax reporting

  • Keep up-to-date with PAYE and other relevant tax legislation. 

  • Prepare the annual Inland Revenue return for PAYE and other returns as required. 


IT Support and Office Management

  • Working with IT suppliers, ensure that all critical processes are documented and at least two other members of staff and senior management know and understand their contents.

  • Produce a new starter checklist and deliver IT induction for all new staff, filing completed checklist electronically

  • Produce a leavers checklist and complete tasks, filing completed checklist electronically

  • Liaise with IT suppliers to monitor and manage contractual agreements such as Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

Person Specification

Specific skills and attitudes:

Challenge Partners is a growing organisation and seeks an ambitious and driven individual able to develop with the role, and take on increasing responsibility. Specific skills and attitudes we are looking for in an applicant are as follows:

  • Drive for personal development and for the continued improvement of systems and operations.

  • Ability to manage and prioritise a high workload and multiple tasks in a fast-paced environment with tight deadlines.

  • Financial knowledge including a strong understanding of finance systems and management accounting processes

  • Qualified accountant or working towards your qualification

  • Ability to prioritise effectively to meet competing demands, through excellent organisation, time management and relationship management skills

  • Excellent financial skills and awareness. Experience of working with Xero would be an advantage, but is not a requirement; high levels of numeracy and close attention to detail are essential

  • Determination to see tasks through and to deliver consistently high-quality work to deadlines with limited supervision

  • Ability to form and maintain good working relationships with colleagues inside the organisation and partners outside, acting as the interface between Challenge Partners and external providers of finance and IT support

  • High computer literacy and adaptability, with experience of using the Google Suite an advantage. While you will not be expected to provide IT support, you will need to be comfortable working alongside our external IT support providers to ensure their service meets our needs

  • Experience in using Salesforce (or a similar CRM system) would be an advantage, but training will be provided

  • Willingness to learn and give and receive feedback

  • An ability to take the initiative and identify solutions or improvements, rather than being satisfied with the status quo

  • Flexibility and ability to thrive in uncertain conditions. We are a growing charity, where change is the norm – you will need to be comfortable with this, whilst also being able to develop and implement systems to bring order and clarity to our work

How to apply and our recruitment process

Challenge Partners is committed to further enhancing diversity, equity and inclusion within our team and we welcome applications from all suitably qualified persons regardless of their race, gender as well as sex, disability, religion/belief, sexual orientation or age. Our approach is to use blind shortlisting in accordance with best practice.

If you would like to be a part of our team, then please apply via Charity Job no later than midnight on Sunday 13th February 2022, but we will review applications on a rolling basis and would encourage early applications. 

  •   A CV of no more than two pages 

  •  A statement of no more than two pages demonstrating how you meet the requirements of the role and the person specification


More about Challenge Partners

Who we are: Challenge Partners is a practitioner-led education charity that enables collaboration and challenge ... Read more

Refreshed on: 27 January 2022
Closed date: 11 February 2022 at 23:59
Tags: Finance

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