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Head of Financial Reporting

What does a Head of Financial Reporting do?

The role of a Head of Financial Reporting involved all aspects of financial management, including corporate reporting, annual statutory reporting, as well as the development of internal policies and procedures. This role involves incorporating, managing and developing current reporting tools, management accounts, statutory accounts, overseeing the annual audit, tax returns and other regulatory returns.

As a Head of Financial Reporting you will lead on the standardisation of accounting policies between all group companies, or across the business depending on its size, in order to achieve harmonisation across the business. You will also lead on the financial reporting process, ensuring the needs of the business are met and delivered accurately within reporting guidelines.

Fundamental skills that are required in order to be a successful Head of Financial Reporting, include:

  • Technically strong, qualified Accountant;

  • Key focus on internal controls and processes;

  • A real aptitude for working with numbers;

  • External relationships management – External Auditors / External Tax Advisors etc;

  • A passion for business improvements and higher level view of the finance function;

  • Strong reporting skills;

  • High level of attention to detail and accuracy;

  • Strong leadership and communication skills;

  • Strong interpersonal relation skills;

  • Superb problem-solving skills;

  • Excellent ability to make informed decisions;

  • Confident communication and presentation skills; and

  • Ability to meet strict deadlines.

Are there any similar roles to Head of Financial Reporting?

In different types of businesses, roles with a similar specification to a Head of Financial Reporting can have a different job title. Some businesses will hire a Group Financial Controller but they will ultimately have a very similar job specification to a Head of Financial Reporting.

How do I become a Head of Financial Reporting?

There are multiple entry routes you can take in order to become an established Head of Financial Reporting. An initial route is to work your way up within an industry setting by starting out as an Accounts Assistant or via a Graduate Scheme and studying ACCA or CIMA. In both of these routes you would typically progress via the Financial Accounts side of the business through to Finance Reporting Manger then to Head of Reporting. Although this route isn’t that common, it is an option.

A more common route follows training within an Accountancy firm while studying and completing an ACA qualification and then moving into industry. This can be at different levels as some candidate move after 3 years (newly qualified level) and secure a role as a Financial Accountant before progressing to Reporting Manager and later moving up to Head of Reporting, while others will stay in an Accountancy firm until reaching the level of Audit Manager before making the switch to industry to become a Reporting Manager. Finally, some will make the transition once they have reached Senior Manager or Associate Director level from practice, securing a Head of Reporting role in industry as their first move.


Typical Job Spec for a Head of Financial Reporting

General Purpose

A typical Head of Financial Reporting will be responsible for all aspects of financial management including corporate reporting, annual statutory reporting, as well as developing internal policies and procedures. The role involves managing existing reporting tools as well as developing new reporting ones, handling management accounts, statutory accounts and overseeing the annual audit, tax returns and other regulatory returns.

Core Role and Responsibilities

  • Manage the month end process to deliver timely and accurate monthly reporting timetable;

  • Manage a finance team – usually technically focused Accountants e.g. Financial Accountant / Finance Reporting Manager / Controls & Compliance Accountant;

  • Manage the completion of the annual statutory accounts process;

  • Manage the completion of timely and accurate tax and other statutory returns;

  • Key liaison point with external tax advisors;

  • Manage and complete of investor/ lender reporting requirements on a frequent basis;

  • Develop business processes, accounting policies and testing plans to maintain and strengthen internal controls;

  • Manage the entity rationalisation plan to reduce the size and complexity of the Group;

  • Assist with system development across all areas of finance;

  • Ensure compliance with the appropriate accounting standards and maintenance of the Group accounting manual;

  • Develop local reporting to improve decision making;

  • Development of financial systems and reporting;

  • Keep up to date with technical compliance issues;

  • Review policies to deliver confidence in results produced, to control risk, prevent fraud, identify financial issues;

  • Lead both internal and external Audit – develop and maintain stakeholder relationships;

  • Ensure accounting policies and procedures are embedded; and

  • Ensure continual improvement.

Core Competencies

  • Qualified ACA, CIMA or ACCA, or QBE

  • Experience in a Senior Reporting / Group Finance role

  • Technically strong Accountant – audit background is beneficial

  • Demonstrated track record financial reporting experience with multiple legal entities and levels of consolidation

  • An understanding of financial systems and using technology to improve reporting timelines and standards

  • Business planning and analysis skills

  • Ability to coach & develop others to improve service delivered and individual performance

  • Pro-active approach and motivated to continually improve business processes

  • Strong ability with Microsoft Excel

  • Strong knowledge of regulatory standards

  • Good knowledge of compliance with all internal and external management and regulatory control

  • Proven track record of driving process efficiencies