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Chartered Public Finance Accountant Profile


This Section of the site details information that you might find useful if you are looking to secure employment or require further details regarding working as a Chartered Public Finance Accountant. This page details the following Information:-

  • Finding Suitable Work as a Chartered Public Finance Accountant
  • Working Duties Expected
  • Hours and Environment
  • Working Skills Required
  • Training Requirements
  • Salary Expectations
  • Trade Information
  • Other useful Chartered Public Finance Accountant Work Information

Finding Suitable Work

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Working Duties Expected

Chartered public finance accountants are responsible for ensuring the effective operation of accounting and financial activities within public sector organisations. Whilst many work for public bodies, such as local and central government and publicly funded organisations, an increasing number are employed within industry and in private accountancy firms.

The role varies widely from general financial administration to management accounting. Whether employed directly within the public sector or working within it on a consultative basis, chartered public finance accountants focus on ensuring that public services are provided as effectively as possible with the limited resources available.

What does the role encounter?

A Chartered Management Public Finance Accountants work includes:

• developing and managing financial management systems and policies;
• ensuring the effective financial management of public money by supporting the planning and implementation of policy objectives;
• making financial decisions and advising key bodies and individuals, such as management boards and budget holders, using financial management information;
• preparing and monitoring budgets and accounts;
• controlling expenditure and cash flow;
• undertaking financial administration;
• preparing reports on annual accounts and budget information for the auditor;
• controlling the overall capital and revenue budgets for departments;
• assessing and advising on estimates for project funding and continuing running costs;
• preparing recommendations on large-scale projects;
• checking that funding is properly apportioned;
• conducting internal audits, for example working on wage reviews;
• checking creditors' invoices;
• charging customers for services;
• liaising with managerial staff, colleagues and clients;
• examining financial records and statements and checking them for accuracy;
• balancing the costs of the public service against income;
• keeping up to date with developments in public sector financial and management accounting practices;
• managing and training staff, when employed at a senior level.

Roles within private sector companies providing services to the public or not-for-profit sector on a consultative basis tend to focus more on reviewing financial systems and efficiency than on central accountancy activities.

What level of salary and benefits are there?

These figures are purely for guidance only. Salaries may vary for the area the job is situated in, age, experience along with a host of other factors:

• Typical starting salaries: £16,500 - £22,000, increasing to £25,000 - £38,000 upwards on qualification.
• Typical salaries with three to five years' experience: £30,000 - £50,000.
• Typical salaries at senior levels: £40,000 - £100,000.
• Exact pay rates vary depending upon employer, location, experience and responsibility.

What type of hours will I have to work?

Working hours are usually between 35 and 40 hours, Monday to Friday. However, there are often extra hours to work at peak times of the year and this will include late evening and weekend work. Most of the work is undertaken in an office setting, but some travel to meetings is required. Some jobs in this profession require more intensive meetings and will involve liaising with clients and key personnel, for example if working in a consultative or audit role. Whilst the work is not generally pressured, specific periods, for example year ends, can be stressful. In addition, taking responsibility for the successful management of key financial resources can be demanding. The profession is fairly evenly balanced between men and women, with some increase in the number of female entrants. Self-employment is sometimes possible for professionals with a good level of experience. There are also opportunities to work on a freelance basis, though again this is more for those with experience or who have retired. Companies employ freelance staff when the workload is particularly heavy, in areas such as audit work. This involves spending a lot of time away from one's desk and in a wide variety of employment environments. After qualification, part-time careers and job-sharing are also possible ways of working. Jobs exist in most areas throughout the country, particularly in cities and larger towns. The role provides the satisfaction of working to support often vital not-for-profit and public sector services. During training there is a need to study whilst working, which requires commitment, dedication and long hours. Absence from home at night is occasionally needed, but overseas travel is uncommon.

What type of skills will I need?

You will need to have some or all of the following type of skills to carry out this job:

• numeracy;
• strong oral and written communication and team working skills;
• IT proficiency;
• analytical and problem-solving skills;
• a well-motivated approach to respond positively to the demands of the job and to successfully combine professional training and working.

Competition for traineeships is keen but, once qualified, movement is relatively easy. Employers may visit your institution to recruit or notify careers services of any vacancies directly.

What type of training will I receive?

The Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy (CIPFA) is the main professional body and its qualifications develop candidates as accountants and financial managers. An open learning system exists, as well as day release. Many employers offer paid study leave and structured training schemes. Trainees are also required to experience a range of finance, accountancy and audit functions in the workplace, normally guided by a qualified colleague.
In larger organisations, such as councils, trainees will rotate between a number of departments to gain experience of areas such as:

• financial planning;
• audit and financial systems;
• service-based accountancy;
• treasury management.

The CIPFA qualification is made up of three parts and takes approximately three years to complete. New candidates also have to undertake the Initial Professional Development Scheme, through which they must keep a detailed record of their professional experience. The qualification is structured as follows:

• Certificate level, which is made up of four modules: financial accounting; management accounting; financial reporting; and financial management systems and techniques. Completion of this leads to eligibility for Affiliate membership of CIPFA.
• Diploma level, which comprises five modules and two half modules: audit and assurance; leadership and management; financial and performance reporting; accounting for decision making; governance and public policy; public finance; and taxation. Completion leads to eligibility for Associate membership of CIPFA:
• The Final Test of Professional Competence, which comprises two modules: strategic business management and a finance and management case study. Completion of this leads to full membership of CIPFA.

Career Progression:

Many large public sector bodies provide well-structured career paths with many opportunities to develop and specialise. A career in public sector financial management offers a wide range of challenging and rewarding opportunities. Employment opportunities can be found in areas ranging from local government to The National Health Service (NHS); from education to central government and all its specialist agencies. Career development is based on both ability and mobility.

Those working within local government are appointed to a specific accounting or auditing role on qualification and are responsible for the overall financial provision of the department/service. Within a couple of years many Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy (CIPFA) qualified accountants are in a position to progress and this may involve larger resources and the management of entire departments.

What Sort Of Industries Have A Requirement For This Type Of Job?

• local and central government;
• educational institutions;
• housing associations;
• charities;
• police authorities;
• utilities bodies;
• healthcare bodies, including The National Health Service (NHS), and national and district audit bodies.

The public sector covers a broad-ranging group of organisations, with the term generally meaning bodies that provide services to the public, although this does not necessarily have to be within the public sector. Public services would typically be funded through taxation and work relates to the balancing of costs rather than the maximisation of profits.

Are Their Related Types Of Jobs?

Yes. This list is not exhaustive but here are some similar and associated types of role:

• Chartered accountant
• Chartered certified accountant
• Chartered management accountant
• Financial manager.

What trade magazines or publications are available for this industry?

All of the following magazines and journals can be purchased from any good bookstore:

TARGET City and Finance.
The Hobsons Directory.
Municipal Yearbook.
Public Finance.

Where can I find further information?

Further information can be found by visiting any of the following bodies and organisations the addresses and their respective websites are:

Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy (CIPFA)
3 Robert St, London WC2N 6RL
Tel: 020 7543 5600

Department of Finance in Ireland
Government Buildings, Upper Merrion Street, Dublin 2
Tel: 353 1 6767571

Institute of Public Finance
7th Floor, NLA Tower, 12-16 Addiscombe Road, Croydon CR0 0XT
Tel: 020 8667 1144

Other Useful Chartered Public Finance Accountant Work Information

We have a section available at this site on Chartered Public Finance Accountant job interview tips that you may find of interest should you wish to brush up your skills in this area and we also have number of career articles that may also be of use to you from within our guides and documents section.

Locations where we feature Jobs include:-
Aberdeen, Berkshire, Aberdeen, Bath, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cambridgeshire, Cardiff, Central London, Cheltenham, Cornwall, Coventry, Derby, Devon, Docklands, Dorset, Dundee, Durham, East Midlands, East Sussex, Edinburgh, Essex, Glasgow, Gloucester, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leeds, Leicester, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Midlands and in various parts of the West Midlands

Details of other Chartered Public Finance Accountant Jobs can also be found in other UK wide areas including:-
Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Norfolk, North London, North Midlands, Northampton, Northamptonshire, Northern Ireland, Northumberland, Norwich, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Oxford, Oxfordshire, Plymouth, Salisbury, Scotland, Sheffield, Shropshire, Somerset, South East, South London, South Midlands, Southampton, Staffordshire Surrey, Swansea, Swindon, Telford, Wales, Warwickshire, West End, West London, West Midlands, Worcestershire, York and throughout Yorkshire.

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