1. What is the starting salary range for this role?
£80,000 - £120,000 - dependant on number of Academies in the Trust
2. How do you enter this field? (any prior qualifications or experience etc)
Generally most people who make a transition into these roles have either qualified in Practice (ACA - many come from big 4 audit firms) before moving into industry or the not-for-profit sector and then making the switch into an academy Trust - or gained the CIMA/ACCA qualification in industry before moving. A commercial approach is now welcomed within the sector, with a real emphasis on budget control and Business Partnering as part of day to day focus for finance teams.
3. What does a typical day in the office look like? (tasks, responsibilities etc)
Visiting the schools (often a nationwide network) so travelling is a big part of these roles, as well as building relationships and meeting with the principals and trustees. These roles have a real strategic focus where rolling out the central message from the trust into the schools day to day is vital. This can often mean days are varied and made up of meetings with key stakeholders, as well as managing the day to day running of the trusts finances.
4. What is the most challenging aspect of the job?
Building lasting relationships with the school principals, heads of departments and trustees. These Trusts exist to provide the very best opportunities, facilities and teachers for their pupils, so maximising every penny is essential, as well as balancing staff levels and costs at each school without compromising on the quality of education the students receive.
5. What is the most rewarding aspect of the job?
Being on site at the Academies you actually see the results first hand, children using new facilities you have project managed and budgeted for the creation of, seeing the teachers getting the very best from their students and actually having a direct impact on children’s education means these roles are extremely rewarding on a personal level. 6. What skills are the most important to perform well in this kind of role? Being flexible, approachable and fair. These roles require real emotional intelligence and being able to deal with a variety of characters and personal styles in a consistent and fair way across up to 40-50 sites. Being able to do this and achieve consistent results in a challenging financial environment is a very real yet rewarding challenge.
7. What advice would you give to someone looking to apply for a similar role (interview tips, tips to succeed etc)
These roles are like no other, so be prepared for a change of culture and working environment. Balancing your time and energy between the real focus of the financial aspect as well as being visible and approachable to all the schools in the trust with regards to strategic elements and relationship building is key. All stakeholders will require a degree of contact from you and balancing this will determine how successful you are! They are however extremely rewarding roles, so my advice would be to anyone considering a challenge and a rewarding sector change to absolutely consider working with a multi academy trust!