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SEO Deputy Financial Accountant -FTA

Posted: 2 Dec 2019 Closes: 15 Dec 2019
East Midlands, Eastern, London, North East, North West, South East, South West, West Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber £35,540 - £43,629
Fixed term & Full time defra/20191202055214

DEFRA is the UK government department responsible for safeguarding our natural environment, supporting our world-leading food and farming industry, and sustaining a thriving rural economy. Our broad remit means we play a major role in people's day-to-day life, from the food we eat, and the air we breathe, to the water we drink. EU legislation directly affects around 80% of Defra’s work and therefore, as preparations intensify in the lead-up to UK withdrawal, the supporting role of Defra Finance will become increasingly important.

About the job:

Defra Group Finance has an SEO Technical Finance roles based in Finance Operations. The post holder will be responsible for the preparation of the Annual Report and Accounts (ARA), including related guidance and recommendations on accounting issues and for reviewing and improving financial controls within core Defra. They will also ensure the provision of timely, complete and comprehensive financial information to support audit requirements, as well as acting as subject matter experts on specific areas of financial policy.

The team is based in Reading. Defra Finance have teams based at a number of regional locations so we are willing to be flexible, but candidates must be able and willing to travel on a regular basis to the primary team location when needed.


Key responsibilities:

Your key responsibilities will include but will not be limited to:

• Support improvements to the accounting for income and expenditure, assets and liabilities.

• Manage a plan for Finance staff to meet the requirements of the National Audit Office at interim and final audit.

• Make effective use of resources in order to ensure that all activities are completed to time, cost and quality targets.

• Advising and guiding business colleagues on financial policy and guidance.

• Support development and implementation of compliance activity, meeting the business needs as well as audit standards.

• Support senior finance leaders to deliver results on time, to required quality standards and cost.

• Embrace a culture of continuous improvement, developing individual and team performance in line with strategic goals.

• Preparation of the narrative section of the annual report, liaising with executive director’s team and risk and compliance team for governance statement.

• Support preparation of the draft financial statements on new accounting policies.

• Review processes, identifying, implementing and embedding improvements, working collaboratively with relevant stakeholders.

• Establish and maintain good relationships with a wide range of stakeholders to provide a comprehensive finance service.

Essential Experience:

Experience of:

• Ability to understand complex financial reporting issues.

• Understanding of accounting and cash management standards relevant to a government department.

• Strong team player, working collaboratively to deliver a collective result.

• Focussed on building capability of self and others, in particular as part of the government finance profession.

• Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to build and maintain strong working relationships with stakeholders.

• Adaptable and flexible, supporting senior management to meet the current and future needs of the group.

• Clear communication, influencing and negotiation, analytical and problem solving skills when advising on and dealing with complex matters.

Essential qualifications and requirements:

CCAB qualified accountant (or similar qualification) but willing to consider part qualified or AAT qualified with suitable relevant finance experience.


We'll assess you against these behaviours during the selection process:

  • Communicating and Influencing
  • Working Together
  • Making Effective Decisions
  • Delivering at Pace



• Learning and development tailored to your role

• An environment with flexible working options

• A culture encouraging inclusion and diversity

• A Civil Service pension

Things you need to know


Successful candidates must pass a disclosure and barring security check.

Selection process details

This vacancy is using Success Profiles, and will assess your Behaviours, Strengths and Experience.

As part of the application process you will be asked to complete a CV and Statement of Suitability. Further details around what this will entail are listed on the application form. CV- needs to demonstrate you have undertaken similar roles, activities as shown in the job spec.

Candidates successful at sift stage will be invited to attend a mini assessment centre (2hrs), which will consist of a blended interview and one other exercise relative to the role.

Sift and interview dates as well as the interview location to be confirmed.

A reserve list may be held for a period of 6 months from which further appointments can be made.

New entrants are expected to start on the minimum pay band.

Reasonable adjustment

If a person with disabilities is put at a substantial disadvantage compared to a non-disabled person, we have a duty to make reasonable changes to our processes.

If you need a change to be made so that you can make your application, you should:

- Contact Government Recruitment Service via as soon as possible before the closing date to discuss your needs.

- Complete the “Assistance required” section in the “Additional requirements” page of your application form to tell us what changes or help you might need further on in the recruitment process. For instance, you may need wheelchair access at interview, or if you’re deaf, a Language Service Professional.

If successful and transferring from another Government Department, a criminal record check maybe carried out.

In order to process applications without delay, we will be sending a Criminal Record Check to Disclosure and Barring Service on your behalf. However, we recognise in exceptional circumstance some candidates will want to send their completed forms direct. If you will be doing this, please advise Government Recruitment Service of your intention by emailing stating the job reference number in the subject heading.

Any move to Defra will mean you will no longer be able to carry on claiming childcare vouchers.

Applicants who are successful at interview will be, as part of pre-employment screening subject to a check on the Internal Fraud Database (IFD). This check will provide information about employees who have been dismissed for fraud or dishonesty offences. This check also applies to employees who resign or otherwise leave before being dismissed for fraud or dishonesty had their employment continued. Any applicant’s details held on the IFD will be refused employment.

If you feel your application has not been treated in accordance with the Recruitment Principles and you wish to make a complaint, in the first instance, you should contact Government Recruitment Services via email:

If you are not satisfied with the response you receive from the Department, you can contact the Civil Service Commission: Click here to visit Civil Service Commission

Existing Civil Servants and applicants from accredited NDPBs are eligible to apply, but will only be considered on loan basis (Civil Servants) or secondment (accredited NDPBs). Prior agreement to be released on a loan basis must be obtained before commencing the application process. In the case of Civil Servants, the terms of the loan will be agreed between the home and host department and the Civil Servant. This includes grade on return.

Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview or assessment.

Nationality requirements

Open to UK, Commonwealth and European Economic Area (EEA) and certain non EEA nationals. Further information on whether you are able to apply is available here.

Working for the Civil Service

The Civil Service Code sets out the standards of behaviour expected of civil servants.

We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission's recruitment principles.

The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equality of opportunity. There is a guaranteed interview scheme (GIS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.

Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs

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