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									                              ROYAL BOROUGH OF KINGSTON UPON THAMES

                                                   JOB DESCRIPTION

Directorate:           Finance                              Job Title:   Principal Accountant (Financial

Division:              Corporate Financial Services         Grade:       K

Section:               Accountancy & Technical              Post No:     13 6026


1.       Responsible to:

         Corporate Accountancy Manager.

2.       Responsible for:

         Supervision of Finance professional and support staff in respect of their work on production of
         Final accounts and associated returns.

         These staff are a mixture of part-qualified accountants and qualified accounting technicians.

3.       Important Internal Relationships:
              Director of Finance & Safer Kingston
              Head of Financial Services
              Corporate Accountancy Manager
              Other members of Finance Directorate Management Team
              Finance Managers and Staff across the Council
              Directors and Senior Managers in other directorates
              Internal Auditors
              Audit Committee - Chair and members

4.       Important External Relationships:
             External Auditors
             Government Departments
             Local Authority Associations
             Finance professionals in other local authorities
             Key local partners (including voluntary agencies)
             CIPFA

5.       Main Purpose of the Job:

         (i)      To provide a comprehensive accountancy and financial service to the highest
                  professional standards (including production of detailed revenue estimates, budgetary
                  control, closing of accounts and financial advice).

         (ii)     To lead the process for producing the Council’s annual accounts, advising the Director
                  of Finance and Safer Kingston, Head of Financial Services and elected members on

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                  the impact of any changes in reporting requirements, and ensuring in particular that
                  the accounts and associated working papers are prepared to the highest professional
                  standard and within the prescribed timescales.

         (iii)    To provide professional and technical financial advice to the Director of Finance,
                  Heads of Services, Executive, Panels, Committees and/or elected Members as

6.       Main Responsibilities/Duties of Job

         Accounting (Final Accounts)

         (i)      To determine the Council’s response to consultations on new financial reporting
                  initiatives and requirements which may impact the resources required in finance and/or
                  in service areas; and when these are adopted to ensure that the Council responds
                  promptly and effectively to the changed requirements;

         (ii)     To ensure that the Council is fully prepared for the implementation of International
                  Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) in 2010/11, including restatement of the 2009/10

         (iii)    Draw up detailed timetable and project plan for the production of the Council’s annual
                  accounts and associated working papers to ensure that these are prepared to the
                  highest professional standard, complying with the relevant accounting standards and
                  codes of practice, and within the prescribed timescales.

         (iv)     Organise and lead briefing and training sessions for the staff involved in the detailed
                  accounting work for various service areas, to ensure that consistent and standard
                  processes are followed and consequently all information is prepared on a consistent
                  basis to the required standard.

         (v)      Ensure that all support services are allocated equitably across service areas in
                  accordance with CIPFA’s Best Value Accounting Code of Practice. Establish and
                  operate recharge mechanisms for all support services and maintain recharging
                  records. For 2010/11, this will involve development of appropriate recharging
                  mechanisms for new One council functions.

         (vi)     To ensure that appropriate arrangements are in place to account properly for capital
                  expenditure, fixed assets, and the associated financing thereof. This will include using
                  information obtained through regular monitoring of the capital programme to identify
                  and address any potential issues arising which may impact on the planned financing of
                  the programme and the accounting arrangements.

         (vii)    To produce the Collection Fund accounts, liaising with the Head of revenues and
                  Benefits as required.

         (viii)   Ensure completion of relevant statistical returns for central Government, external audit
                  and CIPFA.

         (ix)     Ensure a proper accounting record of all appropriate grant claims and claims for
                  reimbursement is maintained. Work with colleagues in other Finance teams to ensure
                  the timely preparation and submission of all grant claims (including liaison with Heads
                  of Service as required), having due regard to the significance of these claims in the
                  context of the Council’s overall financial position. Where these are required

         (x)      Coordinate the day to day aspects of the external audit process from RBK’s side,
                  coordinating the production, management and submission of working papers, liaising

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                  with the External Auditors on all aspects of the accounts, and ensuring that they are
                  provided with explanations and further information on a timely basis as required.

         Financial Information, Support and Advice

         (i)      Ensure that the specified duties and functions that are required by the
                  Director of Finance are supplied with the highest professional standards and within
                  prescribed timescales.

         (ii)     Attend Audit Committee, Working Groups and Officer Meetings as required, on behalf
                  of the Director of Finance to provide appropriate financial information and advice.

         (iii)    Assess the likely impact of new legislation and developments in local government
                  finance which are likely to affect the Council’s services and report to the Director of
                  Finance or Head of Financial Services as appropriate.

         (iv)     Attend the Finance Head of Profession meetings in order to ensure the co-ordination
                  of finance and accounting matters within the authority, and lead sessions as
                  appropriate on changes and developments to accounting practice.

         (v)      Identify, recommend and work with colleagues to implement improvements to financial
                  and accounting systems and procedures as necessary. In particular, to identify
                  opportunities to streamline and improve processes for the production and presentation
                  of final accounts and associated returns through better use of technology, particularly
                  the Agresso system.

         (vi)     Evaluate the financial implications of proposed new projects, corporate initiatives and
                  policies as required.

         (vii)    Undertake financial appraisals on behalf of the Director of Finance.

         (viii)   Ensure that all potential funding sources are explored and pursued in respect of both
                  revenue and capital, including general and specific grants and contributions from other

         Budget Formulation: Annual Budget Cycle

         (i)      To assist the Corporate Accountancy Manager in the coordination of the preparation of
                  the medium term financial plan, capital programme and revenue budget as required.

         (ii)     In particular, to assist in production of council taxbase calculations and returns, and
                  assess the impact on the Collection Fund position.

         Management of Accountancy and Technical Team in Corporate Finance

         (i)      Assist the Corporate Accountancy Manager in the overall management and co-
                  ordination of this team, to ensure that a comprehensive accountancy and financial
                  service is available to all areas of the Council and that it is both efficient and
                  responsible to customers’ needs.

         (ii)     Assist in the recruitment, supervision, appraisal and training of the team, ensuring
                  suitable training is made available for the development of accountancy and
                  financial staff.


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         (i)      In order to deliver services effectively, a degree of flexibility is needed and the post
                  holder may be required to perform work not specifically referred to above. Such
                  duties, however, will fall within the scope of the post at the appropriate grade.

         (ii)     The post holder is expected to comply fully with the Council’s Equal Opportunities
                  policy, both in respect of employment and service delivery.

Prepared by: _____________________________ Agreed by:                    ___________________________

Date:             _____________________________ Date:                    ___________________________

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                                             PERSON SPECIFICATION

                                  Principal Accountant (Financial Accounting)


i)        A full CCAB accountancy qualification (preferably CIPFA).                     E


i)        Recent post qualification experience of working in local government, or in a E
          similar complex public or private sector organisation

ii)       Experience and understanding of key financial accounting and financial E
          management principles

iii)      Understanding of the local government accounting framework                    E

iv)       Experience of co-ordinating the work of a group of staff via line or matrix   E

v)        Use to a high level of core financial systems including general ledger E
          applications and reporting tools


i)        Communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, to management,           E
          members, staff, Government departments, auditors and members of the

ii)       Demonstrate a high degree of numeracy and accuracy.                           E

iii)      Prioritise and programme workloads to meet specified deadlines.               E

iv)       Flexible approach and ability to work under pressure.                         E

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