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Assistant Management Accountant (Professional Accounting Technician - Level 4 Apprenticeship) (2 year Fixed Term Appointment)

Salary- £22,426

Locations- Birmingham, Leeds, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Peterborough, Warrington, York

About the job

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.

The apprentices will provide a support role to the Finance teams they are assigned to across Defra Group Finance, in roles that will give them a good grounding in a variety of skills.

These roles are an excellent development opportunity and are supported by financial funding of relevant training and development activities. As part of the programme the apprentices will also gain insight into delivery roles played by members of the Defra group and allow apprentices to gain experience in a variety of roles.

The aim of the Apprentice Programme is to develop skills in line with the Higher Executive Officer grade behaviours and proactively support relevant development. The apprentices will be supported by a co-ordinator, local support and where possible a mentor, in addition to the opportunity to potentially reverse mentor Senior Civil Service staff.

Successful candidates will be responsible for supporting finance colleagues in delivering a professional financial service to internal and external customers. They will work as part of a team and would be expected to contribute to the overall smooth running of the team, including suggesting ideas for improvements and be expected to perform several tasks simultaneously and to manage their own priorities. They will interact with finance colleagues, budget holders, project managers, and other members of the wider finance community, and will be expected to behave professionally when answering telephone calls, attending meetings and providing written communications.

Key responsibilities include but not limited to:

These challenging but rewarding roles will help Finance Apprentices develop analytical and finance skills, and involve performing a wide range of accounting and administrative activities which need to be performed accurately and in a timely fashion with attention to detail, which could include:-

  • Balance sheet monitoring;
  • Transaction reporting;
  • Creating Purchase orders and ensuring the correct flex field code combinations have been used and correcting any errors found;
  • Forecasting and budgeting (production, distribution and maintenance of forecast and budget tools, providing advice, guidance and support for budget and project managers
  • Assisting with the provision of year to date, full year and prior month variance commentary for use in the monthly finance returns and management reports.
  • Ensuring accurate variance commentary is provided on a timely basis for all major variances and agreeing accruals;
  • Checking and loading budgets and maintaining and loading forecasts onto the Single operating Platform (Oracle based) financial system;
  • Maintenance and reconciliation of financial report suite, ensuring all Chart of Accounts changes are captured and reflected in Oracle;
  • Working closely with Business Partners to co-ordinate returns, create spreadsheets and reports;
  • Co-ordination of all staff and payroll exercises and finance related freedom of information requests and parliamentary questions received
  • Supporting the management accounting function.
  • Maintain the integrity of the accounts (prepare and process accruals, prepayments, correct mis-postings of income and expenditure, account reconciliation, housekeeping)
  • Analysis of and reporting financial information, interpreting and responding to general customer enquiries
  • Construction in Progress (CIP) monitoring and asset capitalisation

Key aspects of the role will be developing, maintaining and enhancing finance processes and ensuring good financial awareness and rigour. Maintaining a good network of contacts, including fellow apprentices, will be essential to the success of a Finance Apprentice.

Defra Group Finance supports a wide variety of activities and the roles assigned to the Apprentice Programme will give successful apprentices exposure to some of those experiences.

The Finance Apprentice roles will be assigned across a portfolio of roles supporting Defra Group Finance with the aim of producing a balance of opportunities across the Finance community. This is aimed at giving successful candidates an excellent chance of securing permanent promotion to HEO grade within the 2 years of their rotation. The scheme supports a development package supported by the Government Finance Profession and also supports training for professional finance qualifications through a dedicated and renowned Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) training provider. This qualification brings a strong balance of practical and theoretical learning which is aimed at producing well rounded financial professionals and provides an excellent base for career progression. Within the Department successful candidates have consistently secured permanent roles and progressed to higher grades in due course.

Skills required:

  • Excellent Microsoft (Excel, Word & Outlook) and analytical skills with a good attention to detail, including the ability to interrogate, analyse, manipulate and present large volumes of numerical data.
  • A good working knowledge of finance principles with a willingness to undertake professional studies to enhance financial awareness
  • Good interpersonal skills with the confidence to engage and challenge stakeholders
  • Self-motivated, working independently and as part of a team
  • Be flexible and adaptable to change, including:
    • being willing to travel when needed
    • studying for accountancy qualification is encouraged
    • maintaining good customer and team engagement

Essential qualifications:

5 x GCSE at Grade C or above, including Mathematics and English;

Eligibility Criteria:

In addition to meeting the requirements outlined in the advert, it is essential that you meet the eligibility requirements to undertake an apprenticeship.

To be eligible, the training and development you receive through the apprenticeship must provide you with significant new skills and learning.  This means you must not already be fully experienced in this type of work.

In addition you must:

  • not hold a similar level or higher level qualification than that provided by this apprenticeship, UNLESS this is in significantly different subject and business area.
  • be aged 16 or over (there is no upper age limit)
  • have the right to work in the UK and have been ordinarily resident in the  UK/EU/EA for 3 consecutive years before starting the apprenticeship

Please Note:

If you apply and do not meet the eligibility criteria we will not be able to progress with your application and any offer of employment will be withdrawn.


The Defra Group Finance teams are geographically dispersed and the Department has a firm commitment to flexible working. Where possible roles will be geographically matched to support the apprentices and minimise travel demands but some flexibility is expected.


  • Working Together
  • Communicating and Influencing
  • Making Effective Decisions
  • Developing Self and Others

Closing date: 25 January 2021.

Assistant Management Accountant (Professional Accounting Technician - Level 4 Apprenticeship) (2 year Fixed Term Appointment)

Birmingham, UK
Leeds, UK
Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
Peterborough, UK
Warrington, UK
York, UK
Higher Apprenticeship
GCSE/GNVQ/O levels
££20,000 - £25,000

Published on 14 Jan 2021

Deadline 25 Jan 2021