This particular client applied for a senior level role in a state (NSW) government department in the capacity of Finance Director. The selection criteria component involved addressing eight criteria. His application was well received and he went on to gain an interview. Following are excerpts from three of the eight criteria.

Extensive experience working at a strategic level within a Finance function (or equivalent) …

I possess over 25 years’ experience working for both medium and large organisations in both private and public sector in several capacities, including: Finance Director; Finance and Business Manager; and Senior Auditor. I am experienced in all aspects of financial management, budget accounting, management accounting, and financial strategy. Over the years, I have managed the compilation of accurate periodic finance and investment reports for senior management teams, Boards and various committees. I have also managed large complex accounting departments with approximately 50 staff.

My current position as Finance and Business Manager, AAA of NSW involves the monitoring of financial performance, developing reports highlighting and analysing trends, and recommending appropriate action to be taken. Monthly commentary is developed and presented to interested parties including business managers and used for the consolidation of results for the organisation. Very often, I compile trend analysis to facilitate the development of forecasts and strategies. I have been called upon to examine reports, statistics, trends and proposals in order to account for impacts and to formulate workable effective recommendations, solutions, or to draw conclusions from them.

As I have worked for government departments in senior level positions (including my current role), I am familiar with government accounting and budgetary practices such as RSPs, TOES and CAPTOES. In my internal auditing role within the then NSW Department of ABC, I critically analysed government accounting and budgetary practices. The type of work I conducted included: ensuring the department’s financial reports and other information was accurate and compliant with relevant policies; and verifying that the department’s accounting and finance operations were compliant with government accounting and budgetary procedures and policies.

Demonstrated ability to manage finance support activities and knowledge of the SAP finance system …

All my roles have involved the extensive and astute management of finance support activities. Recent examples in my current role include the initiation and specific development of reports for use by senior executives which indicate the hours and cost of staff that have worked on special events and projects; and reports that track performance relating to non-compliance of purchase orders. These reports were immediately implemented and now form part of the monthly reporting process to facilitate discussions on how to improve business from the bottom line moving forward. Presently, I am involved in a process to improve contract performance reports. Several of my tailored recommendations have already been approved and implemented, such as a delayed account payable payments process.

Also, in my current role, I provide financial support across a variety of areas, including: advice and analysis of performance; delivery of monthly and ad hoc reports including detailed commentary to various managers; preparation of detailed budgets; provision of day-to-day advice on financial matters (for example, procurement, internal control, fleet maintenance and chart of accounts); maintenance of the integrity of the general ledger; and examination of BAS, GST and FBT reports prepared by the Accountant.

With regard to my advanced knowledge and use of SAP, during my tenure within the NSW Department of ABC, I extracted data (audit samples) from the SAP ledger on a daily basis. I then analysed this data for auditing and management purposes. I used the SAP ledger to conduct account enquiries and to generate month-end reports and ad hoc reports. In addition, I posted journal entries into the SAP ledger. I extracted accounts payable data (mainly vendor’s details and purchases transactions) from the SAP accounts payable general ledger. Essentially, I utilised multiple legers within SAP in order to extract relevant data. On a monthly basis, I prepared various financial reports which included trial balance, Net Cost of Service, and balance sheet.

Highly developed people management, leadership and teamwork skills, with demonstrated experience in leading diverse teams …

In my current role, I lead, motivate and manage four direct reports; and in a previous position, I had the responsibility of managing nine direct reports including departmental managers. Whilst my management style is approachable and fair, I also utilise assertiveness which has engendered respect from others. I utilise a management style where discrimination and unfair treatment is not tolerated; my key aim has been and will always be to create a positive, harmonious, enjoyable and productive working environment.

Recently, I took on a leadership role in solving complex reporting problems for a fixed asset project. I outlined the inaccuracy of property/project expenses and provided recommendations to reverse this trend which resulted in accurate accounting reports. Overall, the inaccuracy in the reporting data was proving costly to the organisation in terms of critical strategic accounting reporting. Therefore, to resolve this problem, I introduced new specific project accounting codes; set up audit trails to track specific expense; and then traced and assigned project costs to these new accounting codes. The process involved conducting extensive discussions with key stakeholders; specifically, I disseminated and explained these codes to facility managers and the project manager, and followed up with progress reports via regular team briefings. Overall, this significantly reduced processing times. Also, all auditor issues were resolved in a timely manner. Moreover, all capital items acquired for the project were correctly posted. Subsequently, this process ensured project costs were accounted for correctly.

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Annie Cerone