NHS grows its own finance leaders of the future


By Jane Payling, Head of Health and Integration, CIPFA

A key priority for Future-Focused Finance as set by the NHS Finance Leadership Council is to develop a pipeline of talent to apply for future director of finance/chief finance officer vacancies.

To help make progress on this area, an NHS finance leaders national talent pool is being established aimed at individuals who are ready now or in the very near future to apply for director of finance/chief finance officer positions. Offering an individually tailored development plan, the initiative aims to create a diverse pool of talent for future vacancies - the new Future-Focused Finance website has information on what’s involved, and applications are open until 3 March 2017.

CIPFA supports the development of future finance leaders through providing professional qualifications for NHS graduate schemes across the UK. However, not everyone joins the finance profession through a conventional route – with increasing numbers of talented individuals becoming involved in finance through allied professions such as procurement, contracting or general management. 

Making the senior grades in NHS finance requires a formal accountancy qualification, and this requirement can become a barrier for individuals due to the time commitment involved and a sense of stepping back at a later point in their career.

For these individuals CIPFA’s Accelerated Route for Executives (CARE) programme could provide a solution. This accelerated route to chartered accountancy status is exclusively and specifically designed for senior finance staff and executive managers from across the public and third sectors who do not hold a professional accountancy qualification, but who may already hold senior financial responsibilities.

It provides the opportunity to gain qualified accountant status in two years instead of the usual three, and has the benefit of studying alongside other like-minded, experienced professionals from across the public sector.

To join the programme, individuals will need to:

  • be a finance director or equivalent senior finance professional (e.g. aspiring to be a finance director) in a role that has significant finance-related content
  • hold a 2.1 or higher undergraduate degree or demonstrate skills suitable to undertake intensive high level study
  • have significant management responsibilities and financial management experience or exposure with at least five years’ relevant experience.

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