Responding to COVID-19: insight, support and guidance

Jayne Owen, Chief Finance Officer

Jayne Owen is Chief Finance Officer for the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Greater Manchester.

Starting her career as a Trainee Accounting Technician at Kirklees Council, Jayne began studying for CIPFA after becoming a Principle Accountant and then qualified whilst at Trafford as a Finance Manager. 

Recognising that she needed to broaden her skill base, Jayne took a three year break from Finance and moved into Performance and Partnerships. Following this break and drawing up on her technical and partnership skills, she was appointed as Chief Finance Officer to the Police and Crime Commissioner for Greater Manchester.

Why did you choose accountancy as a career?

I spoke the language of numbers from an early age and never considered another career.

How long have you been qualified as a CPFA?

I have been a CPFA for 12 years.

Why did you choose to work in public services?

Public service is a vocation which allows me to work within an environment which supports my values and principles.

What’s your specialism? Can you give us a brief overview of your role?

The Chief Finance Officer, S151 (CFO) occupies a critical position in the organisation, holding the financial reins of the business and ensuring that resources are used wisely to secure positive results. Achieving value for money and securing stewardship are key components of my role as CFO. It’s also important that you have the softer skills required to lead and develop your team, none of this can be achieved without your team.

How does the CIPFA qualification help you in your day-to-day tasks, as well as long-term?

It provides a solid framework on which robust decisions can be made – particularly if these are tough decisions which can be unpopular. On a positive note it also provided me with the skills and confidence to be innovative, helping me to mitigate where possible the need for unpopular options.

What do you like most about your CIPFA membership?

The support and networking opportunities, the encouragement to play an active role in not only shaping the future of the Institute, but also the accounting profession and the public sector. CIPFA is a like-minded family which seeks to continuously improve financial management within the public sector on a national and global scale.

Do you believe that your qualification created new opportunities in your career?

Absolutely, without the support and networks which CIPFA has provided I would not have developed my skills as I have done. A number of skills, particularly early in my CIPFA career, arose as a result of volunteering with the Students Forum, all of which have stood me in good stead as I progressed to Council Member.

What advice would you give current students who are looking to pursue a career in public finance?

Sign up for CIPFA – it’s the most relevant Accountancy qualification for a career in public sector with great career prospects. 80% of CIPFA qualified accountants are in senior positions. Working in the public services is incredibly rewarding, there is a real sense that you are making a positive contribution to our communities. The responsibility for stewardship of public monies should not be underestimated.