West Somerset Railway

Director Profiles

Director: Finance



  1. The Finance Director post on is a key role on the PLC Board. Its purpose is to oversee, direct, and coordinate the finance function across the PLC and to ensure that the requirements of the organization are delivered within available resources. The Finance Director also has a shared responsibility to ensure that the PLC and Board exercises its functions in accordance with good governance and within the terms of the PLC constitution and external financial regulatory requirements...
  2. Their immediate responsibilities will be to provide strategic leadership and management to the finance function, for the financial stewardship, probity, governance of PLC resources, help strengthen the finance contribution to the activities of the business and also to advise the Chairman, Board and senior management team on all aspects of:
    1. Financial strategy and financial management
    2. Procurement and supplies
    3. Payroll
    4. Financial risk
    5. Investment appraisal
    6. Raising of debt and other finance
    7. Covenant compliance
    8. Cash flow management
    9. PR/communications on aspects of finance issues
    10. Commercial opportunities and risks
    11. Financial responsibilities and issues
    12. Financial governance, audit and regulatory responsibilities
    13. Financial systems development
  3. The post is a voluntary one at least for the foreseeable future. The post holder will also be accountable to the Board for the oversight of a small financial team within the PLC led by the Chief Accountant.
  1. Corporate
    1. As Board Director, influence and drive the strategic direction of the organisation to ensure the PLC remains at the forefront of heritage railway provision in West Somerset and beyond.
    2. Actively promote the reputation of WSR PLC through every action of self and others.
    3. Lead key aspects of commercial process to ensure WSR PLC maintains and increases market share, improves financial resilience and sustainability and improves the nature and content of the "customer offer" on the WSR.
    4. Contributes to the agreed organisational agenda, from strategic direction embedding actions across portfolios to ensure that the financial requirements of the PLC are being effectively met across the organization.
    5. Effectively develop key relationships with partners to lead and/or support and influence commercial opportunities, negotiations and outcomes to the benefit of the PLC and the wider railway.
  2. Financial Management
    1. To ensure that there are systems and arrangements in place with the finance team and the senior management team that:
    2. Design, develop, implement and continually monitor all finance & performance related activities in line with the Corporate and business plans, financial performance and contracts;
    3. Provide comprehensive financial services to the organisation including production of budget proposals, development of effective budgetary control systems, the provision of accurate and timely management information/ advice and completion of year end accounts which meet statutory and or regulatory requirements;
    4. Appraise current and forecast outcomes of operational strategies and report on financial performance in a timely manner to the Board, all key stakeholders and regulators risks and commercial opportunities;
    5. Effectively manage financial agreements with key stakeholders to ensure appropriate management recovery of costs;
    6. Develop and implement innovative and effective information for budget holders, educating those who commit resources to promote the most cost effective use of those resources in line with the needs of the service;
    7. Facilitate and provide training opportunities for financial information to be cascaded to all levels within the organisation, whilst ensuring that the appropriate staff are skilled to meet its requirements;
    8. Responsible for all financial systems and internal controls including the development and modification of accounting systems when required;
    9. Deliver an effective and sustainable payroll function;
    10. Deliver an effective and sustainable banking system.
  3. External Relationships
    1. Maintaining relationships with external professional bodies to ensure the absolute best advice is sourced relating to financial matters;
    2. Manage relationships with internal and external audit functions and, with the Chairman and where required, Vice Chairman play a leading role in liaison with any regulatory bodies;
    3. Identifying cost savings on surplus assets and divestment opportunities.
  4. Financial Planning
    1. To ensure that there are arrangements in place and mechanisms that:
    2. Apply rigorous commercial disciplines and techniques to assessing viability of investment proposals;
    3. Ensure that the PLC financing profile is cost effective and long and short term requirements are properly matched;
    4. Maintain stringent liquidity controls through a process of tight and cost effective cash management procedures in order to minimise the utilisation of the trust’s credit facilities;
    5. Meet agreed targets and objectives, and deliver within defined costs, timescales and resources;
    6. Ensure that the trust continues to implement appropriate policies relating to finance particularly in relation to pay policy, in a way which maximises the financial benefit and stability of the organisation;
    7. Provide advice and support to the PLC governance structures as required, including the board of directors audit committee and executive management committee;
  5. Capital Planning
    1. Enable the organization to have a credible, affordable and deliverable capital plan based on the three-year business plan and the longer-term aspirations and proposals in the Corporate Plan;
    2. Monitor and manage the capital plan and its constituent programmes in line with PLC policy and Board/Senior management team decisions;
    3. Ensure that the organization has an accurate and regularly updated asset register with arrangements for financial review and reappraisal of the PLC asset base in line with standard practice.
  6. Value For Money
    1. Enable all contracts to be negotiated in accordance with PLC governance requirements and monitored to achieve anticipated outcomes and that performance delivery meets with agreed requirements;
    2. Develop and implement appropriate measures, in relation to Risk Management;
    3. The PLC uses effective and well governed procurement processes to deliver value for money for the business;
  7. Reporting
    1. To ensure that arrangements are in place for regular and timely reports to the senior management team and Board and that appropriate actions are taken following management and Board.

The Role specification will be reviewed from time to time in conjunction with the post holder and to reflect the changing needs of the organization.

  1. Qualifications, Education and Learning.
    1. Degree level education or equivalent
    2. Evidence of continued professional development and management development
  2. Experience.
    1. Recent senior management experience in a related organization organisation of equivalent size and complexity.
    2. Experience of successfully leading a high performing finance function to achieve outcomes that support the organisation’s objectives
    3. Extensive experience and evidence of managing strategic planning across a complex organisational infrastructure.
    4. Experience of negotiating, establishing, and managing high value contracts.
    5. Experience of developing and implementing systems to improve performance and efficiency.
    6. Specific evidence of achieving results through strong leadership and implementation strategies.
    7. Evidence of providing senior managerial input into service reform/modernisation.
    8. Proven track record of delivering major complex projects on time.
    9. Evidence of strong corporate contribution in delivering financial balance for an organisation.
    10. Experience of identifying and exploiting commercial opportunities in line with corporate objectives.
  3. Knowledge
    1. Experience of maintaining a partnership approach and matrix working
    2. Knowledge of how to establish and manage financial management systems.
    3. Knowledge of the heritage railway scene [preferable but not essential] and the particular challenges associated with railway preservation.
    4. Experience in change and project management
  4. Personal Skill Set
    1. Evidence of good analytical, interpretive, written, and presentational skills.
    2. Excellent interpersonal and communication abilities.
    3. Team player with the ability to support others in their areas of work and responsibility.
    4. Experience of multiagency working and the requirement to represent the PLC in a number of different settings and situations.
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