University Hospitals Birmingham is currently hiring: Here’s what they’re looking for

If you are looking for a career that offers great development opportunities, a chance to make a genuine difference to other people’s lives, and the experience of working within a supportive team, you could consider an accountancy role within the University Hospital Birmingham (UHB).

The University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust is recognised as one of the leading NHS trusts in the UK. With more than 22,000 members of staff, it is committed to the development, health and well-being of people. Birmingham is a vibrant and affordable city to live in. It has great amenities and entertainment facilities, is a centre for sports and arts, and has excellent transport links.

What does the UHB Finance & Accounting Function do?

An NHS accountant uses their skills to help the hospital get the most out of its funding, maintain financial records and analyse spending and budgets.

“The NHS is a fabulous place to start your career,” says Sue Lyddon, UHB Finance Workforce Manager. “It is a great work environment and very supportive. You’ve got career development, there’s real opportunity to learn on the job and gain professional experience.

“There are currently 37 finance apprentices at UHB studying at Level 3, 4 and 7 and many are already looking at Band 4 pay scales, which is equivalent to around £24,500 per annum. You will get lots of great experience – our finance department has the same functions as in industry and we follow the same accounting procedures. We have the same month end processes and protocols.

“The real difference and what’s really exciting, is that we work closely with our clinical and operational colleagues and our decisions directly impact on patient care. So there’s real value in the work and it is a very rewarding career in which you can make a real difference.”

What roles are available?

As an accountant at UHB you might work on the monthly finance reporting in line with accounting standards.  This may mean compiling spreadsheets, graphs and written data from receipts, invoices and purchase orders and engaging with the audit process on submission of the annual accounts.

You might help plan next year’s budget, work with a team allocating funding for different departments, analyse spending, and suggest ways to save money.

You may analyse financial records, review spending trends, identify future unavoidable risks to expenditure whilst analysing and providing information to budget holders which will help them most effectively use the resources available to them.

You may be involved in evaluating available capacity to establish the activity that can be delivered through it in order to inform the activity plan and the income associated with it.  You may also be involved in negotiating those activity plans with the commissioners whilst analysing differences between the commissioner and UHB’s assessment of delivery against them.

You may be involved in capital investments and service developments, delivering improvements to patient care and pathways whilst maintaining evidence that the investment / development is value for money. 

What does a career at UHB offer?

University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB) is a first-class and inspiring organisation, offering a unique employee experience. UHB has more than 22,000 members and a Board of Governors which includes members of the public, patients, staff and stakeholders, who have been elected as representatives. Decisions are taken locally, which means foundation trusts are more responsive to the needs of their patients.

Working at UHB offers a comprehensive benefits package, the flexibility to maintain a great work-life balance, and the opportunity to achieve your full potential.

What are the advantages of a career with UHB?

“UHB offers a clear career path, support, team work and an opportunity for learning outside of your daily role,” says Sue Lyddon. “For our finance apprentices, we have additional training around personal development and careers. There is the opportunity for hybrid working and we are located in a city centre location which makes it easy for people to access us.

“We are members of the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA), the professional body for finance staff in healthcare and we attend their conference and can access all their resources.”

What is UHB looking for in a finance apprentice?

“Apprentices can come from all walks of life and include school leavers, career switchers, and mature students, as well as those looking to upskill,” she says.

You can teach anyone with the right attitude to be a great finance professional. In our scheme, we recruit apprentices in groups of four to six so they’ve got buddies to work and learn with. Last year we took on ten finance apprentices and they have all developed and gained skills very quickly.”

What is the starting salary for a finance apprenticeship?

“Apprentices start on a salary of around £10,000 but they do have a study package and time to go to college where they learn live online,” says Sue Lyddon. “All our recruits are gaining promotion really quickly and they are fully involved in the department and they play an important role from the beginning. They are integral to us delivering our month end and year end processes. We can tailor the support programme to enable each individual develop to the best of their ability.”

Applicants need to have five GCSE exams at Grade 5 or above including Maths and English.

“We are always really interested in the additional skills the person has gained on their journey which set them apart,” she says. “Have they been a prefect at school? Do they volunteer or get involved in fundraising, have they had work experience or a complete career change, be involved in a youth group such as Scouting or the National Citizen Service, or been in a responsible role in a Saturday job. It’s not just about the academics – it is about the bigger picture and what really makes them stand out.”

What benefits are available?

Once you have completed the apprenticeship, a full time job at UHB offers great perks including pension, generous holidays and the opportunity to make a real difference and to be part of something much bigger. You’re not restricted on which way your career path can go. There are huge opportunities and great job security.

Why does UHB support AAT qualifications?

“We use AAT for Level 3 because it gives an excellent grounding and breadth of knowledge for our apprentices,” says Sue Lyddon. “It enables them to consolidate the theory they are learning whilst studying with real life experience on the job.”

What is it like to be a finance apprentice with UHB?

“Coming out of Sixth Form I knew I would like to go down the Apprenticeship route,” says Harry Wright, Senior Financial Management Assistant at UHB and currently studying an apprenticeship.

“I applied for the apprenticeship at UHB and I was lucky enough to get it. I was attracted to working for UHB as it is part of the NHS which is such an important part of this country. The chance to work with such a large Trust within the NHS was attractive for me.

“I feel that I have been able to balance my work and study quite well during my time at UHB. Studying the AAT course gave me the base level accounting knowledge which then allowed me to understand my day to day work to a better level. I am hoping that my ACCA qualification will follow a similar trend.

“I have always felt supported through my studies and my managers have always been very understanding. I have benefited from the policy to allow study days to ensure that I am as prepared as possible for exams. Other staff members have all been very approachable in helping me decide whether to go down the ACCA or CIMA route for further study.

“I am really pleased that I did the AAT qualification because it gave me a solid foundation of knowledge. I am working towards being fully qualified. Longer term, I would like to progress higher within management accounts at UHB to a more senior level where I could become a mentor to junior staff.”

Further reading:

Marianne Curphey is an award-winning financial writer and columnist, and author of the book How Money Works. She worked as City Editor at The Guardian, deputy editor of Guardian online, and has worked for The Times, Telegraph and BBC.

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