Accountant, Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

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“My job is fun and challenging and a great team to work with. There are great opportunities to develop your knowledge - you can get experience in all areas of accounting: managing budgets, payroll, purchasing, and financial accounting.”

What do you do?

I work with the departments that provide emergency care at the 450 bed East Surrey Hospital - our main site. This includes about 35 different units and a key part of my job is to prepare a monthly report for each of them to feed back on how they are performing in terms of their finances and budgeting.

What is your typical day?

Along with these reports, I will also meet with the budget holder (the person in charge of the accounts) for each department. I take them through the figures, making suggestions about how they might create more business, or how they might fund new projects. Each department is independent, so each manager has to make sure their unit breaks even every month. My responsibility is to get the books to balance for the whole of my emergency section.

It's a fun, challenging and surprisingly creative job. This week, for example, I have been working with a manager who came to me with the idea of setting up a staff nursery. We have been putting together a finance plan: deciding how much to charge, what needs to be spent (premises, equipment, staffing) and generally how to make it pay for itself. We had to present our case to the funding board and yesterday we heard that the plan had been approved! It's a great feeling - helping to create a project like that and then seeing it right through to completion.

There is not really a typical day: this morning I met with the manager of a department whose staff provide services for other hospitals. We need to send out bills for these services - invoices - and I was giving professional advice on how this should be done, helping to balance the books. This afternoon I have been meeting 'non-finance managers' (who don't usually deal with accounts) to explain how our budgeting system and our feedback reports work.

The job can be quite pressurised: at the end of each month we have 35 reports to be completed and we're really busy as we reach the end of the financial year. The final annual accounts have to be prepared, ready to be examined and checked by outside independent auditors. It's hard work, but really satisfying when we can balance the accounts of all our departments for the whole year.