Director, Finance, Operations and HR


Job Title: Director, Finance, Operations and HR                

Location: London, UK

Reporting to: Director     

Direct Reports: Initially one administrator

Salary: Competitive


This is a leadership position within ESSA, to ensure strategic and operational oversight of financial strategy and business planning and ensuring budgetary control, as well as effective operations including legal and human resource requirements in all jurisdictions in a growing international organisation.


Deadline for applications:  14 May 2019          

Interviews with Prospectus: 20 – 24 May 2019   

First Panel Interviews: 17 June 2019

Final Interviews: 27 June 2019

To Apply

Please submit your CV and a Supporting Statement (no more than two sides of A4) at the following link:

ESSA is committed to diversity in its workforce, and welcome applications regardless of sex, gender, race, age, sexuality, belief or disability.      


If you wish to have an informal discussion about this opportunity, please contact Fiona Wansborough at or Eva Farina at

Si vous souhaitez télécharger la description de poste en français, cliquez ici

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Key Responsibilities


  • Ensure that ESSA’s financial, legal and charitable obligations are met. 

  • Manage the Finance function, including receiving income, authorising and making payments, treasury management, overseeing the production of monthly management accounts, statutory accounts and leading the annual budget process as well as producing timely and relevant financial analysis and oversight of the financial management and reporting of ESSA’s projects.

  • Ensure the financial resources of ESSA are safeguarded and the organisation fulfils its responsibilities for statutory reporting and accountability.

  • Supporting the Director and Project teams in funding applications ensuring that all pitches are prepared in a realistic way.

  • Producing relevant reporting for the Board and Sub-committees.

  • Managing the interaction with the Audit, Risk and Remuneration Committees as well as relationships with the auditors/bankers.

Operations and Human Resources:

  • Lead on the operations of ESSA to ensure that all services are efficient and compliant, working in close collaboration with the Director, Board and other senior leaders.

  • Lead on the development of IT, HR and other central functions, ensuring that ESSA has the physical, human and technological resources needed to achieve our planned growth in a high impact and cost effective manner.       

  • Take lead responsibility for international HR policy and strategy.  Develop a culture of high performance and accountability for our staff and maintain our high standards as an employer.

  • Liaise with ESSA’s lawyers to produce appropriate contracts and agreements, and any other legal matters that might occur.     

  • Act as ESSA’s Data Protection Officer.   

  • Identify and implement strategic opportunities for growth in line with ESSA’s mission, core values and the aims of its Business Plan, in close cooperation with the Director and the Fundraiser.

  • Review and, where necessary, redesign staffing structures to meet the financial and performance targets of the Business Plan. 

  • Initiate and oversee programmes of continuous improvement to ensure that all work streams are conducted with optimum efficiency and to the highest standards, especially with regards to ESSA’s distributed organization.  

  • Work collaboratively with the Director and Chair to ensure that key performance indicators are consistently achieved.    

  • Support and nurture staff development to ensure high quality delivery of all services.

  • As a public facing role, present the values and ideals of ESSA at all times.      

  • Take lead responsibility for international HR policy and strategy.  Develop a culture of high performance and accountability for our staff and maintain our high standards as an employer.

  • Research and gather business intelligence to support effective development of the business.

  • Undertake any other duties necessary to this post as delegated by the Director

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  • Fully qualified accountant (FCA/ACA/CIMA/ACCA) with full membership of a recognised UK accountancy body or equivalent.



  • Substantial experience in leadership roles at Director or Senior Manager level, leading and motivating teams to deliver results, if possible also in the charitable sector

  • Strong Interest in Africa and education. Experience of working in Africa or with African organisations desirable. 

  • Experience of managing both financial and non-financial operational teams.

  • Experience of developing organisational strategy and successfully implementing change.

  • Extensive experience of planning, budgeting and the development of management reporting within a growing organisation.

  • Knowledge and experience of all aspects of financial management, including statutory accounts, the preparation and control of budgets and the management of an organisation’s investment portfolio.

  • Experience in a role with governance and/or compliance responsibility for an organisation. Knowledge to steer the organisation towards achieving its objectives while operating effectively, responsibly, legally and sustainably. 

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Technical skills

  • Demonstrates business acumen, contributing to the creation, implementation and evaluation of ESSA’s strategic plans

  • Ability to effectively manage ESSA’s finances and operational requirements

  • Is happy and efficient to do day-to-day business with minimal team support

  • Digitally savvy

  • Monitors and applies relevant legislation, policies and procedures

  • Recommends appropriate strategies to ensure adherence to governance structures and application of best practice internal controls

  • Identifies and manages risk appropriately, using risk management techniques for the best interests of ESSA and its stakeholders

  • Communicates complex financial issues in a simple and understandable manner

  • Drives efficiency from both administrative and financial perspectives

  • Evaluates the financial impact of decisions and works within allocated budgets.



  • Makes sound and timely decisions based on an analysis of relevant information

  • Acts proactively and thinks strategically to anticipate ESSAs needs

  • Delivers innovative solutions to complex problems

  • Demonstrates excellent interpersonal and negotiation skills

  • Credible when communicating decisions and managing others’ expectations

  • Able to challenge and influence, building and maintaining effective relationships within and outside ESSA

  • Applies professional and ethical judgement, taking responsibility for their own performance.

  • Willingness and ability to travel internationally

Leadership and management

  • Ensures that initiatives and priorities effectively deliver objectives and are aligned with ESSA’s strategic priorities

  • Displays resilient and motivational leadership across ESSA

  • Entrepreneurial approach, with the ability and willingness to work remotely, in a distributed international organisation

  • Collaborates with colleagues across ESSA, contributing essentially to strengthen the organization.

  • Readiness and ability to manage a growing team, as soon as the charity’s resourcing situation allows.

  • Leads by example, acting as a role model for integrity and fairness, and promoting a culture of opportunity, collaboration, equality and diversity

  • Promotes the sharing of expertise and supports learning opportunities across ESSA


  • Fluent written and spoken English is essential. Working knowledge of French is highly desirable.