Job Details


Nov 11, 2021




£35,000 - £50,000

Closing Date

Dec 10, 2021

Art Academy London

Finance Controller / Clerk to the board of Trustees


Art Academy London (AAL) is an innovative art school and charity in central London, founded by artists, in 2000. We believe everyone should have access to high-quality art education, with no financial, physical, or practical barriers. We were established on the principle that art and art education has the power to be transformative: for individuals, communities, and society. AAL is an equal opportunities employer and recognises that a diverse workforce can enhance creativity and innovation in the workplace. As such, we welcome applications from a diverse range of backgrounds. AAL offers an attractive benefits package including an employee assistance programme, flexible working and access to free art classes.


The Finance Controller is a dedicated accountant responsible for AAL’s financial function, internal controls, and any related tasks necessary for the proper administration of the charity. As Clerk to the Board of Trustees the post holder will also provide secretariat services and advice on governance, constitutional, procedural, and regulatory matters to the AAL’s Board of Trustees. They will ensure the Board is properly constituted and will manage information effectively in accordance with legal requirements. 



Manage accounting operations

  • Develop and manage AAL’s financial plan and annual budgets, liaising with the Principal and executive management team as required

  • Manage debtor and creditor irregularities

  • Liaise with budget holders to ensure effective cost control

  • Manage year end preparations – stock take, cash counts etc

  • Liaise with auditors and prepare year end audit file (mostly Balance Sheet schedules)

  • Maintain close relationships with AAL’s financial partners, in particular banks and mortgage providers

  • Work with Director of Operations to maintain accurate and up to date asset register/s assist with benchmarking of supplier services, as required

 Reporting and compliance

  • Coordinate and prepare budgets and financial forecasts, reporting variances and any issues with the relevant budget holders, senior staff and Trustees

  • Prepare termly financial statements

  • Monitor and report on compliance with our financial covenants

  • Develop and document business processes and accounting policies to maintain and strengthen internal controls

  • Maintain, update, and improve financial management software as needed


Research technical accounting issues for compliance

  • Oversee all tax and regulatory/compliance issues, including those related to charitable status


  • Manage the end-to-end payroll process (using Quickbooks Online)

  • Manage pensions.


  • Line management of the Assistant Finance Controller including training, 1-to-1s and annual appraisal


Governance & Compliance

  • Keep up to date with Charity, OfS and HE legal requirements and guidance and advise the Board as necessary; informing the Board of, and where appropriate acting upon, any changes to its responsibilities as a result of legislative changes

  • Act as the first point of contact for Trustees with queries on procedural matters

  • Oer advice on best practice in charity and HE governance, including on committee structures and self-evaluation

  • In liaison with the AAL executive team, ensure that statutory policies are in place, and revised, when necessary

  • Undertake such other work as might be required effectively to promote effective governance and compliance, including reviewing governance policies and procedures, assisting in the review of governing documents and risk registers and assisting in the preparation of Trustees’ Annual Reports

  • Manage and administer the rotating review and approval of all AAL policies by Trustees, in consultation with the Director of Operations and the Director of Academic Quality, Standards and Student Experience and maintain version control of all documents

  • Ensure copies of AAL policies and other AAL documents approved by the Board are kept and published as agreed, for example, on the website. 

Recruitment, training & membership

  • Advise trustees in advance of the expiry of a Board member’s term of oce, so elections or appointments can be organised in a timely manner [using the Nominations Committee process]

  • Chair that part of the meeting at which the chair is elected, giving procedural advice concerning conduct of this and other elections

  • Maintain a register of Trustees’ interests and other registers as required

  • Maintain Board meeting attendance records and advise the chair of potential disqualification through lack of attendance

  • Send induction materials to new Trustees and ensure they have access to appropriate documents; contribute to the induction of new trustees 

  • Conduct skills audits and advise on training requirements and the criteria for appointing new Trustees to relevant vacancies

  • Maintain a record of training undertaken by members of the board of trustees

  • Advise the Board of Trustees on succession planning (of all roles, not just the chair)

  • Maintain up to date contact records for the Board members and their term of oce, and inform Companies House of any changes

  • Maintain copies of current terms of reference and membership of any committees and working parties

  • Maintain a record of signed minutes of meetings and ensure copies are published as agreed at meetings

  • Maintain records of Board correspondence


Administration of meetings

  • Set dates for Board meetings annually, in consultation with the Chair and Principal, and advise the Board of these

  • With the Chair, Principal and Director of Operations, prepare agendas for Board and/or committee meetings

  • Liaise with those preparing papers to make sure they are available on time, and distribute the agenda and papers as required by legislation or other regulations

  • Ensure meetings are quorate

  • Record the attendance of Trustees at meetings and any apologies

  • Draft minutes of Board meetings, indicating who is responsible for any agreed action with timescales, and send drafts to the Chair and (if agreed by the Board) the Principal and Director of Operations

  • Circulate the reviewed draft to all Trustees (or members of the relevant committee), Principal and Directors within the timescale agreed with the Board

  • Follow-up any agreed action points with those responsible and inform the Chair of progress

Compliance and Risk management 


  • Manage and maintain AAL’s Compliance Dashboard and Risk Register in conjunction with the Principal


Other (as both Finance Manager & Clerk to Board of Trustees)

  • Undertake appropriate and regular training and development to maintain knowledge and improve practice

  • Always work cooperatively with the Board, AAL’s exec team and other staff members, including providing expertise, support and training where necessary

  • The above list is not exclusive or exhaustive and the post holder may be required to undertake such duties as may reasonably be expected within the scope of the position.



Essential Requirements 

  • Proven experience working as a financial controller and/or manager

  • 5+ years of overall combined accounting and finance experience

  • An accountancy qualification from ACCA, CIMA, IFA or ICAEW

  • Thorough practical knowledge of accounting principles and procedures

  • Experience with creating financial statements

  • Experience with general ledger functions and the year-end close process

  • Excellent accounting software user and administration skills

  • Excellent interpersonal skills suitable to a small office environment

  • Fluency in spoken and written English

  • Good listening, oral and literacy skills

  • Be a person of integrity, able to maintain confidentiality

  • Experience of organising meeting, writing agendas and accurate concise minutes

  • Good working knowledge of ICT including keyboarding skills, QuickBooks online and QB payroll

Desirable Knowledge and Experience requirements 


  • Knowledge of charity finance

  • A good understanding of relevant legislation/guidance affecting the governance and compliance aspects of a corporate charity

  • Experience of working for/supporting the secretariat functions of a corporate charity

  • Have already attended or make a commitment to attend the Desirable National Training Programme for Clerks or its equivalent

  • Experience of working in the art world or in an education institution

This role is 4 days a week.

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