Head of Finance and Operations

London (Greater)
£21,000 (0.6 of £35,000 FTE)
23 Oct 2018
12 Nov 2018
Part Time
Contract Type

We are seeking an efficient, effective Head of Finance and Operations to join our core team at the National Opera Studio. You will lead on finance and operations whilst supporting the strategic objectives of the organisation and the fundraising function of the organisation. You will be a strategic thinker and efficient planner with strong financial skills and a keen eye for detail. You will be passionate about the arts and demonstrate a genuine commitment to the organisation’s success, values and mission.

The National Opera Studio (NOS) develops today’s talent for tomorrow’s opera. The NOS is unique, being the only studio of its kind to work in partnership with not one but six leading opera companies: English National Opera (ENO), Glyndebourne, Opera North, Royal Opera House (ROH), Scottish Opera and Welsh National Opera (WNO). In partnership with these companies, we play a leadership role in the development of operatic talent for the resilience of the art form, through high-quality training, support and dialogue. We provide intensive and individual professional training at the highest level to emerging opera professionals who have the potential to become the leading artists of their generation.

Unlike any other Young Artist Programme, we are not subject to main stage activity and do not cast dependent on productions: we select young artists purely on merit. Our independence, the strength of our opera company partnerships and world-class coaching is key to our success. Artists on our programmes undergo intensive, bespoke training that is individually designed around their vocal and developmental needs. We train 12 singers and 4 répétiteurs each year on our Exceptional Promise Programme, and through short courses and other programmes, we also develop and create diverse pathways for emerging talent.

In 2016 we commissioned a wide-ranging study on Opera Training in the UK which informs our plans for the future. Funded by ACE and Help Musicians UK, it examined how opera training could adapt for the evolving profession in the UK and benefit the export of British and UK-trained talent abroad. Over the medium to long term, our approach will focus on 3 key principles – Reach, Relevance and Resilience, with delivery under four key, interrelated strands: Develop (Training), Find (Pre-Training), Support (Post-Training) and Lead (Sector Support), with Develop at our core. Under each strand, NOS will develop and deliver work that follows through on the findings and recommendations of the report, with continuous evaluation embedded into our work.


Job Title:           Head of Finance and Operations

Salary:               £21,000 (0.6 of £35,000 FTE)

Contract:           Employed, Part-time, 3 days a week (flexi-time possible)

Start date:         January 2019

Overtime:          There is no overtime applicable to this role


Pension:            Automatic enrolment into the NOS pension scheme


Holidays:           15 days per year (0.6 of FTE) plus bank holidays


Place of work:    This position is based at the National Opera Studio, 2 Chapel Yard, London SW18 4HZ. The ability to travel and work away from the Studio is also required.


Reporting to:     Chief Executive


Responsible for: Team Administrator, Caretaker


Job Description

Main Accountabilities

  • Accountable to the Board of the NOS and its subcommittees for the effective and efficient financial and operational management of the NOS in line with the organisation’s strategic aims and objectives
  • The statutory and regulatory compliance of the NOS with the relevant bodies, acting as Company Secretary
  • The oversight and support of all NOS staff to be financially accountable and to have appropriate ownership over budgets, financial processes and procedures
  • Effective book-keeping across all NOS activities
  • The effective operational running and maintenance of the NOS premises





Specific Responsibilities


  • Lead on the financial strategy and planning to support the NOS Business Plan, its key aims and objectives, working with the Chief Executive
  • Prepare a detailed annual budget, forecast and cash flow plan, incorporating individual event and project budgets under each of the four strands of work
  • Report quarterly to Trustees on finance, risk, compliance and operational issues, supplying further reports or analysis of specific areas as required
  • Work with the Development Manager on the Fundraising Strategy, supporting other staff through shared reporting processes and applications
  • Be proactive in scenario planning, anticipating change and remaining interactive in the current financial environment, staying aware of trends and the market
  • Actively contribute to initiatives and ideas for opening up new income streams for the NOS 

Financial Management

  • Produce financial reports, budgets, projections, advice and analysis for discussion and approval and to meet the needs of the Trustees, staff, partners and funders
  • Provide accurate and timely monthly management accounts with commentary
  • Contribute to other financial reports as requested by the Chief Executive
  • Manage relationships with the company’s auditors and banks, leading on reviewing these relationships as instructed by Trustees
  • Where required, lead on seeking advice from specialist legal, financial and tax advisers
  • Make decisions in collaboration with the Chief Executive regarding appropriate use of funds
  • Keep the Chief Executive informed regularly of progress towards income targets
  • Oversee management of cash
  • Process all payments in a timely fashion, ensuring that incoming invoices are approved by appropriate members of staff
  • Process all receipts, including issuing of invoices, ensuring efficient systems in place for auditors to check 
  • Process the monthly payroll for all staff, ensuring full PAYE compliance
  • Ensure Support Fund Young Artist recipients are paid on their agreed schedule
  • Maintain effective and efficient book-keeping processes. This includes but is not restricted to: reconciling bank accounts; reconciling staff petty cash on a monthly basis; managing cash flow; reconciling bank receipts; processing credit card statements
  • Maintain efficient and appropriate filing of financial information
  • Ensure the robust financial security of the NOS by ensuring that policies and procedures are developed and adhered to by staff, including inducting new staff and advising on changes in procedures



Governance and Compliance

  • Ensure the business adheres to statutory and legal obligations as an employer and a charitable organisation
  • Take overall responsibility for HMRC submissions and reporting
  • Manage the NOS Pensions scheme, ensuring compliance with auto-enrolment, liaising with the pension provider and Pensions Regulator as necessary, and keeping staff up to date with any changes in pensions legislation
  • Provide input and financial information for Arts Council England and other funders’ reports and submissions
  • Produce and/or contribute to the financial evaluation of NOS activities as required by external funders
  • Prepare the annual statutory accounts and manage the audit process. Support staff to ensure all necessary adjustments are incorporated into the accounts
  • Ensure the timely submission of all statutory returns to Companies House and the Charity Commission
  • Compile annual Gift Aid reports and submissions, working with the Development Manager
  • In consultation with the Chief Executive, review and develop the NOS’s approach to risk management, ensuring its Risk Register is regularly reviewed and approved by Trustees
  • Act as Company Secretary for the NOS, arranging and minuting Board/subcommittee meetings as required







Systems and Infrastructure

  • Ensure efficient and effective financial systems, procedures and controls are in place, compliant, and regularly reviewed for all accounting functions across the organisation
  • Develop the Finance Policy, ensuring it is communicated and adhered to by all staff
  • Take the lead in managing the CRM and all reporting, monitoring and evaluation systems, working closely with the Development Manager and the Engagement and Communications Manager
  • Develop appropriate data collection and evaluation procedures and methods for monitoring success and reporting to funders, the Board and for wider advocacy and communications
  • Maintain our on-line book-keeping system, facilitating appropriate access for other staff members
  • Ensure that financial information is accurate, meaningful and prepared on a timely basis
  • Along with the Chief Executive, cultivate a culture of resourcefulness and awareness of the NOS’s financial priorities throughout the organisation


  • Be responsible for overseeing the continuous and effective operation of the NOS premises
  • Develop and review the annual maintenance plan for the NOS in collaboration with the Team Administrator, reporting to the Chief Executive. Present budgets for maintenance and plans for the Board annually
  • Make timely and informed decisions about the use of funds for maintenance
  • Review contracts at regular intervals, examining quality and value and benchmarking as appropriate, putting out to tender for larger maintenance contracts
  • Be responsible for ensuring that regular maintenance and timely repairs are carried out on NOS premises, guiding other staff as necessary
  • Advise the Chief Executive on changes or improvements to the effective running of the NOS premises
  • Oversee all IT functions including IT maintenance and liaising with our IT providers
  • Ensure that the company is meeting all of its legal responsibilities, reporting to the Chief Executive
  • Be proactive in developing new ideas about the organisation’s financial and operational security

Team and Management

  • Line manage the Team Administrator and Caretaker
  • Ensure members of the NOS Staff have access to information on financial processes as appropriate
  • Manage and support all other staff in their finance and operations functions
  • Issue contracts for visiting coaches, artists and staff, working with the Artistic Planning Manager and/or Chief Executive, updating clauses in line with any changes in legislation












  • With the Development Manager, monitor anticipated donation income and ensure pledged payments are received
  • Provide support as required on funding applications
  • Advise where required on legal, tax and compliance issues
  • Monitor use of Restricted Funds and be able to give real-time updates easily


  • Attend staff meetings and hold regular maintenance meetings with the appropriate personnel
  • Consult regularly with the Chief Executive, keeping her informed of any relevant changes to legislation and financial or accounting practices and developments as appropriate to the duties of the role
  • Be willing to undertake training as required by the Chief Executive
  • Provide cover as appropriate to the duties of the role for other members of staff who are on leave, sick or otherwise away from work
  • Maintain an active presence at NOS events, and work with all staff to foster strong relationships with donors and audience members
  • Be an active source of advice, where appropriate, to Young Artists regarding their own financial needs
  • Be keen to make a positive contribution to the life of the NOS
  • Work as part of a team and contribute to the viability, strategic planning and development of the organisation as a whole
  • Act as ambassador and advocate for the NOS, and actively support the external-facing functions of the organisation where appropriate
  • Actively pursue and develop all duties and responsibilities in accordance with the Policies and values of the NOS

Note: This Job Description reflects the current situation. It does not preclude change or development that might be required in the future.

Person specification


  • Experience in the development and implementation of financial policy and procedures
  • Experience of strategic financial planning, budgeting processes and cash-flow monitoring
  • Substantial experience of financial management and administration at a high level
  • Professional accountancy qualification- completed or in progress
  • Outstanding organisational skills and the ability to manage multiple priorities
  • Fully financially literate and experienced in the accurate presentation and interrogation of management and statutory accounts, setting of budgets, budgetary management and control
  • Strong, clear, communication skills, both written and verbal
  • Excellent interpersonal and problem-solving skills
  • Excellent attention to detail
  • High proficiency in use of Microsoft Office, especially Excel
  • Good understanding of charity and company legislation, including Gift Aid and the impact of charitable status on direct and indirect taxation
  • Experience of IT and communications systems
  • Confident, professional, enthusiastic, self-motivated
  • Able to work independently as well as being able to work as part of a team and support other staff


  • Experience in the development of data collection, monitoring and evaluation
  • Devising, implementing and monitoring organisational policies and procedures
  • Experience of senior management in a small organisation, or middle management in a larger organisation
  • Line management of staff
  • CRM development experience
  • Working knowledge of Liberty Accounts software
  • An interest in and appreciation of the arts

For further information about the role, and to find out more about the work of the National Opera Studio, visit www.nationaloperastudio.org.uk/vacancies

How to Apply

The closing date for applications is 6.00pm on Monday 12th November 2018.


Applications should comprise:

  • a covering letter addressed to Emily Gottlieb, Chief Executive, detailing your interest and suitability for this role
  •  an up-to-date CV outlining your relevant employment, skills, experience and qualifications plus the names and contact details of at least two referees who are in a position to comment on you professionally

First-round interviews for shortlisted candidates will be held on the 21st and 22nd November 2018. Please indicate in your application if you have any availability issues during those days.

Applications should be submitted by email to Emily Gottlieb, Chief Executive of the National Opera Studio, at emily@nationaloperastudio.org.uk (no agencies)

If you are interested, and would like to find out more about the role, or would value an informal conversation about how it may suit you at this stage in your career, we would be very happy to hear from you. Please contact Emily on 020 88748811 (no agencies).

We are an equal opportunities employer and are committed to building a culturally diverse organisation. We welcome applicants from all backgrounds.

Thank you for your interest in the role.

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