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Finance Director

  • Edinburgh
  • Negotiable
  • Permanent

Director of Finance & Corporate Services

The Scottish Qualifications Authority has a vacancy for its Director of Finance.

SQA is the national accreditation and awarding body, and is at the heart of the education and training system in Scotland. We help people to realise their potential and to achieve their ambitions, and through this to benefit the economy, wider society, and the nation as a whole, by providing a wide range of high quality, internationally recognised qualifications and associated services.

We work with schools, colleges, universities, industry, and government, and strive to ensure that qualifications are inclusive and accessible to all, they recognise the achievements of learners and provide clear pathways to further learning or employment.

SQA plays a crucial role in ensuring that the skills, training, and education systems in Scotland are effective, and is acutely aware of its responsibility to uphold both the accessibility and the credibility of Scotland's qualifications system. As an Executive Non Departmental Public Body (NDPB), it underpins key public policy areas, such as widening participation, narrowing the attainment gap, and providing the people and businesses of Scotland with the skills that they need for the future.

The role

Reporting directly to the Chief Executive and as a member of the Executive Management Team, you will provide financial and strategic leadership to the organisation. This includes giving assurance to the Accountable Officer and the Board of Management on the stewardship of public funds and procurement activity. You will play a key role in the strategic development and direction of the organisation.

Key responsibilities will include:

  • Overall responsibility for leading a well organised, skilled and motivated Finance directorate (approximately 39 staff supported by 3 direct reports).
  • Provide effective leadership to Finance and Procurement teams and ensure that people, resources and expertise are developed appropriately to support SQA's strategic goals.
  • Provide strategic oversight in the procurement and sourcing function to ensure compliance with all relevant legislation and implement best business practices to maximise value to SQA.
  • Lead both short-term and long-term budgeting, forecasting and financial planning processes in line with the business plan.
  • Ensure that SQA delivers its annual budget in line with Scottish Government's expectations and funding allocation.
  • Work with all areas of the business to identify commercially astute opportunities for SQA that will contribute towards a sustainable financial model for the organisation.
  • Design, implement and maintain robust financial systems and controls ensuring integrity of all systems.
  • Provide assurance to the Chief Executive and Board on SQA's compliance with all relevant legal, audit and regulatory requirements.
  • Work with Scottish Government to ensure an understanding of the requirements for the development of a sustainable financial model for the organisation.

What you'll need to succeed

As a member of the Executive Management team you will be both a role model of the organisation's values - Trusted, Enabling and Progressive and a leader in our values-led programme.

The ideal candidate will, as a minimum, be educated Degree level (SCQF level 9) and be a fully qualified accountant (CCAB) with experience of operating at Executive level, ideally within the public sector.

You will ideally have previous experience of successfully managing relationships within the public sector, including Government, and be able to demonstrate an understanding of both the Public Sector Procurement process and of public sector financial management controls.

The ideal candidate will also:

  • Possess experience of leading and delivering organisational change.
  • Demonstrate commercial acumen and possess outstanding communication skills with people at all levels, and articulate the bigger picture in ways that are meaningful and engaging for all stakeholders.
  • Actively demonstrate values-led leadership behaviours, and maintain a level of comfort and confidence in leadership in conflict situations and challenging circumstances.
  • Possess experience of working with and over-coming business challenges and financial constraints.
  • Highly developed persuading and influencing skills.
  • Be decisive, adaptable and able to manage business pressures.
  • Have the ability to maintain a strategic focus whilst managing business as usual operations.

What you'll get in return

The opportunity to be part of the Executive Management Team, led by the Chief Executive, contributing to the strategic development and direction of this internationally recognised, high profile organisation.


The opportunity to support the implementation of the corporate plan that will take SQA into a new organisation.
An excellent salary and benefits package including a generous pension and holiday entitlement.

The role can be based in either SQA offices in Glasgow city centre or Dalkeith near Edinburgh with regular travel to the other.

To apply please contact Sarah Gracie at Eden Scott Recruitment

Sarah Gracie
Point of contact
Sarah Gracie
Associate Director
07999 421 314