Zoological Society of London

Head of Finance - London

Competitive plus benefits
13 Mar 2018
18 Mar 2018
Job Type
Full Time

Head of Finance (Full-Time / Permanent)

The Zoological Society of London (ZSL), a charity founded in 1826, is a world-renowned centre of excellence for conservation science and applied conservation. ZSL’s mission is to promote and achieve the worldwide conservation of animals and their habitats. This is realised by carrying out field conservation and research in over 50 countries across the globe and through education and awareness-raising at our two zoos, ZSL London Zoo and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, inspiring people to take conservation action.

Role Profile

ZSL is seeking a highly credible and collaborative individual to be our new Head of Finance, who will provide operational  leadership to the finance team in the UK (across two sites London Zoo and Whipsnade Zoo) and financial oversight for 9 overseas country offices, ensuring a high quality financial service is provided across all areas of the Society’s activities. Reporting directly to the Director of Finance and managing a team of 20 people, this role will take responsibility for developing and delivering efficient financial processes including budgeting, forecasting and long range financial projections and will be influential in supporting the personal development of the team. You will have a key role in supporting the Finance Director with the on-going development of the Society’s financial strategy.

The Head of Finance will champion relations nationally and internationally with staff which will be supported by the Director of Finance. This will include partnering with all parts of ZSL (Institute of Zoology, Conservation Programmes and Zoo’s) and providing exceptional leadership support, reporting, monitoring and communications systems to ensure our robust financial management and controls are upheld across the society.

This senior management role requires a confident, resilient and proactive individual who has gravitas and is capable of making operational decisions on a global scale and can think strategically. As such we are ideally looking for someone who has previous experience or is currently operating as a Head of Finance and holds extensive experience working with a range of stakeholders including government agents, executive committees, trustee’s and council members. The successful candidate will also possess exceptional people and project-management skills, and be able to plan and keep track of multiple projects while constantly evaluating the business environment for opportunities and threats.

This is a fantastic opportunity for the successful candidate to take on a senior post within an established international organisation. You must be genuinely excited by the prospect of joining a world leading conservation charity such as ZSL.

Main Duties and Responsibilities

  • Working with the Finance Director, develop and deliver the finance department’s vision, strategy and plan.
  • Provision of strategic information and business analysis; production of budgets, reforecasts, monthly management accounts and financial reports.
  • Lead and oversee priority change projects, particularly in light of the need to continue with the transformation of the finance function to meet the growing needs of the Society.
  • Deputise for the Finance Director in key stakeholder meetings if required.

Person Specification

  • Ideally be a Qualified Accountant (ICAEW, ACCA, CIMA) at Head of Department or higher level, with a proven track record of leading and developing high performing teams in a complex organisation.
  • Significant experience of charity financial management and overseas financial management gained in a finance leadership role.
  • Strong project management and excellent interpersonal skills will be essential
  • Demonstrable experience of high quality delivery in a rapidly changing environment.
  • Proven experience of working successfully at strategic level including developing high-level business plans
  • Extensive experience in leading cross functional teams and implementing finance strategy globally.
  • Current or previous people management experience is essential as is the ability to work with a wide range of people from different cultures.
  • A solution-focused approach and the ability to make objective decisions under pressure will make you a success in this role
  • Exceptional written and verbal communications skills; fluency in English is essential.


Please note: This is a full-time (37.5 hours per week), permanent position reporting to the Director of Finance. The post will be based at ZSL’s head office in Regents Park however, may occasionally require the post holder to travel to Whipsnade Zoo and to our overseas offices. Having a "can do attitude", solution-focused approach and the ability to make objective decisions under pressure will make you a success in this role.

Benefit Package:

This role offers a competitive salary plus a comprehensive benefits package including 25 days holiday, stakeholder pension where the employer minimum contribution is 7%, complimentary zoo tickets and more.

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