Starting a Career in Finance, First-hand Experience.


University done and dusted, then on-going ritual of checking Newspapers, Employment Agencies and websites, sending CVs out to any company I think that may employ me.  Working at ASDA as a Trolley Dolly was not where I saw my career heading but starting out is hard with no experience.

In the Newspaper I saw an advert for Finance Staff in the Public Sector… A Civil Servant position… Well that is something I hadn’t considered but at the end of the day a job is a job.  So what is there to lose? Another application completed and submitted.  This one was different; they actually got back to me offering an interview!  Long story short I was offered a job!

Hard to think all the above happened 11 years ago now, doesn’t time fly when you are having fun.

I am led to believe Public Sector finance is a lot different to working in the ‘Real World’ and during the 11 years I have been part of it, it has been subject to on-going change.  The major drivers for accepting a position like this when I started were job security, pension options and opportunities for development.  Over the years like everywhere, benefits have been eroded and workloads have increased but it is still a good place to work!

I currently work as a ‘Finance Partner’ embedded within the project team.  What this means is that I am the first point of contact for Financial Queries for a number of different engineering functions.  An average day can be very varied; I have responsibility for Financial Scrutiny of Investment Appraisals acting to ensure all investments provide best Value for Money to the taxpayer.  That is one of the fundamental differences between the Public and Private Sector; Public Sector is not driven by return on investment or generation of profit but effective, Value for Money delivery of objectives.

Working closely with Programme Managers I provide corporate returns relating to Resource Forecasts, Commitment Monitoring, Cash Profiling as well as numerous Audit Functions.  At the end of each Financial Year accounts are audited on behalf of Parliament by the National Audit Office (NAO)

Would I recommend a career in the Public Sector?

The pay lead allowances no longer tie up too well salary wise with the Private Sector, but I would not change the path my career has taken.

Written by Mr D

About tpearce2012

Works for Gravitas Recruitment SW, specialising in Accountancy, Finance and Office Support roles in the South West.
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