Finance staff

A career in healthcare finance could be perfect if you have a head for figures and you’d like to work in an amazing and challenging environment.

Finance staff work closely with both clinical and non-clinical professionals across public services to ensure the best decisions about modern and reliable services are made. They help make the tough choices that are sometimes needed about the allocation of resources and services, always keeping the needs of patients in mind.

In NHSScotland, Finance staff work in a diverse range of roles, in our territorial Boards, special Health Boards and public bodies across the country.

Finance staff can be involved in:

  • handling invoices and payments to suppliers and partners
  • using specialised IT systems to track expenditure and income
  • gathering and interpreting the financial data to make management decisions
  • providing payroll and expenses to thousands of health and care staff
  • preparing annual financial reports and coordinating with HMRC, VAT collection and other authorities

Senior Finance staff might be involved in:

  • setting and managing budgets
  • making decisions on how money is spent
  • auditing (tracking and checking) to make sure money has been spent correctly

Typical job roles in NHSScotland include Payroll Assistant, Accounts Clerk or Finance Officer. More senior posts include such roles as Payroll Manager, Business Partner and Financial Accountant.

Finance staff work closely with suppliers, service partners and colleagues in other teams to ensure our services run smoothly and we use our resources wisely. They work in teams to deliver vital support and services, with a focus on professionalism and quality.

We need people whose heart is in the service and whose mind is sharp enough to deal with the many challenges involved.

Useful skills include:

  • working with numbers and data
  • attention to detail
  • IT skills
  • clear thinking

Useful abilities include:

  • good oral and written communication skills
  • positive approach to team working
  • systems thinking
  • planning and organisation
  • having discretion and strong ethics
  • ability to work to deadlines

Relevant interests include:

  • interests in figures and resources
  • ability to look beyond the money
  • patient care and service delivery
  • focus on service improvement
  • professional attitude to work

For entry-level jobs, such as a Payroll Assistant or Finance Administrator or Accounts Clerk, a good general education with SQA National 4 or SQA National 5, including Maths is helpful.

Mid-level roles such as Management Accountant or Financial Analyst require additional qualifications, such as:

  • AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) Certificate or Diploma
  • An Accounting or Accounting and Finance degree

For both entry-level and mid-level roles, some IT skills and office experience is also useful.

Senior Finance staff may need additional qualifications, such as:

  • CIPFA (Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy) Professional Qualification
  • ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants)
  • CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants)
  • Any of the Charted Accountant qualifications (ICAS / ICAEW / ICAI)
  • Masters level qualification in business, finance or administration

Modern Apprenticeships offer those aged over 16 paid employment with the opportunity to train for jobs at craft, technician and management level.

The Modern Apprenticeship in Accounting at SCQF Level 6 and SCQF Level 8, Modern Apprenticeship in Providing Financial Services Level 3 at SCQF Level 6 and Modern Apprenticeship in Payroll at SCQF Level 6 are frameworks for people interested in working in finance.

A Modern Apprenticeships in Business and Administration at SCQF Level 6 is a framework for people interested in working in business and administration or customer services.

Find out more about these Modern Apprenticeships on the Skills Development Scotland (SDS) website:

Healthcare Support (Non-clinical) at SCQF Level 6 and SCQF Level 7 is another framework for people interested in working in a healthcare setting in a non-clinical support role. For more information about this Modern Apprenticeship framework, look at:

Contact your local Board to find out if these Modern Apprenticeships are available in your area.

We have exciting roles for individuals with the right skills and attitude. Once you join one of our Finance teams, there will be on-going opportunities for education and skills development and a host of opportunities to go further and learn more.

You will be helped and encouraged to develop your career in NHSScotland. We have a national development programme called Future Focused Finance and it has something to offer everyone, covering formal learning, skills development and service excellence.

Once employed, you could go on to study part time through a local college or one of our training partners, Kaplan and BPP. Those on the NHSScotland Modern Apprenticeship programme will study for AAT membership and those on our Graduate Management Training Scheme will study for CIPFA qualifications.

Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA)

Finance staff can also become members of the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA).

HFMA organises conferences and events where staff can keep up to date and network with others and provides e-learning to update skills.

Continuing Professional Development

All of the professional bodies offer learning and development, courses and seminars, which would contribute to your Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

Career pathways

Gaining new qualifications will help your career prospects, leading to more senior roles with a greater level of responsibility. You could progress to become a foundation professional or an experienced professional, leading to an expert or emerging leader in a specific area.

Learn more about the NHSScotland Education Pathways for Business and Administration.

These are some of the professional bodies for Finance staff:

Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT)

The AAT is a leading qualification and membership body for vocational accountants. Members are represented at every level from students to accountants already employed in the financial services sector. Find out more on the Association of Accounting Technicians website.

The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA)

CIPFA is a professional body which exclusively looks after members who work in public financial management. Find out more on the CIPFA website.

Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)

The ACCA is a leading body for professional accountants which works to help accountants develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills needed by employers. Find out more on the ACCA website.

Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)

CIMA is a leading professional body of management accountants, supporting them to succeed in the public and private sectors. Find out more on the CIMA website.

Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA)

HFMA is a professional body in the UK dedicated to setting and promoting the highest standards in financial management and governance in healthcare. Find out more on the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) website.