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How to become a finance assistant

To become a finance assistant in the NHS, you can apply for vacancies on our recruitment website. You could also do a Modern Apprenticeship.

What is a finance assistant?

In the NHS, finance assistants work in finance teams that provide high-quality and effective financial accounting services within a health board. They process sales and purchase invoices, process income, set up suppliers and customers on the ledger, reconcile supplier statements and process expenses.

Finance assistant working from home

Starting your career as a finance assistant

Choosing subjects at school

School subjects that could lead to a career as a finance assistant include:

  • English
  • Maths
  • Administration and IT
  • Business Management
  • Economics

Speak to your guidance teacher or careers adviser about subjects offered at your school.

Work placements and volunteering

You may find it helpful to get some healthcare experience by doing a work placement or volunteering. You’ll get training, increase your knowledge, and learn new skills. This could help you when applying to college or a new job with NHSScotland.

Education and training pathway

Modern Apprenticeship

Some finance assistants start their careers as Modern Apprentices. With a Modern Apprenticeship, you will get the training and experience you need for the role and an industry-recognised qualification.

Modern Apprenticeship frameworks:

  • Accounting
  • Business and Administration

Find out more about becoming an apprentice.

College courses

If you choose to go to college, you could study the following qualifications to learn the skills and knowledge needed to become a finance assistant:

  • SVQ Business and Administration at SCQF level 6
  • Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) Diploma in Accounting at SCQF level 6

You can then apply for vacancies on our recruitment website.

Course search

Search for college courses on My World of Work.

Get to know the role

As a finance assistant in the NHS, you will work in a team that provides accurate and efficient accounting services. You will analyse and reconcile financial data, process routine transactions, and input data into the finance ledger system.

Tasks include:

  • process purchase and sales ledger invoices
  • match invoices to purchase orders
  • assist with invoice queries
  • reconcile supplier statements
  • set up new customers and suppliers
  • provide assistance and advice to department budget holders
  • provide support during internal and external audit reviews

You'll need these skills:

  • communicating
  • collaboration
  • problem-solving
  • critical thinking
  • focussing

It would also be helpful to have good knowledge of core accounting principles and Microsoft Office applications experience.

As a finance assistant, you could work with: 

  • finance officers
  • finance business partners
  • financial accountants
  • budget holders
  • external suppliers

You could work in an office or remotely. Hybrid working may be possible.

Learning and development

You will be encouraged to develop your career in the NHS. As well as learning specific to your role, you'll need to complete mandatory training, including:

  • health and safety
  • occupational health
  • fire safety
  • counter-fraud
  • moving and handling
  • safe information handling

Your NHS employer will confirm their mandatory training requirements during your induction.

Career progression

You may also have the chance to study for additional qualifications, including:

  • SVQ Certificate in Payroll at SCQF level 6 
  • HNC Accounting at SCQF level 7 

Gaining new qualifications will help you when applying for more senior roles, such as finance officer or finance accountant.

Professional Bodies

Finance assistants can join the following professional bodies:

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Pay and benefits

Pay and benefits

Find out about our flexible working policies, pay rates, pensions, health and wellbeing initiatives, and career development support.

Learn more about pay and benefits

NHSScotland Careers blog

Our blog features how-to guides, case studies, and resources for career planning, researching roles, and discovering what it's like to work in the NHS.

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