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  • Role: Finance Officer
  • University: Nottingham
  • Degree: BA (Hons) Industrial Economics

Pamela Chang

I studied at the University of Nottingham and graduated with a BA Honours degree in Industrial Economics. I wanted to pursue a career in finance as there are many opportunities in that field to further expand my knowledge and also gain professional accreditation.

I am currently halfway through my second year on the Siemens Finance Graduate Scheme, working within the Healthcare Division. My first year placement was in the Corporate Division, where I spent six months in Corporate Audit and six months in Corporate Finance. Throughout this time period, I have been studying for my Chartered Institute of Management Accounting accreditation.

Below is an account of a week in my current placement within Siemens Healthcare. I work in the Private Finance Initiative Finance (PFI) team which oversee multi-million pound contracts for equipment management and service in a number of hospitals situated around the UK. I have a number of responsibilities covering a variety of tasks related to both the financial close process as well as daily operations at a project level.

Monday

It’s month end this week. I arrive bright and early ready for a busy day. I start by logging onto our system and downloading the latest project results. I spend the morning analysing the maintenance costs to ensure they are correctly posted to our project and assigned into the right category, and add the new or renewed contracts to our maintenance schedule. It is important the schedule is kept up to date at all times.

In the afternoon, I start to transfer the remaining costs assigned to the project cost centre and create the journal entry that will be posted in the system to reassign them to the appropriate work breakdown structure. I check the expenses that have gone through this month to ensure they have been allocated to the correct project and pass the cost breakdown onto my manager for approval.

Tuesday

Today is going to be busy again. The system closes at 20.00 tonight so all postings have to be made before then. My manager forwards onto me the rest of the journals he has created that need to be posted in the system, but I need to wait for them to be authorised and then returned to me to enter. The waiting period is spent monitoring the cost centre reports in case any late costs are posted that need to be included. Once I have received the journals back, I enter them into the system.

When a document number has been automatically generated, I know the information has been posted correctly and I can start working on the management packs. These provide management accounting data for senior management to present an overview of the project’s performance for the month and year to date compared to budget. I start by downloading the breakdown of costs to the project and enter them into a spreadsheet. I then update the different worksheets and links within the management pack.

This process has to be done after every month-end, with the final product ready to be presented and reviewed at the monthly financial meeting at the end of the week.

Wednesday

I start the day by attending the weekly team meeting. Our manager updates us on general information, weekly tasks, key dates/deadlines and we receive feedback from other meetings. Weekly training tasks are also set to help further improve our accounting knowledge. These meetings are very useful as they keep us up to date with how the rest of the team are doing and it give us the opportunity to discuss any key issues that may have arisen during the week.

The rest of the day is spent doing post-month end work. I have a couple of reconciliations to do and check that the management packs are fully completed. The next finance meeting is on Friday at Queen’s Hospital in Romford so I have to make sure everything is ready.

Thursday

The day begins with a meeting with my manager regarding a new task. My job for today is to update our project model by adding new pieces of equipment required for the hospital.

The PFI contract in place is extremely long and therefore needs to be updated when more equipment is required. I open up the different files containing the equipment descriptions, prices, warranty years and various other details that I then transfer over to the worksheet used for the model.

The total number of additions is in excess of 500, so this mini task takes most of the day to complete.

Friday

I start the day earlier than usual as I have to drive up to Romford for the monthly meeting. I’m quite nervous because A) I’ve never been up to the site and B) I’ve not driven on the M25 in rush hour before! After a couple of wrong turns, I finally arrive at the hospital where our meeting is taking place with enough time to run through the management pack and read through last month’s minutes.

The other attendees arrive shortly, some of whom include the most senior people involved with the project; Operations Director, Head of PFI Finance, Equipment Services Manager and Queen’s Hospital Account Manager. I take notes as we run through the agenda, closing any issues that have been resolved and then move on to tackle any new or outstanding issues. Next, we run through the management pack that I prepared earlier in the week and we look at key figures and profit margins that the project is running on.

The next step after the meeting is to write up the minutes and go through the points discussed. Monday morning is looking to be another busy day and I look forward to performing new tasks, meeting new people and increasing my involvement on this multi-million pound contract within the company.

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