I was wondering if you could shed some light on what a working day would be like during the first year of the finance graduate scheme? What sort of work would an NHS finance trainee undertake? And how does this change over the course of the scheme?
The working days vary hugely, particularly in the first year. I have many competing priorities, which I must continually juggle.
In the first year on the scheme I worked in financial accounting, where the focus is on external reporting. At the start of the placement I had a lot of education days, as I worked towards my accounting qualification and a Post Graduate Certificate (half a masters). This meant I was generally given ad hoc projects such as analysing transactions to identify potential duplicate payments or fraud, or investigating disputed balances with suppliers. I was placed at a new organisation that had been formed by merging the management of three NHS bodies, so I also got to redraft some policies and procedures which I presented to the Audit Committee.
Later on, I was able to take on more regular responsibility and worked as the year end capital accountant. I had to monitor and report on all capital expenditure and liaise with budget holders to make sure they didn't overspend (staying within set limits was a statutory requirement).The accounting cycle means that there are times of the month and year which are extremely busy, and year end is the big one so it was great to be closely involved. Having my working papers scrutinised by auditors was a little nerve wracking, but it really felt like I'd made a contribution.
On the scheme we are given the freedom to pursue other relevant interests too. I joined the health network panel for my accounting body, and set up and chaired a student forum which supports any NHS employee that is studying towards an accounting qualification. I've also met with a series of very senior figures in the NHS; being a trainee really does opens doors for you.
I hope that answers your question. Let me know if you have any more.
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