Fianna Fáil questions specification for leading Department of Finance post

Accountancy qualification not required for new position of chief finance officer

Fianna Fáil finance spokesman Michael McGrath: “It is incredible that the Department of Finance, which is the guardian of the State’s finances, does not require an accountancy qualification for such a senior role.” Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Fianna Fáil finance spokesman Michael McGrath: “It is incredible that the Department of Finance, which is the guardian of the State’s finances, does not require an accountancy qualification for such a senior role.” Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Sat, Apr 6, 2013, 06:00

A decision by the Department of Finance not to make an accountancy qualification mandatory for a new post of chief finance officer at the department has been described as “incredible” by Fianna Fáil finance spokesman Michael McGrath.

He said the failure to insist on proper qualifications for the post called into question the department’s commitment to reform.

“I find it extraordinary that the department would seek to appoint a person to such a senior role and not require a proper accountancy qualification.”

He said such a qualification should be an absolute prerequisite for the position. “Small and medium enterprises around the country are often required to have a qualified accountant as chief finance officer. It is incredible that the Department of Finance, which is the guardian of the State’s finances, does not require an accountancy qualification for such a senior role.”

The position of chief finance and operations officer at the Department of Finance, which carries an assistant secretary grade, was advertised last month with a closing date for applications on April 18th.

The advertisement on the website publicjobs.ie points to the department’s statement of strategy 2011-2014 which sets out the mission of managing Government finances and playing a central role in achieving the Government’s economic and social goals.

It says the department is now recruiting a chief finance and operations officer who will report to the secretary general of the department and serve as a member of the senior management team.

“A key area of focus will be to lead a programme of enhancement of Irish Government financial reporting in conjunction with other relevant bodies. In addition to the strategic components of the post, the successful candidate will also be charged with developing and implementing more sophisticated policies and procedures in the finance, human resources and general operational realms.”

The advert says the ideal candidate will have “broad-based senior management experience, including experience of areas such as finance/audit, corporate services, HR and operations along with well-developed strategic, financial and management skills together with high level policy analysis, development and implementation experience”.

It goes on to say that strong knowledge of current accounting and financial reporting developments, together with membership of a recognised accountancy body, would be a definite advantage. However, it does not make such a qualification a requirement.