Finance and Administration Manager

The Ecological Land Cooperative (ELC) is a social enterprise based in Brighton, East Sussex. We exist to create affordable access to land for new entrants to ecological agriculture and mixed farming. Following the successful delivery of our first two sites, clusters of three ecological small farms in Mid Devon and East Sussex, we have also purchased and are in the process of developing three further sites across the South of England and Wales. We have an ambitious plan to add five more smallholding sites to our portfolio over the next four years.

We currently employ one full-time and five part-time staff, and strategic direction is led by ELC’s Board of Directors, which currently has five members who are elected at the Cooperative’s AGM. There are currently 485 members of the Cooperative.

We believe that ecological land-based livelihoods can help solve some of the most pressing environmental and social problems of our time, and we seek to marry ecological principles with sound business practice to help more people live and work on the land. This type of small-scale ecological production delivers a number of benefits including protecting the environment, building vibrant rural communities, providing employment and training, and supporting healthy diets through affordable, local produce.

Beyond this, our vision is one where land is valued and used as a means to enhance our collective good. At present, land in the UK is the target of financial speculation; in contrast, our model champions a collective, ecological and cooperative vision of land ownership and land use.

Finance and Administration Manager - 3 days per week

This is a new post for the Ecological Land Cooperative and we are looking for someone with strong financial management skills and an aptitude for administration to work closely with the Coordinator and the ELC Board of Directors.

Recruitment Timeline

The closing date for applications is midnight on Monday 11th January 2021.

We are expecting to hold interviews on Thursday 21st January 2021.

To apply for this role please send a copy of your most up to date CV, details for two referees and a covering letter detailing why you are a good candidate, including information on how you meet each point of the person specification to sonia@ecologicalland.coop with the email subject 'Finance & Administration Manager' by midnight on Monday 4th January 2021. Please also complete and return the Applicant Monitoring Form (below) with your CV and cover letter.

We want to hear about your suitability for the role but if you could keep your cover letter down to two pages of A4 that would help us when shortlisting.

Job Description and Person Specification

The Finance and Administration Manager is responsible for the day to day maintenance of ELC’s financial and administrative systems, as well as providing management accounts and administrative support to the ELC board of directors. Working closely with the Coordinator, the Finance and Administration Manager will be central to the smooth running of the Ecological Land Cooperative, supporting all members of the staff team and board of directors, supported by and reporting to the Coordinator.

Hours and Remuneration

3 days (22.5 hours) per week. The post is expected to be based in the ELC’s office in Brighton with the opportunity to work flexible hours. Remote working will be considered for the right candidate.

£28,821 per annum* pro rata, actual salary for 3 days (22.5 hours) per week £17,293 per annum (£14.78 per hour) plus up to 4% matched pension contribution.
* the ELC has a flat payment structure, with all workers paid at the same rate. As soon as our organisational productivity exceeds our business plan targets, we’d like to increase the level of pay across the organisation.

Job Description

The Finance and Administration Manager’s responsibilities include:

Accounting and bookkeeping:
      General:

●    Processing sales invoices, receipts and payments.
●    Maintaining the ELC account records and procedures using Xero and internal forms.
●    Dealing with financial paperwork and filing.
●    Reconciling bank statements on a monthly basis.
●    Preparing monthly management accounts and any other forecasting reports required for the Finance Sub-Committee in conjunction with the Coordinator.
●    Preparing financial reports for analysis as required.
●    Preparing a weekly payments schedule for the Coordinator to action.
●    Processing staff and board expenses.
●    Attending Finance Sub-Committee meetings and carrying out any tasks generated by these meetings.

Preparing annual accounts:
●    Calculating share interest payments and loan stock interest and providing the Information Systems Manager with a list of share interest payments for the previous financial year by February each year.
●    Ensure compliance with all legislation governing the ELC’s financial reporting.
●    Track the value of pro-bono time given to the ELC.
●    Work with the Coordinator and the Treasurer to prepare the annual accounts narrative and financial information for approval by the AGM.
●    Work with the external accounts examiner or auditor at year end to enable the accounts to be examined or audited as determined by the AGM.

Payroll:
●    Maintaining the ELC payroll system using Xero Payroll including:
●    Enrolling new staff onto the payroll system and into the NEST payroll pension scheme.
●    Ensuring compliance with HMRC monthly reporting schedules.
●    Issuing payslips to staff.
●    Monitoring the ELC HMRC online account, ensuring employees tax codes are kept up to date, issuing P45s etc.
●    Maintaining all payroll records to ensure full compliance with the PAYE system.
●    Making the payment and submission to NEST Pensions each month.
●    Completing staff timesheets as required.

Administration
      General tasks:
●    Carry out all administrative tasks associated with the day to day running of the ELC including:
●    Maintaining the info@ecologicalland.coop email for general enquiries and referring them to the appropriate member of staff when necessary.
●    Maintaining office supplies and ensuring remote staff have what they need to carry out their roles.
●    Arranging for printing and postage of materials as necessary.
●    Supporting the ELC staff team with administrative tasks as required.
●    Answering telephone enquiries and providing office cover for part of the week in conjunction with other team members.
●    Communicating with members, providing information when requested and preparing and sending annual statements to shareholding members in conjunction with the Information Systems Manager.
●    Keeping the ELC Operations handbook updated.
●    Maintaining a confidential record of organisational logins and passwords.
●    Maintaining the filing system on Google Drive and ensuring it is kept up to date.
●    Using and maintaining IT systems including Slack, Google Suite and CiviCRM.
●    Maintaining the register of members.
●    Maintaining up to date records of all contacts and communications using the ELC CiviCRM database.
●    Any other aspect of administrative work considered reasonable.
●    Contributing to the work of the ELC as part of the staff team, including team meetings, strategic planning and away-days, and team-building or social events.

Board of Directors:
●    Providing administrative support to the board of directors, arranging venues and preparing agendas for board meetings, taking minutes and working with the Chair and the Coordinator to distribute papers prior to board meetings and the Annual General Meeting.
●    Coordinate the board Finance Sub Committee meetings.
●    Providing administrative and logistical support to the Coordinator for the ELC Annual General Meeting.

Person Specification

Essential Skills and Experience
●    An accountancy or bookkeeping qualification or the equivalent experience of maintaining financial records to trial balance using a computerised accounts package – ideally Xero.
●    Experience of inputting and monitoring budgets using the accounts package.
●    Experience of providing administration support to a varied team.
●    Experience of taking clear and concise minutes of meetings.
●    Commitment to the aims and objectives of the ELC.    
●    A commitment to working cooperatively.
●    Demonstrated ability to work well under pressure.    
●    Excellent interpersonal and communication skills in person, on the telephone and online.
●    Strong team player, capable of working well in collaboration with others, and able to both take responsibility and respect the decisions of others where appropriate.
●    Strong ICT skills and web literacy, including the Microsoft Office suite of programmes.

Desirable Skills and Experience
●    Experience of working within the environmental movement or third sector.
●    Experience of the low-impact movement or agroecological farming    .
●    Demonstrated ability to develop and maintain professional networks.
●    Familiarity with online tools such as Google Drive, Slack and CiviCRM.
●    Experience of co-operative management and inclusive decision making.
●    Experience or an understanding of the challenges of working remotely.
●    Experience of working as part of a small and diverse team.

Nov 2020