Watershed external building, the sky is overcast and stormy.

Stormyshed by Toby Farrow.

Finance Director

On this page

  1. Before you apply
  2. Job description
  3. Application process
  4. Further information
  5. More information about the role
  6. Watershed Values


Please apply online, or alternatively, download the application form in Word and email it to hr@watershed.co.uk.

Do get in touch if you would like any of this information, or wish to apply, in another format.

Please do not include your CV as it will not be considered. Please put all relevant information on your application form.

Before you apply

Watershed's first value is Inclusive – we are people led. We listen to and engage with the broadest range of people. The information below lays out some of the steps we are taking to create a more inclusive recruitment process. Many of these steps are new to us, so feedback and questions are very welcome.

You may not have worked in a cultural organisation before, or in an organisation like Watershed. Please still consider applying as many other sectors offer transferable contexts.

If you are from a background that is underrepresented in the culture sector - for example you are from a community that experiences racism or you are a disabled person (as defined by the Equalities Act 2010), or you did not go to University or had free school meals as a child - and you would like support to articulate how your experience is transferable to this role, you can book time with us to discuss it. We will ensure the person you meet is not involved in the recruitment process. Please request this by emailing hr@watershed.co.uk (we will not ask you to disclose your background).

We believe our work will be stronger with greater diversity and welcome applications from those who bring balance to our team. Watershed welcomes the whole person to work, and we understand that each of us brings our experiences, our backgrounds and our own unique lens to what we do. Supporting our staff means they are not appointed to represent specific groups or organisations.

Job description

Finance Director
£70,000 per annum
Full time, 40 hours a week
Contract type
Fixed Term - Two year contract
In the building. Hybrid working option available (part working in the building and part remote). This post is not suitable for full remote working.

Purpose of job

The Finance Director is responsible for all aspects of Watershed’s financial management, in compliance with appropriate accounting standards and practices, company and charity law and associated guidance, including organisational and project budget setting, monitoring and control, financial and management information reporting systems and associated policies, financial controls and fraud prevention, invoicing, payroll, payments and associated banking and accounting, insurance, and audit.

The Finance Director will lead on the digital and systems transformation of the department, designing and managing a two year change process to ensure we have efficient and appropriate processes and procedures to continue to grow and develop the business.

The Finance Director is a member of Watersheds’ Executive Team. They will work alongside the CEO, General Manager and Board to set and deliver the finance strategy, in line with the organisation’s overall vision and business plan. The role is also supported by Watersheds’ Finance Sub Group, which is chaired by Lisa Gardner FCA, a Watershed Trustee and chartered accountant.

Main responsibilities

Finance Strategy

  • Lead the development and implementation of Watershed’s finance strategy
  • Work with the CEO and General Manager to produce and deliver Watershed’s annual budget
  • Ensure management information (income reports, management accounts and cash flow projections) is accurate and produced in a timely manner
  • Undertake the analysis of performance and updating of forecasts on a regular basis to inform financial planning for the Board and Executive Team
  • Ensure the organisation has a full understanding of Watershed’s business plan and make sure departmental strategies and policies are aligned

Financial process and systems development

  • Lead a transformation project of Watershed’s financial processes and systems including a review of current practices, provide recommendations to Executive Team and Board on appropriate changes and implement the approved recommendations
  • The development and management of financial systems and processes to ensure they work well for all departments and provide timely, appropriate and accurate information
  • Ensure appropriate process and systems transformation is planned, communicated clearly and executed appropriately

Team management

  • Develop and deliver a departmental strategy and goals
  • Line management of the Finance Team including performance management, the identification of training and development needs within the department and the management of workflow across the department
  • Oversight of the processing and recording systems for all financial transactions to ensure the smooth running of the department

Control and Compliance

  • Maintain and develop robust financial controls to mitigate the risk of fraud and error.  This includes the continued development of efficient finance policies, procedures and reporting
  • Ensure all financial activities are consistent and compliant with financial regulations (including the Charity Commission and HMRC)
  • Manage Watershed’s annual audit and lead on the preparation of Watershed’s annual statutory accounts.
  • Lead responsibility for governance best practice, ensuring Companies House and Charities Commission, Board register of interests and other legislative requirements are complete and that Trustees can discharge their responsibilities according to the law
  • Responsible for Watershed’s cash flow position - maintaining an up to date rolling cash flow forecast for the Watershed Group of companies
  • Lead responsibility for ensuring contracts, grant offers and third-party agreements are appropriately worded and legally compliant


  • Provision of accurate and timely financial reporting to Watershed’s SMT, Exec and Board on financial performance and financial resilience
  • Provide accurate and timely financial reporting to Watershed’s key regular funders including the British Film Institute, Arts Council England and Bristol City Council
  • Management of financial reporting for other key stakeholders, other funders and statutory requirements

Additional requirements

  • Manage insurance policies for Watershed group of companies
  • Attending Board meetings and the Finance Committee.
  • Any other duties reasonably required

Shared Executive responsibilities

  • Shared management of the organisation as part of the Executive Team in support of the CEO
  • Advocacy and thought leadership around Watershed’s role in the local and national cultural sector
  • Participation in shaping Watershed’s vision and strategy, alongside the Board of Trustees
  • Championing of a values-based organisational culture
  • Protection of the collaborative, inclusive organisational culture which supports and enables individuals and teams to deliver on objectives

Key performance indicators

  • Financial reporting is timely, accurate and clear
  • The Finance Team has a clear departmental strategy, runs effectively and efficiently
  • The Finance Team are engaged and motivated
  • Watershed remains financially compliant with current legislation (including Charity Commission) with a positive year-end audit report
  • Relationships with budget holders and external stakeholders are proactively built and managed
  • Cashflow remains fluid
  • Satisfactory results are achieved from any VAT inspection which may take place
  • Watershed’s financial processes and systems are effective and efficient

Essential criteria

  • Fully qualified accountant (e.g. ACCA/CIMA/ICAEW)
  • Senior leadership experience gained in a similar sized organisation in either the culture, voluntary or third sector
  • Proven experience of transformational leadership / change management
  • Experience of strategic financial planning
  • Experience of working with management and statutory accounts
  • Aligns with Watershed Values

Application process

We will be holding interviews at Watershed on the detailed dates.

Closing date:

First round interview / presentation (if relevant):

Second round interview:

Further information


Watershed will work with candidates to ensure their access needs are met during the interview process and will ensure access requirements are not a factor in decision making. 

Working at Watershed

As well as becoming part of our welcoming team, we offer a number of benefits for Watershed employees

Equal opportunities monitoring

We are striving to understand more about who applies to work with us. At the end of the application process we invite you to complete our anonymous equal opportunities monitoring form, which will not be shared with anyone involved in the recruitment process.

Opening hours

At full operation, Watershed is open seven days a week, including Bank Holidays (Christmas Day and Boxing Day are the only exceptions). Watershed is a public building, which operates a diverse range of cultural and commercial activities. The post holder will need to be comfortable working in this environment.

More information about the role

We are looking for an experienced Finance Director to pro-actively lead Watershed’s financial strategy through a period of change and transformation and oversee our day-to-day financial management.

Watershed has healthy reserves and is a treasured part of the Bristol cultural ecosystem but staff turnover and constant covid re-modelling has created significant challenge in the Finance Department and our reporting systems are in need of an overhaul.

We are seeking a proactive candidate who will relish joining a collaborative and innovative organisation with a mandate for considered transformation. They will balance their enjoyment of getting stuck in and supporting a team with providing strategic insight and analysis to support business development.

This is a brand-new, two year, senior role and we are looking for a candidate with experience of leading transformation and positive change. Beginning with stabilisation of our current resource, they will move on to process and systems transformation to increase efficiency and maintain control in the light of the changed working and operating environment.

Our ideal candidate will:

  • Take responsibility for making decisions associated with Watershed’s long-term financial interests, consulting internal and external stakeholders appropriately, reflecting a good understanding of our strategic priorities and organisational risks, and anticipating and resolving problems on a timely basis.
  • Work with the Finance Manager to prioritise the allocation of the Finance Team’s resources balancing the Team’s needs with those of the wider organisation.
  • Use their own knowledge and input from the Finance Team and colleagues across Watershed to identify the changes in structure and processes needed to create a fit for purpose contemporary finance function.
  • Demonstrate their ability to plan, manage and communicate the implementation of change in line with Watershed reporting timetables, activity and financial constraints to ensure transformation is well understood, timely and appropriate. 
  • Have successfully led and implemented process and systems transformation
  • Communicate positively for and about Watershed internally and with stakeholders.

The successful candidate must be a professionally qualified accountant with a resilient and proactive approach and robust technical skills and experience working in complex and diverse organisations.

At the end of the two year period we will work with the Finance Director to design the most cost-effective and appropriate leadership structure for the organisation.

Further Reading

Watershed Business Plan April 22 – March 23 | An operating manual for uncertainty

Watershed 20/21 group accounts

Watershed Values

As a registered charity and social enterprise, Watershed has well-established brand values. We seek to apply our values in everything we do and ask staff, partners, suppliers and collaborators to do the same.
Our values are:

  • Inclusive: We are people led. We listen to and engage with the broadest range of people.
  • Open and Honest: We provide a culture and environment that is trusting, trusted and trustworthy.
  • Make things Happen: We approach opportunity and challenge creatively, collaboratively and with a can do attitude.
  • Entrepreneurial: We are inventive, try new ideas, experiment, learn and share.
  • Celebratory: We celebrate culture, creativity and wonder.

Watershed is a Social Enterprise Mark holder. Social Enterprises are businesses whose products and services create both social and environmental benefits.

Closing Date: 17:00, Thu 18 Aug