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Head of Accounting

European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL)

Location: Heidelberg - Germany
Salary: Grade 6, 7 or 8; depending on qualification and experience
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 23rd July 2020
Closes: 31st August 2020
Job Ref: HD01792

Contract Duration: 5 years (renewable)

We are Europe’s flagship research laboratory for the life sciences – an intergovernmental organisation performing scientific research in disciplines including molecular biology, physics, chemistry and computer science. We are an international, innovative and interdisciplinary laboratory with more than 1700 employees from many nations, operating across six sites, in Heidelberg (HQ), Barcelona, Hinxton near Cambridge, Hamburg, Grenoble and Rome.

Reporting directly to the Head of Finance, the Head of Accounting is responsible for preparation of the annual accounts and all financial and management reporting within EMBL. The postholder manages a team of approx. 10 qualified and part qualified accountants that cover all the main functions of a classic accounting department.

Your role

Responsibilites include:

  • Financial Reporting
    • Management of all financial and management reporting processes
    • Management of the production of EMBL’s annual financial statement
    • Acting as the key contact point for EMBL’s external auditors
    • Acting as technical lead for all accounting matters
    • Maintaining and developing the SAP accounting system along with associated reporting systems (including financial aspects of Business Warehouse)
  • Internal Control
    • Management of the successful operation of all internal controls relevant to the accounting department and external financial reporting
    • Developing and optimising the effectiveness of internal controls within the accounting department and external financial reporting, consistent with the internal control environment in EMBL
    • Acting as key contact for internal audit for all matters pertaining to accounting
  • Financial Transaction Processing
    • Management of the processing of all financial transactions
    • Development and optimisation of all financial processing systems
    • Control of cash flow and treasury operations
    • Experience in driving change and related processes
    • Management of issues surrounding value-added and other relevant taxes
    • Dealing with financial and budgetary issues from management and scientific staff
  • Staff Management
    • Managing, training and developing accounting department staff

You will also be expected to establish a good working relationship with other departments within EMBL and its sites as well as with internal and external auditors. As Head of Accounting, you might be appointed to deputise for the Head of Finance.

You have

As our ideal candidate, you will have a recognised qualification as Chartered Accountant and ideally a minimum of 5 years post qualification experience in a similar role. You will need to demonstrate a successful history of staff and organisation management and how you have developed and motivated a successful team. Organisational skills combined with high service orientation and the ability to work independently and communicate effectively are required. Key to success in the role will be effective and transparent communication, the ability to persuade and influence and a sound understanding of technical accounting, financial processes and reporting. A sound knowledge of SAP FI/CO or similar is essential. Furthermore, excellent IT skills particularly Excel are a pre-requisite. Excellent working knowledge of English is essential for this position. 

You might also have

Previous experience of working in an international organisation or an organisation engaged in research would be an advantage. Knowledge of German, French and/or Spanish language is an advantage. 

What else you need to know

Please note that appointments on fixed term contracts can be renewed, depending on circumstances at the time of the review.

If you feel you have the right skills and experience, please apply online through: submitting your CV and cover letter.

To learn more about working & living in Germany, please visit:

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* Salary has been converted at the prevailing rate on the date placed
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