Category Archives: finance

Friday Featured Vacancies – IT Manager / Communications & Marketing Intern

cumbria community foundationCommunications & Marketing Intern

Cumbria Community Foundation is looking for a dynamic and motivated person to help with their communications and marketing needs. The full-time role will be for 12 months based at their office in Dovenby.

The position provides an opportunity to further develop experience in marketing, communications, research and events management as well as gaining experience of social policy, grant making and community philanthropy.

The aim of the role is to provide support to staff members across a range of activities and functions. The position will be packaged as support to a range of projects to ensure effective management of the intern’s time.

The Community Foundation exists to improve the quality of the community life in Cumbria by making grants to voluntary organisations and individuals and managing grant making funds on behalf of individuals, companies and government organisations.

Established in September 1999 the Foundation has given out almost £30 million in grants to more than 4,000 groups and 4,000 individuals.

The Foundation has a strong donor base and is held in high regard by key stakeholders.  As an organisation committed to the local community and a track record of delivery they are looking for a key member of the team to contribute to the exciting development of the organisation.

Salary £14,000 – £16,000 per annum

For further information including the job description and application form, visit their website

Closing date 9.00am Monday 16th May 2016

Interview date 24th May



logoIT Manager

Carlisle Brass is looking for an IT Manager. This role offers the opportunity to travel, locations include Carlisle, Blackburn, Kirkham and Dubai.

To apply send a CV and covering letter to

Find out more about Carlisle Brass on their website –

Closing date for applications is 10 May 2016.



Title:                     IT Manager                        

Reports to:         Head of Finance

Dotted line to:  CBG MD / Divisional FD

Location:            Carlisle

Sites:                     Carlisle, Blackburn, Kirkham, Dubai

Salary:                  £40-45k (37.5 hour week with out of hours and weekend work required occasionally to meet business continuity needs)

Benefits:             3% pension contribution, DIS 2 x’s salary, 23 days holiday                               



The role arises as a result of the need to strengthen the IT function within the business, in the light of increased growth and technology dependence as well as the increased complexity arising from a proposed ERP replacement in 2017.

The hardware infrastructure for the current systems is largely based at Carlisle, with remote servers at Blackburn and Kirkham.

The parent Group’s IT infrastructure will also continue to evolve towards consolidation and standardisation of solutions for its other UK businesses based in Daventry, and this role holder should therefore expect to collaborate with other parts of the Arran Isle group in achieving  realistic synergies. It is likely that this would comprise further virtualisation of storage and servers, as well as a roll out of virtual desktop technology


Job Purpose      

Deliver an infrastructure which continues to support the growth of the organisation and become knowledgeable about all its aspects to ensure continuous support for the operational hours of the business.

Provide day to day management and leadership of support staff making sure that appropriate skills are in place and effectively deployed in order to meet the function’s responsibilities to its users at all sites.

There will also be scope to provide forward looking guidance and strategy on where the Group can deliver more through IT, as well as responding to and developing ideas arising in the business units.


ERP replacement

Carlisle Brass currently operates a range of software applications to control the business, largely based around a bespoke database (Corserine), and developed in .NET from an original Phoenix database. Much of this development has been undertaken in house by the current IT manager. Corserine has in turn has been integrated with Sage 200 to provide the financial reporting and analysis. It is intended that the IT Manager will remain within the business focussed mainly on support of the legacy systems and immediate development requirements of these.

Carlisle Brass is currently planning to replace its existing legacy  systems with a fully integrated ERP solution in 2017. It is highly likely this will be based around a MS Dynamics Navision solution already developed for other businesses in the Arran Isle group, and being implemented during  2016.

The successful candidate will play a key role in supporting this project from the early stages through to post completion support.

The business does not currently have Navision experience available, but this will be supported by other sites and experienced third party implementers.


Key responsibilities and Standards of Performance

  1. Helpdesk resources and performance including reporting and improvement programmes
  2. Allocation of support resources and software resilience as agreed with business units including up time
  3. Coordination with external support providers which includes managing their performance and negotiation of contracts to support the operational requirements of the business
  4. Developing business specific Service Level Agreements (SLA) for each business unit and subsequently ensuring that IT service meets or exceed agreed targets
  5. Contribute to the development of the IT strategy encompassing hardware, software, security, resources and other aspects that support the achievement of the business plans of each business location
  6. Project planning and management of infrastructure maintenance and development projects including engagement and management of 3rd party contractors and service providers as and when required
  7. Creation of Disaster Recovery plans covering all aspects of IT resources and service for each business including periodic testing and subsequent updating. This includes from minor incidents such as theft of mobile phones to larger scale issues such as downtime on main systems
  8. Managing the hardware estate for the business units including:
    1. Physical servers, switches, firewalls and other associated hardware at Carlisle and other UK locations
    2. Local PC’s, photocopiers
    3. Telecoms: fixed line, broadband, mobile phones & devices, wifi, scanners
    4. Video conferencing assets
  1. Development and roll out of IT policies across all locations, periodic maintenance and enforcement
  2. Overall management of website hosting for all business units including the development and monitoring of service level performance from 3rd party resource providers
  3. Management of all aspects of IT security for all locations including PCI compliance, hardware and software integrity and resilience
  4. Contribute to wider company projects that require IT input such as new process planning, new functional specific software such as demand planning or business reporting
  5. Form part of the wider Group’s IT resource by working collaboratively with other IT professionals in the business and contributing to the IT Board
  6. Keep up to date with new software and technologies that can make our business better and build competencies within the IT team


Other Relationships

Coordinate with Divisional Finance based in Daventry, UK.

Liaise with other IT professionals around the Group

IT of customer/supplier functions around the UK


IT / Business systems

Sage 200 accounting software used for financial reporting

Interfaced with internally developed Corserine / Phoenix operating systems

Local IT hardware infrastructure includes virtualised servers and remote servers at business locations in Kirkham and Blackburn.


Background, education and experience 

Extensive 1st/2nd and 3rd Line support for a variety of infrastructure & application environments (pre-dominantly MS focused)

Extensive Design and deployment of Windows/PC based hardware

Management of an IT function within a larger multi-site SME or

Management of teams within an outsourced IT services environment



Good general education with at least strong A level or equivalent education.  Degree level education likely.  Appropriate technical certifications to demonstrate technical areas of expertise.


Technical Experience

  • LAN/WAN Network
  • MS Server platforms
  • Full and Thin client architecture including Citrix
  • Hardware performance monitoring and improvement
  • SQL
  • Business Continuity, backup & recovery
  • VMware
  • Antivirus, Anti-spam & Firewall management
  • PCI compliance
  • Website/Ecommerce/EDI
  • SQL
  • Programming, e.g. Linux, .NET
  • Video conferencing (Lifesize)
  • Support ERP and Business Intelligence tools

The template for the future ERP system is  based around MS Dynamics NAV 16 (Navision) with extensive use of  Phocas (BI) and Jet Reports (BI)for much of the reporting requirements. Experience in any of these would be advantageous


Organisation Structure



Friday’s Featured Vacancy: Associate Recruitment Consultant

If you are a confident person, have sales skills and can communicate well with people, this could be a career you would enjoy. In this job you will need to be a good negotiator. You will also need to be organised, professional and enjoy working towards targets.

Metis Human Capital Graduate Scheme 2016

Our goal is to support your growth so that you can establish yourself as a confident consultant with Metis Human Capital in six months. We offer an in-depth training scheme that will allow you to progress from the classroom to a mentored seamless integration into your team. You will be taught about the financial service’s market, your specialist area(s), typical sales structure and the candidate side of the recruitment process. There will be additional client based training to develop your skills to influence and negotiate, pitching for PSL’s and develop new client relationships. Once you have graduated from our academy we will continue to support your career development to help meet our mutual goals.

Desired skills

  • Graduate level education.
  • Focus and self-motivated.
  • Ability to demonstrate strong networking and presentation skills.
  • Other language skills would be an advantage.
  • Sales experience is desirable but not essential.

Role Benefits

  • £20k-£22k annual salary + commission.
  • £35k OTE year one.
  • Market leading commission of up to 40%.
  • Structured career path.
  • Ongoing training and development.
  • International opportunities.
  • Quarterly and annual prizes for achievements including overseas vacation.

Apply via 

Job Type: Full-time
Salary: £35,000.00 /year









“Maths makes you boring”: Negative reactions to maths degrees revealed

The questions and comments, as well as the answers the graduates gave, have been visualised here.

The questions and comments, as well as the answers the graduates gave, have been visualised here.

For many prospective students, university is the chance to study in depth something they’re passionate about. While school gives us a broad and varied education, higher education gives us the chance to truly specialise. Some will study purely for passion while others have a definite career in mind. Unfortunately, for some students, their choices can mean they become the butt of other students’ jokes.

Stereotypes exist across a host of degree areas. For those studying Maths, Accountancy and Finance the main preconception they have to deal with is that they’re a bore. Both in the workplace and the classroom there is a long held idea that Maths is boring and that, by proxy, those who study it are too.

To get an understanding of how these degrees are currently perceived, financial broker Spread Co spoke to some recent graduates and asked them to share some of the comments they’d received from colleagues and peers on their degree choice.

Students from a range of courses including Accountancy and Business & Management were interviewed. All of the graduates they spoke to were in full employment but even then had to deal with some quite personal questioning. One graduate was asked “Won’t you want to kill yourself doing that 9-5?”and another received questions including “You just add up, how hard can it be?” While these questions may seem initially harmless, it shows a lack of understanding of the well-rounded individuals these students are.

To help fight the stigma they received, the graduates were also encouraged to respond to their inquisitors and tell them about something they’d done they were proud of. As you would expect, all of the students gave fantastic responses to their critics with one graduate telling how they’d just climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro and another telling them that they’d just recently become the youngest partner in their company’s history. The full image campaign can be viewed here.

While there is inevitably more that we can do to dispel myths like these, thankfully for universities, prospective students don’t seem to be put off.  In fact, 2015 saw more applications than ever to courses in the subject area with an extra 2,500 applications, around a 6% rise from 2014’s figures. There was in fact only a 1% rise in overall applications, meaning for Maths and Accounting to see such an increase in applicants is testament to the fact that many students are recognising the value of having such a degree.

With increasing pressure for students in such a volatile job market it seems that many people are choosing more traditional, vocational courses with direct job routes. There are huge benefits to the working in finance too, with starting salaries for accountants for example around £4,000 more than the average for graduates in their first roles from other backgrounds. While studying, courses in these areas also have a much higher percentage of international and overseas students than other courses meaning those studying are exposed to cultures from all over the world. With the business market increasingly more international, this is a big advantage for students.

When deciding on your course of study, don’t pay attention to other people’s perceptions of your subject area. Each course is full of a wide range of people from different backgrounds, with varied abilities and interests bringing a new perspective to ideas.  Accountancy and Finance are the backbone of every business across the globe, from independent start-ups to major corporations, making it a highly desired degree when positions become available. Rather than perpetuating preconceptions, we should celebrate those with the passion and determination to study the subject they love.


Guest blogger – Daniel Yeo – Search Laboratory

Basic Guide to Becoming a Self-employed Student (Part 2)


Business Start-up Essentials – To do list

Imagining your idea actually coming into fruition is very exciting! What follows is, admittedly, less exciting but crucial to your success. These include your responsibilities as a self-employed student and some basic good business advice.

1. Name your business

A tricky and vital decision. Always bear in mind that you want people to know that you take your business seriously. Humour means that people may remember you for the wrong reasons. A double entendre may be hilarious to you but may not be appreciated by your customers. Keep it clear, easy to pronounce and something that adds confidence to your business idea. There are also some regulations around trading names that you will need to investigate before you go printing business cards.

2. Register with HMRC

As a self-employed person you become responsible for paying the tax on your earnings, otherwise known as income tax. It also means that you pay your own National Insurance Contributions and those of any employees. You are legally obliged to register during your first three months of trading.

National Insurance

As a self-employed person you will currently pay Class 2 and Class 4 National Insurance Contributions. This depends on what you earn and the amounts change every year. For the 2014-15 tax year, if you make more than £5,885 profit then you pay £2.75 per week in Class 2 NICs. Class 4 NICs apply if you have an annual profit between £7,956 and £41,865 then you pay 9% on that amount. Any profit over the latter figure is subject to a 2% payment.

There are also tax allowances and reliefs that you can claim that are specifically for the self-employed.

Tax Returns

You are also legally bound to submit a Self-Assessment Tax Return every year. There are different deadlines for this depending on whether you send your form online or in the post and there are fines for lateness. The actual payments of the tax you owe are usually made twice a year on 31st January and 31st July.

TOP TIP! Save 20% of your earnings as you go so you owe tax you have it there to pay.

3. Set up a business bank account

It is wise to keep business and personal affairs separate – at least financially! There are some good business banking deals available if you shop around and it will make it easier to track your business finances. You can also get tax relief on the cost of your banking fees.

4. Establish your record keeping system

You are responsible for recording all of your business’s expenses, bills, debts and sales. When it comes to accounts and book-keeping it is absolutely crucial that you are organised, accurate and entirely up-to-date. It’s not just about transparency for the tax office, it’s about business success. Keep your paperwork current, don’t put it off, there can be no ‘all-nighters’! All records should be kept for six tax years just in case HMRC ask for them.

5. Find out if you need to also register to pay Value Added Tax (V.A.T.)

If you make a certain level of turnover then you MUST register for and pay VAT. This amount changes with each tax year. For example, from April 2014, if your turnover reached £81,000 then you had to be VAT registered.

Whilst this sum may seem massive and faraway at the start of a business, you don’t know how quickly yours will grow. It is your responsibility to register within 30 days or there is a fine from HMRC.

Some business owners decide to register for VAT even before they reach the threshold. This can be because you can claim back VAT on certain business expenses and can lend credibility to your business. There is also a flat rate VAT scheme available. Your accountant will be able to advise you what is best for your business as you develop.

6. Construction Industry Scheme

If your business is within the construction industry as a sub-contractor or contractor then you need to register with the Construction Industry Scheme (C.I.S.).

7. Insure your business

Different types of business and trading have different legal insurance requirements. As a self-employed business you are responsible for ensuring that you are covered – “I didn’t know” is not an accepted defence and the fines are massive!

  • Professional Indemnity means that you are covered if a client sues you because they are unhappy with the business advice you gave or the service you provided.
  • Public Liability Insurance covers you for any injuries to 3rd parties or property damage that has been caused by your business.
  • If you have any employees that are not your family then you must have Employers Liability insurance for a minimum of £5 million and have this on display.
  • Depending on what you do you may need Contents, Stock and Materials or Vehicle Insurance.

This may all seem like the concerns of big businesses that are far removed from your fledgling business, but yours is just as legitimate and governed by the same laws. You might not need to know right now, but you may need to be organising this in 6 months’ time.


There is a great, free e-learning tutorial on HMRC’s website called ‘Starting Your Own Business’ LINK TO which can support you through this process.

It breaks everything down into modules that you can do at your own pace and repeat as often as you need to. It covers a range of subjects from registering with HMRC to how to do your Self-Assessment tax return online and everything in-between!


We hope this guide has helped break down the tax part of ‘becoming self-employed’. Take your idea, energy and enthusiasm and get building your very own business!

You can do it, just don’t ignore any aspect of your responsibilities, follow the regulations and get professional advice when you need it. 

Good luck!


This article was written by Tony Shanks Operations Director at

Basic Guide to Becoming a Self-employed Student (Part 1)


If ‘Dragon’s Den’ and ‘The Apprentice’ have taught us anything, it’s that enthusiasm plus a creative idea does not always equal a successful business! But for students, self-employment can be the best solution to the old funding problem. No more long hours for minimum pay and you can completely control of your own timetable of work and study.

You are in the most creative and truly collaborative social space of your life, so ideas are not the issue. But this needs to be combined with factual knowledge about the tax system and the laws around being officially self-employed. Rather a daunting prospect!

The sheer amount of available information is overwhelming in itself, never mind actually identifying the legitimate and useful.  So, we have put together this basic guide to prepare you to take your business from lightbulb moment to regular income.

Stuff you just need to know

The government department in charge of administering tax procedures is called Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, or HMRC to its friends. And you will become its friend.

HMRC has its own language that you need to start learning. It assigns very specific definitions and a whole host of regulations to particular words or phrases. So let’s get some of the basic vocabulary identified and if you have an accountant they can translate whatever else you need as you develop.

Your basic HMRC-English Dictionary


HMRC consider that you are a ‘trader’ if you frequently sell services or goods in order to make a profit and you fulfil any of these criteria:

  • Get paid for delivering a service
  • Sell things you have made for a profit
  • Sell items for other people on a commission basis
  • If you often sell at car boot sales, through classifieds or online. (This doesn’t mean the odd item or a batch of stuff once a year when you move flats.)

Sole Trader

This is the most uncomplicated way to set up as self-employed. As an individual you are responsible for the business.


A business partnership has similar rules to a sole trader but just has two or more people holding responsibility.

Limited Company

This is a more complex way to establish your business. The company becomes an entity in its own right and you become both its owner and employee. It is recommended to get in touch with an accountant if you’re thinking about this option.


This is when an existing business sells you the right to run one of its branches.


This is a different business model which involves multiple people who all have ownership and authority.

Self employed

Most student businesses are set up as sole traders or business partnerships. HMRC considers self-employment to mean:

  • You intend to make a profit by selling services or goods.
  • You have responsibility for how well your business does (or not!) because you run it yourself.
  • You have the freedom to choose where, when and how you do the work involved.
  • You have multiple clients simultaneously.
  • You have employees that you pay.
  • You are responsible for having any necessary equipment needed to complete the work.
  • Your charges are a fixed price that is agreed by each client.
  • You have the responsibility to correct any mistakes in your work at your own cost.

Many of these factors would be part of the definition of a limited company but, because you would then be classified as an employee and owner of the company, you would not be considered self-employed.

You can be both self-employed and employed at the same time. For example, you work in a café during the day and make jewellery to sell in the evening.

Have you found this article helpful? Join us next week for part 2! 


This article was written by Tony Shanks Operations Director at

Graduate Opportunity – Trainee Independent Financial Adviser

A fantastic opportunity has arisen with a new small financial planning business called David Allen Wealth Management Ltd. This business currently has 8 technical staff with admin support and is expanding. The business advises on Pensions, Investments, Life insurance, Mortgages etc.

They have an opportunity for a graduate to train as an Independent Financial Adviser.

Contact: for further details

What is a Financial Adviser?

Financial advisers provide clients with advice on financial matters, making recommendations on ways to best utilise their money. The role involves researching the marketplace and advising clients on products and services available, ensuring they are aware of and understand those that best meet their needs, and then securing a sale.

Advisers may specialise in particular products, depending on their clients, e.g. selling employee pension schemes to companies or offering mortgage, pension or investment advice to private clients. Others are generalists, offering advice to clients in all of these areas, plus savings plans and insurance.

What does an Independent Financial Adviser do?

There are two different types of financial adviser and advice, independent and restricted.

Independent advisers, also called independent financial advisers (IFAs), research and consider all retail investment products or providers available to meet the client’s needs. They must provide clients with unbiased and unrestricted advice.

Restricted advisers only offer restricted advice, focusing on a limited range of products or on products from one or a limited number of providers.

All advisers must inform their clients, before providing advice, whether they provide independent or restricted advice.

Tasks vary depending on the role but typically involve:

  • contacting clients and setting up meetings, either within an office environment or in clients’ homes or business premises;
  • conducting in-depth reviews of clients’ financial circumstances, current provision and future aims;
  • analysing information and preparing plans best suited to individual clients’ requirements;
  • completing risk analyses;
  • researching the marketplace and providing clients with information on new and existing products and services;
  • designing financial strategies;
  • assisting clients to make informed decisions;
  • researching information from various sources, including providers of financial products;
  • reviewing and responding to clients changing needs and financial circumstances;
  • promoting and selling financial products to meet given or negotiated sales targets;
  • negotiating with product suppliers for the best possible rates;
  • liaising with head office and financial services providers;
  • liaising with other professionals, such as estate agents, solicitors and valuers;
  • keeping up to date with financial products and legislation;
  • producing financial reports;
  • contacting clients with news of new financial products or changes to legislation that may affect their savings and investments;
  • meeting the regulatory aspects of the role, e.g. requirements for disclosure, costs of the services provided and also the advised products.

For more information on this opportunity, please contact

Get Minted, Not Mashed!

Get minted, not mashed at University

University can be a myriad of emotions: having to juggle work, study, a job, family – and that’s before I have even started talking about money!

A lot of students can find themselves in a bit of a sticky financial situation at Uni. Some have enough money but some simply can’t afford to pay the bills. I know all about being in that position, particularly in my first year of Uni. Now I am in my final year, I am much more financially stable. If you approach it in the right way, University can be a nice little earner.

Aside from all the obvious advice about not spending too much and keeping costs down, there are plenty of ways you can make money. One option could be to get a job as a student ambassador on campus. You show people round, you do a bit of office work, maybe do some phone calls. All easy ways of making money! Furthermore, the work is often quite ad-hoc and flexible: you just do the work when you are free.

Another plausible way of making money is tutoring students. The age of students you could tutor is vast: from primary school age to adults. University students are often in demand for this sort of job: they’re clever, have plenty of free time, are able to relate to younger people better and knowledge is still fresh in their mind. You could easily make £10-15 tutoring, sometimes more. There are loads of places you could advertise your services: on campus, the local library, or an online advert.

Proofreading other students’ essays by checking for basic grammar and spelling errors is a really good way of making money at University. In a time where grades are even more important, that little tweak or polish to an essay could really make a difference in the job market. I have been proofreading for the last couple of years and have made quite a lot of money doing this. You don’t need to be a brainbox; all you need to have is a decent grasp of English. The main students who need proofreading are non-native English speakers who sometimes struggle with the nuances and complexities of essay writing. You can charge per word or by the difficulty or topic of a piece: for example, you may charge more to proofread a final year essay compared to editing a first year one. You can add further capital to your rate if you are knowledgeable about what the essay is about; this means you can advise on content as well as the style and grammar of an essay.

Finally, another good way of making some money is by filling out paid surveys online. Ok, so some of them a scam, but there are some really good ones out there. It might not make you rich, but it is a nice little constant source of income. Plus, it is very easy work. There are plenty of reputable survey companies out there such as Pinecone Research (£3 per survey), Onepoll (quick and easy surveys, can make about £5 a week), Yougov (interesting surveys on topical issues, again you can make about £5 a week) and Opinion World (you can make roughly £10 a week).  The more survey companies you join, the more money you get. In addition, some survey companies offer some good referral schemes, so if you and a bunch of mates sign up you can make money off each other.

The ways I have suggested are just a few ideas to make money at University, they are only the tip of the iceberg. I know it is often repeated but EVERY PENNY COUNTS! Another thing to remember is that if you are always making money, even if it is only a little bit, it all adds up eventually. It might be hard at first, but if you put your mind to it there is definitely money to be made at Uni.

Written by Sam Curran.

Sam is currently offering his proofreading skills to University of Cumbria students. He has proofread professionally for the last 2 years and has edited dissertations, undergraduate essays, masters level work and non-native English speakers’ work.

Please email for details of cost and for more information.