Commercial Finance Accountant

Gowling WLG
Birmingham, West Midlands
28 Feb 2018
29 Mar 2018
Role Classification
Other Professional
Contract Type

About Gowling WLG

Gowling WLG is an international law firm created by Gowlings, a leading Canadian law firm, and Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co (WLG), a leading UK-based international law firm. We built Gowling WLG to provide clients with legal services at home and around the world, and to help you succeed no matter how challenging the circumstances.

Gowling WLG clients have access to in-depth expertise in key global sectors along with a top-tier suite of legal services. With more than 1,400 legal professionals across offices in 18 cities worldwide and specialised expertise in countries around the globe, we’re positioned to help clients rise to the challenges they face – both today and tomorrow.

Main Purpose of the Job

To provide financial support and analysis to the Commercial Finance Manager and legal groups (including to partners, fee earners (FEs) and PAs) covering all aspects to drive financial performance and control from P&L to cash flow. 

Main Duties and Responsibilities

Performance Review and Analysis

  • Review (with Practice Leaders (PLs) and Team Leaders (TLs) where appropriate) and distribution of management accounts and month-end reports
  • Work with CFMs to analyse and identify opportunities to improve performance and work with the legal group(s) to develop clear plans to achieve these including the monitoring of delivery
  • Work with CFMs, CDs, PLs and TLs to produce rolling reforecasts to ensure an accurate assessment of business performance and a “no surprises” environment

Business Planning

  • Work with the Business Planning team, CFMs, CDs, PLs and TLs to prepare business plans, budgets and forecasts within the prescribed timetables
  • Work with CFMs to evaluate, challenge and build business cases to support key proposals (e.g. lateral hires, Partner and Director promotions, mergers and other strategic proposals) and ensure appropriate post-investment appraisal and monitoring.
  • Co-ordinate and be responsible for the input of the Groups’ budgets and forecasts

Financial Control & Reporting

  • WIP & billing management:
    • Work with the Groups' Practice Management Assistants (PMAs) and where appropriate attend and/or conduct review meetings with partners and FEs to ensure that there is a full understanding of the Groups' WIP position
    • Production and distribution of regular flash reports to monitor progress against billing and cash collection targets
  • Debt & cash collection:
    • To assist in reducing the working capital requirement of the Firm (by completing the above and other relevant procedures as appropriate)
  • Time Recording:
    • Preparation and distribution of time recording reports as appropriate
  • Monitoring of overhead expenditure against budget (e.g. travel, accommodation, entertaining, training, disbursements etc.)
  • Assist in co-ordinating the year-end WIP valuation process, and work with other members of the Finance team to provide appropriate support to the year-end accounts process
  • Ensure all central reporting deadlines are met (planning, budget, forecast, month-end, year-end)
  • To prepare monthly Firm-wide reporting on standard KPIs (e.g. Partner reports, sector reports, top clients etc.)

Business Development

  • Supporting CFM with profitability, financial evaluation and support for sales pitches and tenders, to include pricing, discount structures, commercial terms etc.
  • Profitability analysis of clients, sectors, business types, and working with CFMs and partners to identify options and recommendations to increase sales and profit margins
  • Working with CFMs and partners to maximise the value of client relationships (e.g. sales volume, pricing, discounts, annual fee rate increases, secondment reviews, client financial reporting, debt collection, contingent fees etc)
  • Ensure efficient and effective working with the Business Development team on the above where appropriate

Project Work

  • Supporting the CFM with any project based work (e.g. time recording, benchmarking or other strategic projects) as appropriate

Continuous Improvement

  • Actively search for, highlight and develop ideas for improvement across all aspects of the role


  • Supporting the CFM with any finance training delivered to non-finance staff as appropriate

Key skills and experience

Essential Requirements

  • ACA, ACCA or CIMA qualified
  • Professional, credible and confident in dealing appropriately with people at all levels
  • Strong financial and commercial acumen
  • Strong analytical and financial modelling skills
  • Advanced Excel

Desired Requirements

  • Previous experience of working in a law firm or professional services organisation
  • Use of, and familiarity with, IBM Cognos (or similar planning, budgeting and/or forecasting software tools)

Equal Opportunities

Gowling WLG is committed both to promoting equality and diversity in the firm and to Equal Opportunities in employment. The firm believes in equality of opportunity regardless of race or racial group (including colour, nationality, ethnicity, national origins), religion, caste or belief, age, disability, gender, gender identity, gender reassignment,  sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnerships, surrogacy, adoption and parental rights. This also includes any incidents of perceptive or associative discrimination and harassment.