Day in the Life of... Finance Student Placement

Read more about the average day of our Finance student placement

The Newcastle Building Society Finance department is split up into a number of different sections such as Treasury, Business Information, Balance Sheet Management and Reporting Operations.

During my placement I have primarily worked as part of the Payment Operations team, however I have also had the opportunity to support the Purchase Ledger in some of their daily responsibilities.

The Payment Operations team is a sub-team of the Reporting Operations department and is responsible for the movement of funds in and out of the society and through the branch network. The daily work within the section can be divided into three disciplines: Clearings and Bankings; Branch Network; and Statements and Journals.

As an Agency bank, Newcastle Building Society is responsible for clearing its own cheques. This daily task involves reconciling and agreeing the debit and credit clearing totals with the totals we receive each morning and following up any discrepancies in order for them to be rectified. As an Agency Bank, the Society is also responsible for sending its own electronic payments, and as a BACS Bureau, it also submits BACS files for processing on its and its clients behalf.

I am also required to assist the branch network on a daily basis by advising them on how to correct their tills if they do not balance, and by cancelling cheques and re-crediting customers’ accounts when necessary. I am also involved in updating customers’ accounts with credits received for them via the Society’s bank accounts. Although I do not deal with any external customers, I am expected to treat the branch staff in the same manner, ensuring I provide a professional, friendly service when dealing with them over the phone.

Furthermore, I am solely responsible for both the daily and monthly reconciliation of the subsidiary bank accounts. This involves reconciling the subsidiary company cashbooks against the transactions on the relevant bank accounts ensuring that all transactions have been dealt with. It is also a prerequisite to reconciling that part of the Society’s financial system which is ultimately used to create the Society’s management accounts.

I have also had the opportunity to attend regular project meetings which has allowed me to see involvement from different areas of the business and has given me a wider understanding of the company as a whole.

The role of the Purchase Ledger is to oversee, analyse and keep a record of the company’s spending. Some of the key responsibilities include administrating the payment of all external suppliers, producing KPI reports on late payments, analysing the transactions on the company credit card account and reconciling the petty cash.

I assist the Purchase Ledger by regularly checking the Accounts Payable mailbox for any outstanding suppliers that need to be set up in order for invoices to be processed and paid in a timely manner. I have also helped scan and file the invoices from the weekly BACS payment runs to ensure that the Society complies with audit requirements. In the future I will also be helping with the analysis of the company credit card to ensure that staff expenses are applied to the correct budget code and that all transactions have corresponding receipts.

The Finance Student Placement role gives me the freedom to conduct my own day and to manage my own time. I am trusted to prioritise the tasks and processes with strict time frames and to work other ad-hoc tasks around them. The opportunity to work as part of a busy, motivated team has given me a wider insight into the work of a typical Finance department and I have been offered the support needed to learn and develop my knowledge further. This will prove both invaluable to my final year of studies and to my future career in Finance.