What is a pension funds accountant and what do they do?

A pension funds accountant is responsible for managing a portfolio of clients’ pension schemes and is accountable for reporting on their activities. They usually work as part of a pensions fund accounting team and who will be responsible for delivering financial and technical accountancy advice for the pension funds.

Key responsibilities

Responsibilities will vary, but examples include:

  • Preparing pension scheme Trustee Report & Accounts for sign off
  • Reconciling investment transactions
  • Preparing all the necessary working papers, pension accounts & reconciliations of the financial statements, ensuring they are compliant for a client portfolio
  • Liaising with clients, auditors, account managers and investment managers
  • Preparing and completing self-assessment tax returns and statistical surveys
  • Producing interim financial accounts and analyses as required for the pension schemes
  • Ensuring the integrity of underlying financial transactions, as well as maintenance of portfolio scheme accounts
  • Assisting in the execution of treasury activities, and reviewing year-end accounts and supporting schedules
  • Keeping up to date with regulatory changes including relevant Accounting Standards, Client Money Regulations together with compliance

Why are they important?

The role is important to ensure all pension schemes comply with statutory reporting and trustee reports and accounts are signed off correctly.

Skills needed for this role

Experience should include a broad knowledge of accounting techniques and a strong understanding of different types of pension scheme investments. A high degree of numeracy is required, along with good organisational and planning skills and the ability to communicate effectively and concisely. Professional integrity is essential, as is the ability to create and maintain strong working relationships.

Strategic Professional Options examinations linked to this role

Advanced Financial Management

Career opportunities presented by this role

Progression from this role could lead to a more senior management position within an organisations (e.g. head of accounts) or to becoming an independent financial adviser (IFA).

Competencies

High level competencies required include:

  • Audit and assurance

    A. Advises on and communicates effectively the role and scope of audit and assurance engagements to relevant stakeholders.

    B. Applies regulatory, legal, professional and ethical standards relating to audit and assurance engagements.

    C. Plans and prepares for audit and assurance engagements.

    D. Performs effective audit, and assurance engagements.

    E. Reviews and reports on the findings of audit and assurance engagements.

    F. Guiding efficient and effective operations.

     

  • Corporate and business reporting

    A. Prepares financial statements, corporate financial and integrated reports for external stakeholders using appropriate technology.

    B. Leads effective decision making through analysing, evaluating and communicating performance and position of entities.

    C. Prepares financial statements for groups of entities using appropriate technologies.

    D. Monitors, critically evaluates, and advises on the relevant accounting standards, regulations, conceptual and financial reporting frameworks.

     

  • Financial management

    A. Links developments in global trade, markets, business practices and the economic environment to required improvements in the financial and risk management of an organisation.

    B. Advises on business asset valuations, capital projects and investments using appropriate analytical qualitative and quantitative techniques.

    C. Identifies, evaluates and advises on alternative sources of business finance and different ways of raising finance.

    D. Communicates and advises on the impact on financial decision making on current developments in regulation, governance and ethics.

    E. Assesses and advises on appropriate strategies to manage business and organisational performance regarding business and finance risk and effectively communicates the impact.

  • Governance, risk and control

    A. Evaluates organisational structures and governance to protect the long-term interests of stakeholders.

    B. Recommends appropriate strategies to ensure adherence to governance structures and application of best practice internal controls.

    C. Identifies and manages risk appropriately.

    D. Uses risk management for the best interests of an organisation and its stakeholders.

    E. Monitors and applies relevant legislation, policies and procedures.