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What’s it like to work in the Dept of Finance?

longshanks 9 March 2012 26

It’s funny how different APS agencies have their own little idiosyncrasies.

I’ve experienced a few of them, but am possibly moving to a new job at the Dept of Finance, and would be interested to know what to expect?

So, what’s it like?


What’s Your opinion?


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26 Responses to
What’s it like to work in the Dept of Finance?
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LSWCHP 10:13 pm 17 Aug 12

This isn’t really relevant, but I have to get it off my chest.

My one and only brief stint in the APS was at Finance a long time ago, and it was crap. I have never been back, and I have no regrets about that.

As a junior staff member, I was repeatedly lied to and exploited by the people (or rather, stupid sharks in suits) further up the food chain from me. If ever there was a bunch of incompetent arsehats and clowns in nice clothes who exemplified the operation of the Peter Principle, they were it. Were I to meet one of them now and discover that his brain was on fire, I wouldn’t piss in his ear.

I regularly look back and wonder how such dimwitted fools could ever have been placed in the positions of responsibility that they had achieved, but which they so spectacularly failed to fulfill.

The worst choice I’ve ever made in my entire professional career was to work at the Commonwealth Department of Finance. My best career choice was to leave it.

chilli 7:00 pm 17 Aug 12

Ben_Dover said :

What’s it like to work in the Dept of Finance?

Take 2 ltr milk, pour into a glass container.
Set on a table.
Pull up chair.
Without moving away or averting gaze, watch milk until it curdles.
Repeat for the rest of your life.

Ben-dover, you’ve a clear gift for career counselling!

SusanV 5:36 pm 17 Aug 12

On the large corporation side, it really depends what specific role you have. i’m in the finance department of a BB, and i’m in a planning & analysis role, so that means i’m doing revenue and expense analysis and forecasts, budgeting, things like that. however, friends of mine who came in through the same finance program are doing things as varied as hr-related work, capital management, trading p&l, etc. no straight accounting though – that’s a separate department, at least around here.
Susan from Britain Loans

EvanJames 12:40 pm 13 Mar 12

astrojax said :

i believe you get to wear a blue starched shirt with your suit and tie on mufti fridays – wow, rock out doods! 🙂

Yeah, the uniform there was black suits for the boys and girls. Some daring chaps might have a stripe or graph pattern on their white shirts. It’s a serious-minded department, no daily fashion parade like DFAT.

astrojax 12:24 pm 13 Mar 12

i believe you get to wear a blue starched shirt with your suit and tie on mufti fridays – wow, rock out doods! 🙂

EvanJames 11:32 am 13 Mar 12

Gungahlin Al said :

Always found it intriguing that the department charged with controlling everyone else’s spending manage to pay themselves near the highest salaries of the entire APS…

Finance were the first department to obey every behest of the new Howard government. Outsource everything that wasn’t nailed down, and do AWAs with the entire department. So they all got AWAs, and in return for higher pay rates, gave away overtime, flex and every other add-on. This was incredibly stupid of them, as Finance is notorious for the workers having to pull serial all-nighters in the lead up to the budget. And in the last decade, that lead up has blown out ot 6 months. So, no overtime, no flex, no nothing. They did implement TOIL, badly, with a supervisor needing to agree to it being recorded.

Finance had, and possibly still has, a bad bullying culture and resultant high staff turnover. In the mid noughties, they paid for a consultant to assess why they had such a high turnover. The findings were as I’ve outlined above… poor working conditions, poor managment and supervisors, bullying being fairly rife (a fish rots from the head, I wonder how PM&C are doing?), but to effectively tackle a bullying culture you need committment from.. the bullying culture.

They also had fairly poor relations with the other departments, resulting in things like requested work being submitted to Finance at 5pm on a Friday, meaning the peons had to work all weekend.

However, Finance also has a fairly healthy and serious attitude to public money and the way in which it is spent. Since Finance have taken over managing the admin of the parliamentarians, you see real tightening of the various entitlements pollies enjoy… Finance does this very well. there is a very clear sense of role and purpose at that department (especiallly in Budget Group), and if you can finegle yourself into an area with a good boss, I’d regard it as one of the better agencies in the APS. There’s a lot of talent there, and the standards are high.

LurkingMarsupial 7:40 am 13 Mar 12

HenryBG said :

On the other hand, there are virtually no hot chicks in finance – you have to go to DFAT for that (or SEWPAC if you like them younger and more informal).

HenryBG, are you trolling, or neanderthal? If you don’t want to sound creepy and pathetic, keep it in your pants, here as much as in the Real World.

Rusalka 12:02 am 11 Mar 12

HenryBG said :

On the other hand, there are virtually no hot chicks in finance – you have to go to DFAT for that (or SEWPAC if you like them younger and more informal).

Or Questy across the road if you like hot uni students.

HenryBG 10:31 pm 10 Mar 12

The_Bulldog said :

My experience supports the view that Finance is certainly more “professional” than most Departments. This professionalism is reflected in dress and presentation, attention to detail, core competencies and the applications of the Work Level Standards,

Yes. And because of that, it’s a great place to work.

On the other hand, there are virtually no hot chicks in finance – you have to go to DFAT for that (or SEWPAC if you like them younger and more informal).

Spykler 10:53 am 10 Mar 12

Worked there about 5 years ago. The work was interesting and the original boss I had was brilliant and was considered a rising star- he of course left and was replaced by one of Satan’s minions..12 people jumped ship in the next 2 months from a team of 18 due to the new boss being the most barbaric bully I have ever worked for…I still bump into old workmates from those days and the topic still revolves around how bad that replacement team leader was..

Gungahlin Al 9:24 am 10 Mar 12

Always found it intriguing that the department charged with controlling everyone else’s spending manage to pay themselves near the highest salaries of the entire APS…

gladbag 10:59 pm 09 Mar 12

I was going to say it is generally more professional than other agencies, however, you will need to perform many administrative tasks in three different manners to achieve the same results in order to tick all the boxes for the many guidelines you will need to follow. I have found it more gentle than other agencies with not too many back knives flying around, with staff being fairly respectful of one another. But then I read Ben_Dover’s description regarding the curdled milk, and realised he had my job description down pat. Now I am severely depressed and need another large bottle of something strong….

Duffbowl 2:49 pm 09 Mar 12

angrymotorist1 said :

PoQ said :

Of course, for some outside perspective (if a little old) one look at the comparision at

http://canberra-it-survey.blogspot.com.au

The departmental rankings are at the bottom…

Finance probably ranks quite well with contractors, as they don’t seem to have any problems with keeping high paid contractors doing day to day tasks for periods of 5 – 10 years or more…

Which is exactly why the gubmint went down the path of using contractors, right?

Wait, what?

angrymotorist1 2:36 pm 09 Mar 12

PoQ said :

Of course, for some outside perspective (if a little old) one look at the comparision at

http://canberra-it-survey.blogspot.com.au

The departmental rankings are at the bottom…

Finance probably ranks quite well with contractors, as they don’t seem to have any problems with keeping high paid contractors doing day to day tasks for periods of 5 – 10 years or more…

PoQ 2:03 pm 09 Mar 12

Of course, for some outside perspective (if a little old) one look at the comparision at

http://canberra-it-survey.blogspot.com.au

The departmental rankings are at the bottom…

Zan 1:19 pm 09 Mar 12

Boxhead said :

Zan said :

It really depends on what level you are moving to, which Branch/Division. But surely you don’t expect an honest answer on an open forum, do you? After all, Canberra is a small town and it takes only a couple of grey cells to work out nicknames.

Zan, you’re right, your name is a dead giveaway. I only used one grey cell to work out that you’re … ummm … Zan! That’s it. Let me think of some Zans I know … Zan Rowe from Triple J! You’re her! You’re Zan Rowe from Triple J!

Some more grey cells are needed.

Diggety 12:38 pm 09 Mar 12

devils_advocate said :

angrymotorist1 said :

That’s my honest opinion from personal experience.

Regards,
Angry Motorist

While I don’t dispute anything you say, that description could apply to the public service as a hole.

Spot on.

The_Bulldog 12:28 pm 09 Mar 12

I spent four years at Finance, and all but six months was fantastic. I’ve also worked in several other C’wealth agencies, as well as having spent a number of years in the private sector. I’ve been out for a couple of years now, but my views remain that Finance is generally a positive environment – notwithstanding a couple of the “encalves” and a moniroty of disgraceful leaders – but these are to be found in most organisations.

My experience supports the view that Finance is certainly more “professional” than most Departments. This professionalism is reflected in dress and presentation, attention to detail, core competencies and the applications of the Work Level Standards, as well as the expectations of staff to deliver and the fostering of a collegiate work-place (generally). I would add that all of this applies to those outside of the Parliamentary entitlements area – which seems to be a law unto itself. Not saying it’s better or worse – just different.

There are some wonderful individuals and leaders in Finance, but there are also some cancerous personalities who will drag down everyone they perceive as a threat. As I said previously though – this is to be found everywhere.

loosebrown 12:22 pm 09 Mar 12

Boxhead said :

Zan said :

It really depends on what level you are moving to, which Branch/Division. But surely you don’t expect an honest answer on an open forum, do you? After all, Canberra is a small town and it takes only a couple of grey cells to work out nicknames.

Zan, you’re right, your name is a dead giveaway. I only used one grey cell to work out that you’re … ummm … Zan! That’s it. Let me think of some Zans I know … Zan Rowe from Triple J! You’re her! You’re Zan Rowe from Triple J!

ABSOLUTE GOLD

Ben_Dover 11:46 am 09 Mar 12

What’s it like to work in the Dept of Finance?

Take 2 ltr milk, pour into a glass container.
Set on a table.
Pull up chair.
Without moving away or averting gaze, watch milk until it curdles.
Repeat for the rest of your life.

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