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

By 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.

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