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Financial Controls Innovation Lead

Job ID: R-16330 Category: Finance Location: London, England Date posted: 06/09/2021
A man sits by a Unilever logo A smiling girl wears a pink hard hat and holds up Unilever products

Financial Controls Innovation Lead

Scope: Global

Reports to: Risk and Controls Director, Group Chief Accountant’s Department

Business Context:

Unilever is a business founded in 1890s with a strong belief in social purpose, and our unique heritage still shapes the way we do business today.

We are one of the world's leading consumer goods companies, making and selling around 400 brands in more than 190 countries. Unilever is in 2020 a €51 billion euro revenue company with a global presence across Europe, Americas and Asia/AMET/RUB. Over 2.5 billion people use our products to feel good, stay healthy and make their lives easier. That's about a third of the global population choosing from household names such as Lipton, Knorr, Dove and Hellmann's, and local brands like Bango in Indonesia and Suave in the US.

Unilever’s Purpose is to make sustainable living commonplace, and this is underpinned by The Unilever Compass: Purpose-Led, Future-Fit is our new, single growth strategy based on three beliefs; Brands with purpose grow, Companies with purpose last, People with purpose thrive. Our vision is to be the global leader in sustainable business. We will demonstrate how our purpose-led, future-fit business model drives superior performance, consistently delivering financial results in the top third of our industry.

GCAD is the Group Chief Accountant’s Department, responsible for accounting and controls activities for the group and acts as a centre of accounting expertise and excellence.  We are looking to build a dedicated controls expertise team within GCAD to support the group’s internal financial controls assessment, including compliance with Sarbanes Oxley regulations.

Main Job Purpose:

The purpose of the role is to act as an in-house expert on financial controls and Sarbox, bringing knowledge of the regulatory environment and audit standards. The candidate will build strong relationships with our external auditors, partnering with them to agree how changes to regulations will be applied and to translate this into implications for Unilever’s control environment. They will also understand audit approaches and how audit approaches are changing through the use of digital and analytical tools.

A key deliverable for the role is to lead the ongoing review and continuous improvement of Unilever’s existing Controls Framework. This includes proposing improvement initiatives to streamline control operation, redesigned controls where appropriate and leading the implementation of new controls within the business.

The role is also responsible for the development of a longer-term vision of the overall controls framework, including extending the scope of the framework to include expertise areas such as tax and pensions. This also includes evaluation of potential technology solutions and automation to enhance the control operating model.

The candidate will partner with key business transformation projects to ensure controls are appropriately designed and operated by third party service providers. They will also develop risk and control matrices for unusual or complex transactions such as acquisitions and disposals and for new business models such as e-commerce platforms. 


  • Qualified Chartered Accountant or other relevant professional qualification

  • SOX audit experience or previous controls experience in a SOX scope company

  • Experience in advisory or audit for a major accounting firm

  • Experience of delivering control design projects for major clients/listed companies

  • Experience of managing complex, multi-stakeholder change projects

  • Risk management experience within a large organisation

  • Strong knowledge of SAP and core business transactional processes

  • Strong communication and influencing skills, bringing the ability to explain technical concepts to a wider business audience

  • Experience and awareness of working in multicultural and multilocation teams

Key Stakeholders

  • Group Chief Accountant and GCAD Leadership Team

  • External auditors

  • Corporate audit team

  • Controls Service Centre (managing day to day operation of controls)

  • Business Process Owners

  • Finance Expertise Teams (Tax, Pensions etc)

  • Consulting/expertise partners

  • Project teams for business transformation

Diversity & Inclusion

While we have an idea of the experience required to succeed in this role, we have no pre-requisites.

Diversity at Unilever is about inclusion, embracing differences, creating possibilities, and growing together for better business performance. We embrace diversity in our workforce. This means giving full and fair consideration to all applicants and continuing development of all employees regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership, and pregnancy and maternity

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