Finance Business Partner

Aircraft Research Association (ARA) is a unique SME and the UK’s leading independent transonic wind tunnel with a passionate workforce of engineering and aerodynamic professionals. We are a leading specialist in aerodynamic research providing complementary services and solutions to international aerospace and defence clients. Our clients include Saab, Bombardier, Boeing, Turkish Aerospace, Lockheed Martin, Airbus, Comac and BAE Systems.

Typical projects include producing scaled-down military and civilian aircraft models, comprising multiple parts, which are assembled together and used as highly accurate forces/pressures measuring devices within the on-site high-speed (transonic) wind tunnel.


ARA is the UK’s leading independent transonic wind tunnel and we have a new opportunity for an experienced Finance Business Partner to be responsible for providing overall support to the Head of Finance and IT in ensuring business needs are met.

Reporting to the Head of Finance and IT, this role will play a key part in providing the existing finance area with more resilience and drive the strategic direction of the business. The ideal candidate must be able to adapt quickly to changing requirements or priorities and where necessary divert to assist with key projects.  We are looking for a flexible individual who has a strong business partnering experience and who is a team player with excellent analytical and problem solving skills and who is confident in dealing with people.

Salary Range: Competitive

Grade: 3

Location: Bedford

Typical hours: Full time, 38 hours per week – we offer a range of flexible working arrangements, please speak to us about your different options.

What you will get the chance to do:

  • Provide regular reporting to key stakeholders on financial and operational performance across areas including: internal and external customer projects; overhead budgets and capital expenditure.
  • Ensure that the financial performance, including key opportunities and risks, of major contracts and programmes is understood and reported accurately.
  • Provide analysis, guidance and management insights to enable effective financial control and governance
  • Provide robust challenge and support to investment and transformation programmes to ensure that maximum value is obtained.
  • Support the generation, review and agreement of the Integrated Business Plan (IBP), our rolling 5-year strategic planning process.
  • Assist the Head of Finance & IT with ad hoc reporting and other tasks as required.


What we would like to see:

  • Professionally qualified accountant (ACA, ACCA, CIMA)
  • Project Accounting experience ideally in an engineering or similar project based environment
  • Advanced excel knowledge including modelling and forecasting, is essential for this role.
  • Experience of working in a similar role at a senior level is desirable.
  • Knowledge of SAP B1 would be advantageous.
  • Commercially minded with a deep business understanding.
  • Strong analytical and communication skills.

This is an exciting opportunity for the right person to be part of a successful and highly skilled engineering company.  In return, we offer a range of benefits including: a competitive salary and pension scheme; flexible working; free parking; employee assistance programme; private health insurance and 26 days’ annual leave plus Bank Holidays (increasing with length of service after 5 years’ service)


The successful candidate must satisfy security clearance requirements – including the last 5 years continual UK residency.

Aircraft Research Association Ltd is proud to be an Equal Opportunities Employer. We recognise the value in an inclusive and diverse workforce and we welcome applications from all suitably qualified people.

If you think you are the person we are looking for, please complete the form below.


Contact us

Aircraft Research Association Limited

Manton Lane, Bedford, England MK41 7PF

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