Opportunities for permanent roles in a range of business sectors

Head of Audit - Finance and Operational Excellence

AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide.

At AstraZeneca, we are united by a common purpose: to push the boundaries of science to deliver life-changing medicines. This purpose underpins everything we do. Our work helps to make hearts healthier, to help people breathe easier, and to help more people survive cancer. Every single day, we make a difference by delivering potentially life-changing medicines to millions of people worldwide and by leading breakthrough science that promises to transform the treatment of disease.


Our purpose is ambitious and so is our approach. Becoming a more agile and creative company means building a dynamic, inspiring culture where we celebrate diverse, bold thinking and act with a sense of urgency. We are courageous, taking risks and learning from both success and failure. We are curious, creative, and open to new ideas and ways of working. Above all, we are passionate about science and driven to always put patients first. Join us and be part of an extraordinary place to work; an environment that energizes and empowers each of us to achieve our goal to develop and deliver medicines.


As Head of Audit you will lead a top-performing IA function, known for our integrity, objectivity, confidentiality and competence - all underpinned by a high-performing team culture.


Internal Audit Services (IAS) is an independent and objective assurance activity guided by a philosophy of adding value to improve the operations of AZ, administered by the Finance Enabling Unit. IAS’s activity is established by the Audit Committee (Audit Co) on behalf of the AZ Board of Directors. IAS’s responsibilities are defined by the Audit Co as part of their oversight role.


IAS provides independent assurance that AZ is accomplishing its objectives effectively and in the right way. It assists AZ in accomplishing its objectives by bringing a systematic and disciplined approach to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of the organisation’s risk management, control and governance processes. Our remit is to provide assurance over compliance, operational and strategic risks and ensure they are being managed effectively.


AZ operates in a three lines of defence risk governance model, where IAS operates as the third line, providing assurance to the Audit Co over the business (first line) activities and business oversight functions (second line) activities.


Key accountabilities:


As Head of Audit you will build and maintain strong stakeholder relationships with the Finance FSMT members and their teams through an understanding of Business challenges and risks in Finance and our overall strategy:


Business perspective on AZ’s strategy, priorities and operating model, internal and external business processes and external risks and external practices (in the Pharma industry and elsewhere).

Audit strategies and methodologies for providing effective assurance against specific risks.

Accepted practice in governance, risk, project and change management and emerging risks on the horizon.

  • You will lead the Operational Excellence Team to provide oversight of Resource Planning, IAS Methodology, Budget and Reporting.
  • You will provide World Class reporting to the Audit Committee, including consolidation of 2nd line activities.
  • You will drive the IAS resource allocation/planning and budget to maximise efficiency.
  • You will build and maintain a view of internal and external risks across Finance to inform the IAS annual audit plan. Regularly challenge the plan to take into account the changing risk profile. Proactive working with other assurance groups to ensure an integrated approach to provision of assurance across the business.
  • Using external and internal networks you will understand current practice, methodologies and innovations in pharmaceutical auditing to identify improvement opportunities for AZ.
  • Using audit outcomes, understanding risk to generate impactful audit committee reports and to communicate insights on themes and emerging risks to the business. audit outcomes and understand of risk to generate impactful audit committee reports and to communicate insights on themes and emerging risks to the business.
  • You will design and implement the audit strategy for Finance, working with 2nd line assurance colleagues to ensure good alignment with their activities.
  • You will be accountable for the delivery of a small portfolio of audits across Finance. Lead teams of highly qualified and experienced auditors to identify strategies (including alternative audit approaches) to deliver the assurance objectives efficiently and in a timely manner. Drive high quality audit work in line with methodology through reviewing audit engagements, working papers and reports.
  • You will demonstrate flexible and open communication and influencing style and the ability to adapt this style to a variety of situations across the business. Deal effectively with resistance from business units and form effective ways of resolving issues or differing views.
  • You will provide leadership and coaching support to Audit Directors and Managers. Provide open, transparent and valuable feedback on the performance of audit team members in support of longer term development.
  • You will be accountable for performance management of nominated Audit Directors and Auditors.
  • You will actively participate in relevant governance committees (as required) and be responsible for presentation of audit results to relevant governance committees and senior management.
  • As a member of the IAS Senior Leadership Team (SLT), you will demonstrate the required leadership behaviours, to bring about continuous improvement for the function and be specifically accountable for delivering on elements of the scorecard. Demonstrate effective decision making to improve effectiveness and efficiency of the IAS function.
  • You will demonstrate model behaviours in personal and professional conduct, and adherence to methodology within IAS and externally to the business.


To be successful in this role we think the following experience is essential:

  • Wide range of business experiences at a senior level, line management, project management and change.
  • Track record of working effectively at a senior level.
  • Ability to analyse complex issues from a range of perspectives and form fine judgements around actions to be taken.
  • Ability to translate key audit findings into impactful insights and quality written reports.
  • Ability to remain calm and collected under pressure.
  • High personal integrity and an ability to take an independent perspective and be tenacious.
  • Ability to empathise with others and be diplomatic in response to contentious matters.
  • Ability to lead, manage and motivate a team across a range of locations, and with a wide range of backgrounds (business, finance and audit).
  • Ability to act as an ambassador for risk management, governance and control in the business, helping to promote the function to wider senior management and other staff.
  • Experienced in key internal control frameworks, world-class audit methodologies and practices.
  • Excellent written and verbal skills with fluent English (written and verbal)
  • Relevant university degree and/or post graduate professional qualification and/or relevant internal or external senior assurance role.