National Remuneration Centre
ABN: 76 713 910 261
Level 14, 227 Collins St
Melbourne Vic 3000
www.natrem.com.au

Job Evaluating a Position Description

Frequently, a job is to be evaluated where the only information provided is a position description.

Job evaluation systems examine various aspects of a job and rate the job on a progressive scale within each aspect. The particular job aspects examined by a system are called the system's 'factors'. The job description may not be written in a way that addresses the factors of the system being used, or it may not address the levels in the progressive scale defined for those factors. In those cases, careful examination of the description's wording may permit reasonable assumptions to be made as to which are the relevant factors and levels. This paper examines a sample job description to illustrate a technique for translating a description in terms of a job evaluation system.

For this exercise consider the job evaluation system Jobscore® which examines eighteen aspects of a job. They are:

Education Level
Communication SkillsWritten Communication Skills
Speaking & Listening Skills
Specialist SkillsNumeracy
Computer Usage
Artistic
Physical
Care (in the welfare sense)
Law & Legislative Procedures
Resource Management SkillsResearch, Analysis and Information
Financial
Human
Functional Breadth
Proficiency
Problem Solving
AccountabilityCapital Assets
Client Service
Impact

Jobscore is a registered trademark of National Remuneration Centre, Melbourne.

Before proceeding to the analysis we have developed for the sample job description following, you may get most benefit from this exercise by first attempting to conduct your own assessment of that description's contents by assigning a level for each Jobscore factor. Note your factor level assessments on the above table. For a definition of the factors and their levels, refer the Jobscore Manual at www.natrem.com.au/js4/manual .

Example. Taken as a publicly available document from the Victorian Government website www.business.vic.gov.au on 13 July 2012.

Example Job Description

Job Title:
Accounts Payable & Receivable
Reporting To:
Managing Director
Performance Review Period:
6 months
 
Relationships
 
With
Purpose
Managing Director
Provide financial support
Sales Manager
Checking customer remittances, new product files, send out invoice
Production Manager
Checking employee time cards, purchasing requirements, stock take
 
Purpose of the position
 

The role of accounts is a support and reporting function with specific statutory and management accounting functions. The overall financial health of the business is supported from this area through the delivery of effective accounts receivable and payable services to the business. The role is to be performed with high standards of service to external and internal customers.

 
Responsibilities
 
Responsibility 1
Report to managing director on:
 Monthly cash flows, including debtor and creditor positions
 Monthly Profit and Loss, Balance Sheet.
Authority Level – Monthly as required. Including debtors and creditors
Measurement - Reports, cash flow
 
Responsibility 2
Effectively manage the accounts payable function:
 Ensure paperwork is entered in a timely manner – including purchase orders.
 Ensure major creditor accounts are reconciled and that payment is made according to these reconciliations.
 Ensure payments are allocated in a timely manner to facilitate bank reconciliation
 Identify any time consuming bottlenecks and recommend improvement processes.
Authority Level – Within budget and cash flow restraints. Agree guiding policy with Managing Director.
Measurement - Accounts payable ageing, Performance Review
 
Responsibility 3
Effectively manage the payroll function:
 Ensure paperwork and timesheets are entered in a timely manner.
 Ensure wages, salaries are all paid on time.
 Ensure superannuation and payroll tax (if applicable) paid on time.
 Ensure group income tax is paid on time.
 Maintain annual leave and personal/carers leave records.
Authority Level – Overtime approved.
Measurement - Financial reports, Performance Review.
 
Responsibility 4
Effectively manage accounts receivable function:
 Maintain a collection process to continually improve aged debtors.
 Maintain finance process to facilitate timely payment.
 Maintain an ongoing review of customer credit limits
Authority Level – Agreed financial benchmarks for aged debtors; accounts contacted directly.
Measurement - Aged debtors, Performance Review.
 
Responsibility 5
Manage stock take reporting.
Authority Level – Report on financial performance within one week of stock take.
Measurement - Stock take result.
 
Employee Signature__________________________________________Date________________
 
Manager Signature___________________________________________Date________________

Analysis

The procedure we will use is to identify words in the description that we can align with factors and their levels in the job evaluation system. Where a specific match cannot be found, we make assumptions based on what the wording and those factors that we could match may imply.

Firstly, we try to get a general feel for the overall character of the job. This also helps us position the job in the framework of other jobs with which we are familiar (see www.natrem.com.au/expert-evaluation). From the job title "Accounts Payable & Receivable", we can assume that the position forms part of the organisation's finance and accounting function. We do not however know the position's level of seniority; it could be an operative without subordinates, it could be a supervisor, or it could be responsible for a significant accounts payable and receivable department with accounts worth many, many millions of dollars.

From the "Reporting To: Managing Director" we may assume that the organisation is quite small, otherwise it would at least be the organisation's accountant that reports to the MD. We assume therefore that the organisation does not employ an in-house accountant. An outside possibility however, is that this position is the organisation's in-house accountant, and if not, it could, as a minimum, require an incumbent with some accounting qualifications.

The position appears very much a 'hands-on' role. Several manual activities are indicated, such as sending out invoices, checking customer remittances, contacting accounts directly, checking employee time cards, maintaining leave records, and ensuring paperwork are entered. There is no indication of any planning responsibility.

Two significant unknowns are therefore highlighted: the formal training required to perform the position, and whether the position has any subordinates. Nowhere are subordinates mentioned, hence we assume that there is none, and conclude that the incumbent performs all listed duties.

As a rule, where there is uncertainty about a factor, assume the minimum level for the factor until other evidence suggests otherwise.

Jobscore Factor Impact

Reporting directly to the head of the organisation implies that the position's activities have a material influence on the organisation. The factor Impact measures this aspect of the job. The position's degree of significance, indicated by its reporting relationship, suggests Level 5 in that factor. If the position takes no actionable part in the organisation's decision-making processes, but is solely a provider of information or analyses into those processes, then the impact level is reduced to Level 4, or 3 - purely advisory roles. (Refer www.natrem.com.au/js4/manual for definitions of the Jobscore factors and levels.)

As we progress, we summarise our analysis in Jobscore terms. To do this, we construct a table that takes selected text from the job description and identifies it with one or more Jobscore factors and a level or possible range of levels in those factors. So for the factor Impact, we record a range of possible Levels, 3 to 5, and further analysis of the description may allow us to select the level with more precision.

PD SectionPD WordingJobscore FactorFactor Level
Reporting ToManaging DirectorImpact3-5

Functional Breadth

Functional Breadth measures the nature of the organisation structure under the position's authority. In the Jobscore definition of organisational units, Finance, production/service delivery and sales/marketing are 'major' or primary functions. Minor, or support, functions include for example information systems and human resources management.

Reporting directly to the MD, we assume that the position is the most senior Finance position in the organisation. With no reference to taxation, treasury or auditing by the position the organisation's Finance function appears 'incomplete' in Jobscore terms. There appears to be no 'structure' to this Finance section, it being conducted in its entirety by this position. The position does require specialised skills, primarily in accounts and payroll, but with no subordinates assumed, the Functional Breadth is limited to Level 3. (Defined in Jobscore as a specialist without subordinates.)

Accountability for Capital Assets

Accountability for Capital Assets records the accountability that a position has for the effective stewardship of an organisation's capital assets. A dimension of this Factor measures how critical the asset is to the business. Two degrees of accountability are also recognised, a primary accountability where the position is entrusted with the competent management of the asset, and a shared accountability where other parts of the organisation contribute to its effective management. A simple example of a shared accountability is between the operation and the maintenance of a piece of machinery; one ensures its ongoing output, the other its ongoing working order.

If the position is the organisation's chief financial officer then Accountability for Assets would be classified as 'Significant' (the organisation's finances are a significant asset). While the position we are examining has a substantive reporting and monitoring role for primarily financial aspects of the organisation's assets, we assume however there would likely be greater financial accountability, regarding for example capital expenditure analysis and decision making, by others in the organisation's management team; especially by the MD who is in frequent receipt of status reports. Furthermore, as noted previously this position has no treasury, taxation or audit responsibility. We therefore select a level below 'Significant', such as 'Important' or 'Material', and because of the assumed oversight, we nominate the responsibility level as 'Shared'. This gives us either Level 4 or Level 6 for this factor.

Summarising further we have:

PD SectionPD WordingJobscore FactorFactor Level
Reporting ToManaging DirectorImpact3-5
Job TitleAccounts Payable & ReceivableFunctional Breadth3
Purpose of the positionoverall financial health of the business is supported from this area Accountability for Assets4 or 6

Human Resources Management and Application of Law and Legislative Procedures

What about the factor Human Resources Management? Nowhere does the description indicate specifically that the position manages staff and nothing in the text leads us to believe that it does. The position is responsible for payroll; however, payroll is an administrative activity not a people management activity. From these two observations, we can record HR Management at Level 1, and for the purely payroll administration, Application of Law and Legislative Procedures at Level 2 (because of its substantially procedural nature).

This progresses us to:

PD SectionPD WordingJobscore FactorFactor Level
Reporting ToManaging DirectorImpact3-5
Job TitleAccounts Payable & ReceivableFunctional Breadth3
Purpose of the positionoverall financial health of the business is supported from this area Accountability for Assets4 or 6
VoidVoidHuman Resources1
Responsibility 3Effectively manage the payroll function Application of Law and Legislative Procedures2

Communication Skills: Written; Speaking and Listening.

The position is not presented as one that is highly reliant upon effective verbal interaction; its focus appears to be concentrated on the handling of data and the production of documents. Reports are produced, but we do not know the extent to which the reports required are written analyses or are substantially computer generated items. Spoken interactions with those both within and outside the organisation may be limited to the exchange of information, suggesting Level 4 for Speaking and Listening Skills. Note that the only reference to direct contact with (external) account holders in given under "Authority Level" in Responsibility 4. In the overall suite of duties for the position, this external contact is only one part of and not the primary function of the role. If it were, such as for a debt collector, then the Speaking and Listening skill Level could be elevated to Level 5. The technical and other material associated with the systems managed suggest that Written Communication Skills be at Level 5.

Computer Usage

The emphasis on record keeping and report generation suggests fluent use of related computer systems, and warrants Computer Usage Skill at Level 5.

Numeracy

The position is one that deals with numbers. The analysis of the numerical material may however be done using standardised or customised software. If this were the case regarding the analysis, then Numeracy Level 3 would suffice. If it were much more then Level 4 would be appropriate, however more detailed interpretation of the numbers may rest with the MD or other management positions, such as in Sales and Production.

Research, Analysis and Information Management

Closely aligned with the Numeracy skills required by this position is the analysis of information. If, as we determined for Numeracy, the analysis were standardised, using automated pre-formatted reporting etc, then Level 4 would apply.

Artistic, Physical, and Care Skills

The nature of the position is not one that requires specific artistic skills to be exhibited; neither do its activities suggest a greater physical skill or exertion than normal for an administrative position. The position is not required to undertake any activities that constitute the direction of or the provision of compassionate services. Appropriately then, Level 1 is accorded these three factors.

Our position is now as follows:

PD SectionPD WordingJobscore FactorFactor Level
Reporting ToManaging DirectorImpact3-5
Job TitleAccounts Payable & ReceivableFunctional Breadth3
Purpose of the positionoverall financial health of the business is supported from this area Accountability for Assets4 or 6
VoidVoidHuman Resources1
Responsibility 3Effectively manage the payroll function Application of Law and Legislative Procedures2
Responsibility 1,2,3,4,5Financial reports, payroll, stock take reporting Written Communication5
Speaking & Listening4
Computer Usage5
Numeracy3
Research3
VoidVoidArtistic Skill1
VoidVoidPhysical Skill1
VoidVoidCare1

Financial Resources Management

An organisation's Finance and Accounting function can include Financial Accounting, Management Accounting, Treasury, Taxation, and Auditing. In the "Purpose of the Position" statement, the position is stated to have "specific statutory and management accounting functions". The activities of this position are substantially Financial Accounting (statutory) while the management accounting aspects are addressed by the production of various reports such as: debtor and creditor position (Responsibility 1), and Accounts payable ageing (Responsibility 2).

Responsibility 2 states "Authority Level - Within budget and cash flow constraints." However, no clue is given as to the nature, purpose or size of this budget. In addition, there is no Treasury, Taxation or Auditing function, and we will assume these latter three are services supplied by external providers.

Responsibility 1 states that the position is required to prepare cash flow position statements, the Profit and Loss Statement, and the Balance Sheet. If the position is to do more than produce these reports as a purely mechanical exercise then the Financial Resources Management Skill might warrant Level 5. However, there is no evidence that this position does any analytical work regarding these reports. There is also no indication of the position doing more than merely working within an agreed budget, investing funds, or having an expenditure authority. These limitations require us to select Level 2 for Financial Resources Management.

We may assume further that the interpretation of legislation is provided to the position by external providers, thereby keeping the Law & Legislative Procedures Factor at Level 2.

Problem Solving

Much hinges on the extent to which the position is required to provide interpretive comment on the reports produced, and, possibly, whether the position designs the analysis generated by the reports. The alternative is that the reports are pre-formatted, automated outputs with no further commentary or analysis by this role. No wording in the description allows us to assume the former. Because of the range of activities of the position - payroll, accounts, and stock take - the Problem Solving suggested is Level 4. It is definitely more than Level 3, which is semi-routine, but not as much as Level 5, which would indicate a substantially problem-solving job, rather than this primarily operational role. Even if we consider the Responsibility 2 item "identify bottlenecks and recommend improvement processes", this may well be more in the nature of adjustments to administrative routines, rather than more significant system changes such as recommendations for computerisation of certain activities.

Adding Financial Resources Management and Problem Solving gives us:

PD SectionPD WordingJobscore FactorFactor Level
Reporting ToManaging DirectorImpact3-5
Job TitleAccounts Payable & ReceivableFunctional Breadth3
Purpose of the positionoverall financial health of the business is supported from this area Accountability for Assets4 or 6
VoidVoidHuman Resources1
Responsibility 3Effectively manage the payroll function Application of Law and Legislative Procedures2
Responsibility 1,2,3,4,5Financial reports, payroll, stock take reporting Written Communication5
Speaking & Listening4
Computer Usage5
Numeracy3
Research3
VoidVoidArtistic Skill1
VoidVoidPhysical Skill1
VoidVoidCare1
Purpose of the Positionspecific statutory and management accounting functions Financial Resources2
Responsibility 1,2,3,4,5payroll, accounts, stock take Problem Solving4

Proficiency

Purpose of the position states, "The role is to be performed with high standards of service to external and internal customers", and "delivery of effective accounts receivable and payable services to the business". The business's reliance on the work of the position would demand that it be performed at a well-experienced and competent level. The minimum Proficiency Level would be 4, and potentially Level 5.

Education Level

Nowhere in the description do we have any indication of the formal qualifications or training required for the position. We do not know if the position is required to be a qualified accountant or not. We have no indication of the size of the organisation in revenue or assets terms. However, as stated earlier, we can assume that the organisation is relatively small because the position reports direct to the MD. There is no reference to any higher level Finance position in the organisation; if there were then this position would very likely report to such a position.

The range of activities to be performed by the role, and the importance of its work in the context of the organisation's activities, and assuming no higher-level finance role in the organisation, suggests that the position would require some level of training in accounting. Without an indication of any interpretative analysis of the reports produced by the role then a certificate level training would suffice, Education Level 5 (Associate diploma requiring one to two years full-time study for attainment). If analytical interpretation were required, then more like the position would require a degree with accounting major - Level 7.

Accountability for Client Service

The focus of the position's activities is primarily internal to the organisation - internal management reports, payroll, and stock take. Any external focus is purely through the sending put of invoices and the payment of bills. The stock taking activity is likely to be an examination of records rather than any physical examination of the organisation's plant, equipment or warehoused product. Based on an Education Level 5 assessment we would select Level 7 (Advanced Clerical - Internal) for Client Service. If the graduate, Education Level 7, were appropriate then Client Service Level 8 (Professional - Internal) would be selected.

We have now made an assessment for all Factors as follows:

PD SectionPD WordingJobscore FactorFactor Level
Reporting ToManaging DirectorImpact3-5
Job TitleAccounts Payable & ReceivableFunctional Breadth3
Purpose of the positionoverall financial health of the business is supported from this area Accountability for Assets4 or 6
VoidVoidHuman Resources1
Responsibility 3Effectively manage the payroll function Application of Law and Legislative Procedures2
Responsibility 1,2,3,4,5Financial reports, payroll, stock take reporting Written Communication5
Speaking & Listening4
Computer Usage5
Numeracy3
Research3
VoidVoidArtistic Skill1
VoidVoidPhysical Skill1
VoidVoidCare1
Purpose of the Positionspecific statutory and management accounting functions Financial Resources2
Responsibility 1,2,3,4,5payroll, accounts, stock take Problem Solving4
Purpose of the Position- performed with high standards of service
- delivery of effective services
Proficiency4
VoidVoidEducation5/7
RelationshipsMD, Sales, ProductionClient Service6/8

Four factors are undecided: Impact, Assets, Education, and Service. This is the best we can do based solely on the position description. To refine the evaluation we would need answers to the questions we have raised.

The next step is to check the "internal consistency" of our selections. In other words, are their levels of complexity compatible with one another, and can they be supported by the education level assumed. On the other hand, have we overshot in any areas?

The online Jobscore system includes Verification Guidelines to help us answer these questions. These guidelines are also included in the Jobscore Manual as "Evaluation Guidelines".

Applying the Guidelines suggests that that Accountability for Assets is high. However, within the context of what may be a very small organisation and no higher level Finance position, we can justify the elevated rating for this factor on the basis that it is the organisation's most senior Finance position. Impact is also slightly high and should be resolved following resolution to our outstanding questions.

Important in our analysis is the degree to which the position adds analytical interpretation to the reports produced, because that can influence Problem Solving and Accountability - which in turn has flow-on affects to some of the other factors.

Jobscore determines its overall evaluation in the context of the organisation containing the job, and information about the organisation would be essential for us to finalise an evaluation. An organisation chart would also help considerably with our interpretations, together with some dimensions regarding the job's activities, such as the dollar value and number of accounts dealt with, the number of employees on and complexity of the payroll, and the number and value of purchase orders handled.

The most valuable statement in the description is the "Reports to: Managing Director". It tells us the importance of the position in the organisation, and when coupled with the position's duties a feeling for the organisation's size, i.e. small.

If positions are to be evaluated based on their job descriptions, then write the descriptions in a way that also addresses the measures used by your job evaluation system. If permitted, include words taken directly from the system to strengthen the alignment further.

 

 

 

 

Henry Warren
Melbourne

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