Job Title: Award Management Officer I
Department/Country: Central African Republic
Position Type: Full Time
Job Location: Bangui
Reports To: Finance Manager
Catholic Relief Services carries out the commitment of the Bishops of the United States to assist the poor and vulnerable overseas. Our Catholic identity is at the heart of our mission and operations. We welcome as a part of our staff and as partners people of all faiths and secular traditions who share our values and our commitment to serving those in need.
CRS has started working in CAR since 2007. The CAR country program portfolio include two (2) multi-year USAID funded program covering respectively peace-building and community-based early warning systems activities. Peace-building program aims at consolidating, through a consortium, at strengthening Interreligious Platform working on rebuilding social cohesion in CAR while community-based early warning systems focuses on equipping communities to protect themselves against LRA incursions. In addition to these two major USAID funded program, CRS-CAR implements some other short term funded programs in the field of SHELTER and Food Security with main donors including OFDA, IRW, FAO, CHF via Bekou. These programs are being implemented in the cities of Obo, Zemio, Rafai, Bangassou and Bakouma for the USAID-community-based early warning systems and in Bossangoa, Bouar and Boda for the other programs.
The Award Management Officer I, under the direct supervision of the Finance Manager and working in close collaboration with the Head of Operations, Head of Programming, and Heads of Offices will be responsible for the following.
Grants management and compliance
• Serve as principle point of contact on grant management and compliance issues with sub-grantees, CRS/CAR Finance, Regional Finance Officer, Global Finance and Compliance staff.
• Lead the review of any new granting/contracting mechanisms to ensure adherence to donor requirements related to eligibility for CRS/partners, budget presentation, acceptability of cost allocation and other proposal requirements.
• Support timely agreement/contract development/review/approval, both at the level of CRS and partners, ensuring adherence to both internal CRS and donor requirements.
• Anticipate and respond to donor requests related to contracts, budgets and spending
• Anticipate and respond to CRS and sub-grantee questions related to contracts, budgets and spending, and try to encourage information sharing that will allow them to become familiar with requirements and practices of enforcement of donor/CRS finance policy.
• Ensure access for finance and programming staff to relevant internal CRS and US Government/European Union/Other external policy manuals/updates to ensure accountable and efficient program performance.
• Track liability to donors (A/C 3031/3032/3034).
• Follow up with the Region/HQ on any identified issues/questions on contract conditions/need for modifications or clarification.
• Review, communicate and monitor compliance with donor requirements related to staffing, purchasing, asset management and reporting.
• Identify compliance gaps and related solutions – including differences between donor and internal CRS policies and procedures, including cost allocation.
• Track grant/contract compliance via application of existing mechanism (i.e., grants startup checklist) and through the development/testing/roll out/implementation of new tools as and when required.
• Take the lead in monitoring timely grant/contract closure – engaging both finance and program staff well in advance of closure deadlines and advising on issues related to staffing, disposition and reporting.
• Ensure the timely reporting to senior management of any identified compliance risks.
• Review and approve cash disbursement advance journals, ensuring accurate postings particularly to accounts 1231, 1232, and 6166. Ensure that advances to partners are liquidated in a timely manner.
• Monitor timely reconciliation of project material stocks both at partner and CRS level with distribution reports. Advise of stock status when nearing grant completion.
• Organize and facilitate regular and ad-hoc meetings with Programming Team, Finance team, Compliance team to plan workflow and address finance and grant compliance issues.
• Resolve grant compliance issues that arise with Partners by arranging for technical support from the CRS Grant and Compliance team
Internal control assessment
• Ensure adherence to record keeping as per donor and CRS Internal requirements. Monitor application and address gaps as needed.
• Ensure timely closure of finance audit recommendations related to donor compliance; participate in preparation, implementation and monitoring of related action plans.
• Lead site visits to partners to assess adequacy of internal controls, compliance with applicable laws and regulations, and partner policies and procedures. Report findings to program management including proposed follow-up with sub-grantees based on issues surfaced.
• Advise on GAAP and basic accounting records to be maintained at sub-grantees.
• Perform ongoing monitoring and assessment of partner capacity to accurately record and post all transactions.
• Ensure adequate response and monitoring to implement recommendations of all financial audits and partner capacity assessments
• Lead and coordinate the implementation of the Sub-recipient Financial Management policy. Ensure all Partners are effectively assessed; categorized and all Internal Control Improvement Plans are fully implemented.
• Lead and coordinate the update of all award data in Gateway
• Organize external firm audits in accordance with grant requirements and in collaboration with the Project Manager and Procurement Officer
• Provide guidance and support for the timely assessment of partner financial management capacity and ability to adhere to any specific donor requirements. Develop related action plan with program and finance staff to address any capacity/system gaps.
• Ensure that partners have systems of effort reporting and bidding process for procurements in collaboration with the procurement officer.
• Work on initiatives to address most frequent audit findings and accountability issues related to USAID and other grants.
• Monitor implementation of action/corrective action plans relative to both internal and external audits in the grants management area
Financial management and analysis:
• Take the lead in working with Program Managers/Coordinators in the preparation of donor financial reports and invoices and facilitate HQ review prior to donor submission.
• Review budget comparison reports to ensure adherence to restrictions on line item flexibility and stated restrictions on accepted costs. Support follow up actions to resolve any identified problems.
• Review and assess Cost Allocation (CA) impact on budget on a regular basis, promptly flag any significant issue to the attention of the relevant PM and HOP.
• Design effective budget monitoring tools, generate and review monthly reporting and lead regular meetings with program managers to review issues and trends identified.
• Monitor the budgets and expenses at least on a monthly basis and ensure that the aggregate budget for CRS, consortium members and local partners is maintained accurately at the donor approved levels throughout the year and commitments to consortium members and local partners do not exceed the available budget.
• Ensure timely receipt and review of monthly expenditure reports from partner organizations.
• Approve local partner budget updates and liquidation reports for the CRS finance team to process.
• Ensure documentation of partner liquidation reviews outlining justification of all rejected expenses and detailing improvements required.
• Design and generate partner outstanding advance aging reporting and follow up with partners and program/project managers to encourage timely liquidation.
• Verify estimates of partner cash needs and in collaboration and coordination with Program/Project Managers, develop quarterly cash forecast to ensure sufficient cash flow and timely disbursement to support activity implementation. Ensure quarterly cash forecast is submitted to Finance no later than 10th each month
• Ensure that partners keep supporting documents for all financial transactions and ledgers for Fixed Assets, Purchase Requisitions, Cash Receipts and Disbursement.
• Assist in the development and review of budget for new proposals and ensure accuracy of direct and allocated direct charges along with the proposal;
• Maintain the SCC tool up to date and ensure their use during budget proposal development;
• Through formal training, on the job support and monitoring, build the capacity of CRS and partner staff in grants/contract compliance. Facilitate the development of Scopes of Work for TDY support as and when needed and monitor TDY performance.
• Prepare and implement training and technical assistance as needed to address capacity needs and reinforce grant management, e.g., financial management, budget analysis, policies and procedures, GAAP and basic accounting, etc. …
• Conduct staff orientation in donor and CRS financial management policies, procedures and standards in collaboration and coordination with CRS Finance Manager.
• Lead training to Program/Project Manager and to Partners on budgeting and in coordination and collaboration with Program/Project Managers, provide technical support to finalize Partners’ annual budgets.
• Coordinate planning and implementation of institutional capacity assessment and periodic review of potential new partner organizations.
• Conduct and coordinate with Program/Project Managers monitoring visits to partner organizations to assess adequacy of internal controls and to provide onsite mentoring and technical assistance. Detail site findings and ensure implementation of recommendations/corrective action plan and follow-up requirements.
• Actively participate in program meetings as appropriate to effectively plan and collectively coordinate financial and programmatic activities in conjunction with partner capacity building initiatives.
Agency-wide Competencies (for all CRS Staff):
These are rooted in the mission, values, and guiding principles of CRS and used by each staff member to fulfill his or her responsibilities and achieve the desired results.
• Serves with Integrity
• Models Stewardship
• Cultivates Constructive Relationships
• Promotes Learning
Supervisory Responsibilities: Will supervise a national Grant Compliance Officer (CGO)
Key Working Relationships:
Internal: Finance Manager, Deputy Finance Manager-Accounting, finance team, HoOPs, HOP, Program Managers and Chief of Party, Country Representative, Procurement Manager, Administrative Officer, HR Officer, IT Officer, HQ Finance, DRD/MQ, RFO, Internal Auditors.
External: Donors, Subrecipients, Suppliers and External Auditors
Required Qualifications and Experience:
1. Masters degree in finance, business administration or accounting, required.
2. A University degree in accounting, preferred.
3. Professional qualification in accounting (ACCA, CPA or equivalent), preferred.
4. Minimum seven years relevant work experience w/ NGO, of which three years should be in USG finance and compliance. Very strong finance background.
5. Experience managing USG and/or other donor grant awards.
6. Auditing experience, a plus.
7. Demonstrated ability in building capacity and providing training and technical assistance, and experience working with church partners.
8. Proven ability to be an effective supervisor of staff of varying levels of responsibility.
9. Good command of spoken and written English.
10. Proficient in MS Office (Word, Excel and other appropriate software)
11. Self-guided, strong organizational and planning skills.
12. Ability to work independently and under pressure.
13. Excellent communication, coaching and facilitation skills.
14. SUN System/ Q&A exposure and competence will be an added advantage, or ability to learn quickly.
Required Foreign Language: French
Required Travel: The position is based in Bangui requiring travel 60% of the time on average
Disclaimer: This job description is not an exhaustive list of the skill, effort, duties, and responsibilities associated with the position.
CRS’ talent acquisition procedures reflect our commitment to protecting children and vulnerable adults from abuse and exploitation.