Between July 16 and 20 2018, staff of the AfriChild Centre were engaged in a financial management training conducted by Abubaker Mayanja Kakule, an external consultant. The robust training provided a prime opportunity to sharpen staffs knowledge and skills in best practices in financial management. Insights on several finance topics were shared and these include planning and budgeting; basic accounting systems; financial reporting; grant management and internal controls.

AbubakerKakuleExtremeRightconductsafinancetrainingwithAfriChildstaffUnder planning and budgeting, Kakule told staff they need to align the strategic plan with the chart of accounts, a list of accounts that an organization has. This is to ensure that the organization leverages resources for the different core program areas listed in its strategic plan and to achieve its mission and vision. He also said that to get the best out of planning and budgeting, finance and program staff should work together to prepare budgets. Additionally, annual budgets should be approved by the Board of Directors, the annual budget should further be broken down into monthly cash flow forecasts in order to facilitate its implementation. In basic accounting systems, Kakule enlightened staff on different supporting documents needed for payments. These include: bid documents, salary schedules, goods received note, vouchers, activity reports and local purchase orders (LPOs) among others.

“There is need to have a checklist of supporting document before any payment can be processed,   these should be in a standard template so that when it gets to authorization, it’s easier for someone to trace the history,” Kakule said.

For effective internal controls of finances, staff were advised to ensure that cash is kept safely in a locked cashbox; cash payments should be dully authorized  ; statutory deductions such as pay as you earn should be remitted timely and that all fixed assets   owned by the organization should be insured and their usage regulated  using a fixed assets register.  

The benefits from the training as reported by some of the employees were immense. Aisha Ndabalekera, a research assistant with the AfriChild said the training boosted her understanding and confidence in budget management and compliance. This confidence, she says, will enhance her overall performance to effectively manage grants.Kakuleholdingafileexplainstherightprocessoffilingdocumentsduringthetraining

Emmanuel Akuti, a capacity building assistant said the training enabled him to understand the linkages between AfriChild’s strategic plan and the day-to-day functioning of the Centre.

“For example, the training has enabled me to appreciate my role in implementation of the strategic plan and I believe this will enable me to work more efficiently,” says Akuti.

To crown the week-long training, Kakule conducted a financial health check of the Centre dubbed, ‘The Mango Health Check.’ This check uses a self-assessment tool designed to help organizations gauge the effectiveness of their financial management system. AfriChild was assessed on all the key financial areas such as planning and budgeting; grant management and financial reporting that were found to be at a low risk. Arising out of the meeting were several ideas for action as highlighted below.

Action Plan

  • There is need for the AfriChild to ensure data security through investing in cloud storage.
  • For every activity that is implemented, the programs team should keep records in form of reports to ease the accountability process.
  • AfriChild should submit substantive progress reports to its donors every three months and keep communication open with them (donors) during project implementation.
  • For every new grant that the Centre acquires, there is need to have start-up meetings to discuss grant requirements.
  • To check the financial health of the organization, there is need to run the mango health check at least once every quarter.