Head of Finance and Deputy Unit COO

at MRC/UVRI & LSHTM Uganda Research Unit
Location Masaka, Uganda
Date Posted May 19, 2022
Category Accounting
Job Type Full-time
Currency UGX


Position Code: HFDUC – 422
Reports to: Unit Chief Operating Officer
Station: Entebbe

Job Purpose:
The post-holder is responsible for ensuring high quality and accurate financial reporting and sound financial management of the Unit’s activities, as well as providing reports for oversight to the Unit Chief Operating Officer, Unit Management Committee (UMC) and the Finance teams at LSHTM London and MRC-UKRI. The post-holder manages the Unit’s finance officers, accountants and administrative support staff in ensuring effective and timely financial management of the Unit’s programmes and assists budget holders in ensuring effective and accurate financial monitoring of programme activities.
The post-holder is also Deputy COO of the Unit. This entails involvement and contribution to strategic planning cutting across Professional Support Services, supporting the development of the Unit quinquennial (QQ) review process that sets out the 5-year scientific and operational strategy and supports its implementation, corporate risk management, and leadership on and delivery of complex strategic projects in areas covered under Operations.

Roles & Responsibilities
1. Strategic;
• Advise and support the UCOO and Unit Director in making efficient and effective use of the Unit’s resources;
• Prepare MRC/UVRI & LSHTM strategic 5-year budgets for the core funded activities, with guidance and final approval from UCOO and Unit Director;
Continuously track QQ budget requirements and adjust budgets to meet strategic changes at mid-QQ stage as well as minor reviews annually with the Unit COO;
• Implement, oversee and continuously improve financial administration systems, SOPs and policies;
• Forecast operational needs of the Unit’s Finance function at the Unit and manage human and capital resources of the department to maximise impact;
• Deputise for Unit COO in their absence which includes representation of the Unit at the highest level to local, regional and international stakeholders as well as supporting the Unit Director and Unit Management Committee;
Develop business cases and action plans and implement and deliver strategic projects, with the UCOO, in Professional Support Service areas including major change management. These focus on improving operational performance and science support and delivery at the Unit; and,
• Horizon scanning and preparation for change regulations, taxes, social contributions (NSSF) etc.
2. Financial Management and Reporting;
• Support Unit Management Committee by preparing annual and monthly budgets that support the Unit’s strategy in accordance with LSHTM and MRC specific guidelines;
• Prepare and maintain Unit monthly and annual accounts in accordance with LSHTM and MRC-UKRI Financial Policies and procedures; and,
Report and work closely with LSHTM FD and MRC-UKRI Corporate Finance office to provide periodic financial reports.
3. Governance and Financial Monitoring;
• Undertake routine visits to Unit’s Masaka and Kyamulibwa field stations to help ensure quality and robustness is maintained in all aspects of financial management;
• Coordinate and facilitate internal and external financial audits for the Unit, as needed;
• Review and advise on required changes for Delegated Financial Authority for Unit staff;
• Ensure LSHTM, MRC-UKRI and local statutory requirements are adhered to regarding the Unit’s finances and tax obligations;
• Implement fraud mitigation structures, ensuring that financial systems and processes support the Unit’s effective operations; and,
• Coordinate Unit’s annual Unit Assurance Statement (UAS) return to UKRI/MRC.
4. Financial Systems Development and Capacity Building;
Implement and ensuring appropriate functioning of good financial controls safeguarding the Unit from budget deviations, compliance risk and fraud;
• Ensure financial oversight mechanism are effective in identifying risk in time and able to react promptly;
• Assess efficiency and effectiveness of MSD system and advise system Administrator on relevant changes for system functionality and for user access. Sign-off MSD user access forms to approve new user access to the accounting system;
• Maintain and approve non-routine changes to the MSD system; update the Chart of Accounts, approve addition and deactivation of new Suppliers and Customers and Bank/Cash accounts;
• Review and authorize un-usual adjustments to stock levels in the Stores module;
Ensure and develop effective internal and external communication with relevant stakeholders;
• Work with LSHTM head office to improve financial systems in the Unit and to assist in introducing change where requested as part of the organization plan to provide uniform, timely and appropriate financial information to senior management, PIs and budget holder;
• Continuously assess the capacity of Unit’s finance teams and develop and implement training plans and strategies to drive development of the Unit’s financial management and compliance capacity; and,
• Develop and continuously monitor and adjust as necessary structure and staffing in the department to support the Unit optimally in meeting its wider strategic research and other objectives.
5. Treasury and Liquidity Management;
• Collaborate with the LSHTM and other internal teams to advise, plan, forecast and track external funding and the existing funding sources to ensure adequate liquidity reserves in the Unit’s local bank accounts;
• Weekly reviews of liquidity of local bank accounts to ensure the Unit has sufficient funds in relevant currencies to meet payment obligations;
• Co-signatory on all local Unit bank accounts. Maintain and update Unit’s bank account signatories;
Act as authorised dealer on local bank accounts for foreign exchanges transactions; and,
• Reviews Supplier requests for prepayment and submits final list to LSTHM FD for final approval.
6. Research Support and Project Management;
• Support Unit’s Research Support Office (RSO) to review and advise on budget proposals for external grants;
• Review and sign-off financial donor reports based on information from MS Dynamics (MSD) and Agresso accounting systems, after initial review and approval by RSO and the Unit’s PI; and,
• Support RSO in horizon scanning activities, planning ahead and informing relevant Unit stakeholders of changes in the funding environment.
7. Human Resources Management;
• Review month-on-month payroll reconciliation reports to ensure changes are within expectation;
• With Human Resources manager, review and co-authorize non-payroll payments to consultants, interns, short-contract staff;
• With Human Resources manager, review and co-authorize monthly salary payments for MRC/UVRI & LSHTM staff before the MSD payroll is posted and staff are paid; and,
Review and monitor information posted to payroll for LSHTM UK contracted personnel, ensure costs are accurately posted and applicable URA taxes are remitted for Uganda nationals.
8. Financial management;
• The post-holder has financial delegation on all Unit cost centre codes and can authorise expenditure up to GBP 20,000 per individual purchase order. The Annual Unit budget is in excess of GBP 13 million, including capital awards.
9. Line management;
• The post-holder directly reports to the Unit Chief Operations Officer (UCOO) who will task him/her and monitor his/her performance. The post-holder has a dotted accountability reporting line to the LSHTM Finance Director (FD);
• The Unit is supported by a substantial MRC-UKRI award and the post-holder will be responsible for providing financial reporting support to MRC-UKRI;
• The post-holder line manages the Finance Manager/Senior Accountant and a diverse team of Finance professionals (currently 8 full time staff); and,
• In addition, they are expected to provide strong leadership and develop staff and the Finance function as a whole.

Person Specification
• Master’s degree in Business Administration or other relevant degree
• A bachelor’s degree in Accounting, Commerce, Business Administration or other relevant degree;
• Professional Accounting certification (ACCA, ICPAU);
• At least 5 years of consecutive working experience in a similar role in a fast-paced and dynamic organization;
• Should possess strong strategic financial planning focus;
• Proven strategic business planning, budgeting and project management, financial reporting experience;
• Experience deputizing for a senior leadership position, supporting his/her vision;
• Experience representing the organization externally, for example at funding bodies and international research organizations meetings;
• Working experience in a senior management role;
• Experience working in an academic, medical or health research organization is an added advantage;
• Experience working with UKRI, Wellcome Trust, USAID/NIH/US Federal, European Commission, EDCTP, BMFG, WHO and similar donors;
• Should possess demonstrable experience of leading, planning and coordinating change and transformation;
• Should possess excellent skills with analytical tools, including MS Excel analytical tools, donor specific templates;
• Political sensitivity and cultural awareness, with particular understanding of challenges in research within an East African setting;
• Should demonstrate excellent knowledge of accounting software – MS Dynamics, Agresso;
• Should demonstrate experience of financial management in a grant funding environment;
• Good written and verbal communication abilities in the English language, including ability to provide information for briefing;
• Proven leadership and management skills at a similar level, especially in challenging situations;
• Excellent inter-personnel and negotiating skills, strong ability to create and nurture internal and external partnerships including across with research programmes and other professional support service departments;
• Ability to present ideas and information in a clear and persuasive manner;
• Good supervisory and team-working skills;
• Ability to work independently in a fast-paced and dynamic environment;
• Ability to demonstrate problem-solving approach when required; and,
• Proactive and pays attention to detail.

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