How to improve your organisation’s financial management

Written by Fotso Tchitchie Constantin Franck, Finance Manager, Association Dynamic Femmes, Cameroon

Please describe the context in which your organisation interacted with AmplifyChange

We applied for our first grant with AmplifyChange because their approach to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) was really similar to our vision and values at Dynamic Femmes.

Since 2016, we have received three Opportunity and two Strengthening grants to support our work on SRHR in Cameroon, which focuses on abortion. The last project we worked on was “Mobilisation within communities for activism around abortion, in the southern regions of Cameroon”.

We had a lot of interaction with the AmplifyChange team during the due diligence and pre-contracting phases, but also during the implementation phases of the grants, through online meetings and on-site monitoring visits.

What did you do to improve the financial management of your organisation?

Following the due diligence process conducted by the AmplifyChange Fiduciary Risk Team for our first Opportunity grant in 2016, several recommendations (special conditions) were raised, which we implemented to improve our organisation’s financial management.

The main recommandations were:

  • Implementation of policies to prevent the risk of fraud and malpractices and conflicts of interest
  • Implementation of framework policies, such as a Financial Manual, Human Resources, and Procurement policies

Following the implementation of these recommendations, we improved our internal processes and controls, which helped us to secure larger funding from AmplifyChange, through a Strengthening grant.

The Due Diligence process conducted by the AmplifyChange Fiduciary Risk Team for our Strengthening grant, as well as audit checks during the life of the grant, concluded the need of few additional improvements, below :

  • Strengthening of internal controls, including a clear separation between the operational and governance functions in day-to-day processes (i.e., approval of invoices and payments)
  • Implementation of tools such as accounting software, data management software or timesheets to help track and keep records of financial transactions within the organisation
  • Implementation of processes to track indirect costs and allocate them per project
  • A good filling system to ensure documentation is kept properly within the organisation and reviewed by the right person

How did the implementation of these measures/recommendations from AmplifyChange help you as an organisation? What benefits did you identify?

The implementation of these recommendations made our financial management both more transparent and efficient.

  • We are now able to manage our costs per project efficiently. For instance, it is possible for us now to track indirect costs and allocate them to each project the organisation is implementing.
  • We have also significantly strengthened our internal controls. For instance, we have implemented a register tracking all income and expenses of the organisation before the data is entered manually by our Finance Manager into our accounting software SAGE SAARI.

These two improvements helped us a lot with the financial reporting processes to our different donors, including AmplifyChange, and also during donors’ audit checks and reviews.

What are your tips for an organisation facing the same or similar issues?

We recommend implementing key procedures and controls which should be clearly documented in framework policies such as Finance, Human resources, or procurement policies.

We also recommend ensuring a good segregation of duties in the different approval processes and controls implemented by the organisation.

And to conclude, we highly recommend the implementation of monitoring tools to help the organisation to track and manage data and information on a daily basis.

What did you learn from this experience?

From this experience we learnt that the implementation of, and adherence to, good and robust financial procedures and controls positively affects:

  • good governance within the organisation
  • the achievements of objectives
  • staff development
  • limitation of risks of internal conflicts.

It also helped our organisation to forge credibility with our partners and donors. In a nutshell this experience has helped our organisation to grow!

Fotso Tchitchie Constantin Franck, Finance Manager, Association Dynamic Femmes, Cameroon

Fotso Tchitchie Constantin Franck is the Finance Manager of Dynamic Femmes. He has a degree in Accounting, Internal controls, and Auditing. He is proficient in using computer accounting and sales management software. Before becoming the Finance Manager, Fotso was the head of Accounting and HR at Dynamic Femmes.