Financial Services

Strengthening the financial and administrative management of the international development sector.

Through its experience of making, receiving and managing grants in the UK and overseas, SDC is fully aware of the importance of sound financial management to credible voluntary sector organisations.

SDC offers a range of services according to the specific needs of the organisation.

An External Field Office Audit

International NGOs working overseas face a complex set of challenges and risks from both an accounting and operational standpoint. Whether at HQ or in a field office, as an INGO leader your responsibilities include managing a variety of known and unknown risks. An external field office audit can help them identify and understand these risks in order to make informed decisions for their organization.

Challenges and Risks for INGOs

While the overall strategies and management level decision making usually occurs at the HQ level, INGO field offices often operate as independent units of the organization with their own separate internal control structures, processes and hierarchy.
The operating environment in the countries where aid programmes are implemented may be plagued with security concerns, lack of infrastructure and technology resources, and cultures of corruption.
In areas of extreme poverty and conflict, the potential for fraud and unethical business practices is significantly more prevalent.
Basic living conditions, separation from friends and family, and demanding workloads often make it difficult to retain qualified personnel in the field.
International aid funding comes with demanding compliance and reporting requirements
While sub-awarding funding to local aid organizations that have depth of experience and knowledge in the community can be an effective means of programme implementation, extensive oversight is critical to ensure proper financial management.
Field offices may place increased reliance on cash transactions due to lack of access to banking facilities, creating risk of asset misappropriation and inadequacy in supporting documentation.
Delays in the financial reporting process often occur due to the logistical and communication challenges inherent in the operating environment.

It is within this environment that INGOs working abroad must decide on appropriate risk mitigation and monitoring strategies for their overseas field office locations. In designing these procedures, the annual external audit process should be viewed as an opportunity to enhance the controls and effectiveness of field office management. The audit opinion is intended to provide reasonable assurance that the financial statements are presented fairly and give a true and fair view in accordance with the financial reporting framework. The purpose of an audit is to provide an objective independent examination of the financial statements, which increases the value and credibility of the financial statements produced by management. This increases user and donor confidence in the financial statement. Contact Istiaque Ahmed at to discuss how SDC can help you.

Establishing financial systems: With your team, or partner's team, SDC can help develop an organisational accounting structure fully compatible to the professional requirements of financial management and good governance and the demands of government and donors.

Developing organisational capacity: An accounting structure needs extensive in house systems and human resource support. To this end, SDC offers a combination of policy development and staff capacity building. Together, SDC can work with your team to provide:

Financial management policies
Personnel policies
A salary structure
Staff performance and appraisal systems

Budget preparation: SDC can work with your team to develop budgets to support concept notes and full project proposals to meet the particular requirements of a wide range of national and international donors and trusts and foundations.

Capacity building, training: SDC offers a number of work based training programmes to support a professional financial management system, including:

The principle of accounts
Financial management systems and good governance
Financial management as a monitoring tool

Monitoring and evaluation: SDC will also work with donors and partners alike to prepare for and deliver financial audits and evaluations. In particular:

Financial health check / review. Reviewing financial systems and practice and recommending change as appropriate.
Pre audit inspections /special audits. Helping your team prepare for an audit by a donor, or by HQ.
Audits. Reviewing the systems, practice and financial records of an organisation according to the requirements of the organisation itself, its HQ, a donor or partner.

Project monitoring and final evaluations: SDC will monitor project financial performance during the project cycle advising on the relationship between expenditure, project narrative and outcomes. It also offers a full project evaluation service.

Supporting your Country Office

With CEO experience in the UK and Bangladesh, and Country Director experience in Bangladesh, India, Israel/ Palestine, Sri Lanka, South Sudan and Uganda, SDC UK can provide senior professional short to medium term cover at times of organisational stress. Speak to us about how we can help with organisational leadership, management and change, policy development, strategic planning, human resource management, programme development and financial management.