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Name Anna (CIMA)
Employer HM Treasury
Day job Head of Financial Capability

Anna (CIMA)

ACMA Anna had worked for 8 years in various roles within the Civil Service, most recently overseeing plans to improve the UK’s financial capability in the Treasury. When the opportunity arose to take a career break she was excited to work with AFID to identify how she could apply her financial skills in a different setting to help a small community based organisation equip itself to access the funding required to deliver much needed local social programmes.


“I had such a fantastic experience volunteering with Life with a Purpose. The finance staff were keen to learn and grateful for my input and on completion of the project it felt like I had really helped equip the organisation for the next stage of its development.


Staying with the CEO’s family also gave me a unique opportunity to learn more about local livelihoods in Malawi and the challenges faced, particularly with unemployment. I would recommend a similar placement to anyone looking for the chance to do something different while giving back”.


The Challenge


The organisation was seeking to access grant funding from international donors who sought assurance about its financial controls. They wanted a volunteer to help them build a computer-based cash book and accounting system and train their inexperienced finance staff how to use it. They also wanted the volunteer to help build their staff’s skills and knowledge in financial organisation, planning and management.


The Assignment


Anna was the first AfID volunteer to be placed at Life with a Purpose, so her first task was to do a stocktake of their existing processes and records and establish any limitations surrounding the building of a new system.

The key parts of the assignment were to digitise the cash book, develop a new accounting system and guidance, develop templates for budgeting and reporting and upskill the finance team. The technology options were limited, with little internet access and intermittent electricity so an excel based system was required.


Key Objectives Achieved


  • Finance team’s knowledge of Excel developed
  • Finance policy and procedure guidance document developed and gone through step by step with the finance team
  • New digital cashbook, cash flow forecast and budget templates introduced and finance team trained how to use them
  • New simple monthly and quarterly report templates created and finance team trained how to use them
  • New set of claims forms for different scenarios developed
  • Supported the CEO to prepare for a skype call with an international donor

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