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Harriet, ACA

Local Staff

The AfID volunteer will be working predominantly with the Finance and Admin Manager. He had only just taken on the role of FM when the first AfID volunteer visited CRDT back in 2014 and although he is very capable and keen he has on occasions found it difficult implementing all recommendations of previous AfID volunteers. It was felt that the FM would benefit hugely from a longer 3-6 month assignment where a volunteer works with him through 1 or 2 board cycles as well as month end cycles. A key focus of the assignment is to train to a level where he will be comfortable assuming additional responsibilities.

Cambodian Rural Development Team

The Partner

Harriet, ACA
Name
Cambodia Rural Development Team
Location
Cambodia



The Cambodian Rural Development Team (CRDT) works to promote the protection and development of the rural Kratié Province. They provide the community with agricultural tools to improve food production, rice farming and water sanitation. They also offer microfinance loans and vocational and skills-training to people working at CRDT's income-generating social enterprise projects.

The Challenge

CRDT’s finance function was not strong at the crucial time of rapid growth; there was a lack of robust systems, ineffective structures, uncomprehensive policies and inexperienced staff which would have caused long-term technical problems. CRDT have created four separate social enterprises to offer alternative sources of income for the group. Whilst this has been a success, it has resulted in a complex organisation and as a result the financial systems and process were in need of substantial overhaul.


The Brief

Urgent professional assistance is required to develop skills in the finance function, particularly around budgeting and cash flow forecasting. Without this crucial and focused intervention it is felt that CRDT would be unable to apply for the funding it now requires to meet their objectives.

Skills and experience

  • ACA Exam qualified

  • Coming to end of ACA training contract at Grant Thornton

  • Experience of mentoring and teaching others in the workplace

The Volunteer

Harriet, ACA Name
Harriet, ACA
Employer
Grant Thornton
Position
Associate Accountant

 

Newly qualified ACA accountant Harriet decided some years ago that she would like to work within the not-for-profit sector and she took up an AfID assignment to gain the vital practical experience she needed. Harriet was a suitable volunteer for CRDT because of her experience in leading, undertaking and documenting on site audit teams to international standards. Her work and skills were in line to CRDT’s needs and particularly relevant to providing the necessary training to the Finance Manager. Outside of work, Harriet is a passionate environmental campaigner which made her a perfect fit!

Achievements

  • The budget for the year ending 2016 was completed and the template used was approved by the board.

  • A chart of accounts was designed which will allow CRDT to use QuickBooks more effectively. Reports by project, donor and expense type can be now run directly from QuickBooks.
  • The audit for the year ending 31 December 2015 went far more smoothly compared to the previous year.

  • A model was created to feed support costs into the relevant section of the budget for the various business units of the group.
  • The finance manager received the necessary support and training to effectively maintain accounting records.

The Assignment

Harriet was the fourth AfID volunteer to support CRDT her role was to build on the work of previous volunteer, Carl, and continue training the new Finance Manager. 

In recent years CRDT have introduced four separate social enterprises which meant that the structure of the group had become more complex which gave rise to challenges in terms of financial management. As a result, Harriet’s main role over her six-month assignment was to develop financial models and statements, budgets and cash-flow forecasts, which would in turn allow the entity to apply for the funding it requires to meet its future objectives.

The Impact

As a result of Harriet’s placement, CRDT’s budgeting and cash flow forecasting has become much more accurate giving them the information they need to better negotiate with their existing and potential new donors.

Immediate

Organisational

  • More robust systems and effective structures

  • Improved internal controls which comply with donor requirements

Personal

  • Finance staff work with more confidence

  • Reduced duplication of work between staff

Long term
  • Accounts are more reliable and accurate

  • Ability for much more solid financial analysis

  • Programmes staff have a much better understanding of the feasibility of their projects and costings of new proposals

“We feel very privileged to have continuing support from AfID throughout the transitional stages facing our growing organisation. We find we continue to encounter challenges when faced with complex financial rules and regulations. We feel it paramount to have the professional expertise offered by the volunteers AfID has been able to recruit for us over recent years”
Channy Or, Executive Director

What's next?

As part of AfID’s long term programme of support a fifth and sixth AfID volunteer will follow up on Harriet’s work. One of CRDT’s social enterprises is in the process of becoming a micro-finance operation which requires specific financial management and financial treatment and the next volunteers will support the local team in making this transition.
 
Another of the social enterprises is about to apply for a tourism license in order to be able to expand the services it offers. This involves a lot of specific work around finance to help provide key deliverables to the authorities to help gain this license, including a three-year projection plan. A key role of the next volunteer’s will be to help the head of the social enterprise to understand accruals-based accounting and to assist with a business plan which will help them to gain this license.