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Tim, ACA

Local Staff

Restart Africa have recently recruited a new Financial Controller. She is a qualified accountant but only has one year of practical work experience and will need help and training to bring him up to the required level. There is a second member of the finance team, a bookkeeper, who again is quite inexperienced and requires further training.

 Health Poverty Action

The Partner

Tim, ACA
Name
Restart Africa
Location
Kenya



 


Restart Africa was founded in 2008 in response to the post-election violence and displacement of more than 500,000 people, including many children. The organisation comprises a children’s home for 110 children ranging from new born babies to 18-year olds and several income-generating activities supporting the local Gilgil residents. These include the Sanata Women’s Group, producing clothing, jewellery, and leather goods; Briquettes, turning recyclable waste into smokeless fuel; Naturally Sanata, growing and selling therapeutic herbs, and; Restart Farm, producing fresh vegetables for the community.

The Challenge

The internal controls at Restart Africa have been assessed to be quite weak, and the accounting information produced by the organisation has often been of poor quality. The context to this is that the organisation has grown quite substantially since 2008 and it is felt that the finance function has not kept up with the pace of growth and the increasing requirements to report back to donors. Restart Africa have also changed their audit firm and have recently recruited a new Finance Manager, adding to a period of large-scale changes at the organisation.


The Brief

In light of recent changes, the support of an experienced pro bono accountant is required to assess Restart Africa’s accounting processes and internal controls, and to help redesign these and implement improvements.

Skills and experience

  • Experienced ACA qualified accountant

  • Extensive international experience, working across different cultures

  • Consultancy experience involving assessing requirements and producing action plans for improvements

The Volunteer

Tim, ACA Name
Tim, ACA
Employer
Mobile Streams Plc
Position
Non-Executive Director


Experienced ACA Tim had recently retired and was looking at opportunities to give something back to society. His extensive international experience, involving gaining the trust of local teams and supporting them to change and improve financial/ management reporting lent itself to the needs of Restart Africa.

Achievements

  • New chart of accounts introduced which was simplified significantly, with some additional codes added for major categories of expenditure

  • Under Tim’s guidance and training the Financial Controller produced new management accounts for three monthly cycles

  • New invoicing systems introduced for income-generating entities

  • New petty cash procedures introduced

  • Plan agreed with Financial Controller to reduce number of bank accounts and consolidate cash in central bank account regularly

  • Finance policy and procedures manual fully updated

  • Cash flow forecast produced for trustees and proforma created for preparing future forecasts

The Assignment

Tim was the first AfID volunteer on placement at Restart Africa, and as such the initial focus of the assignment was to assess their existing accounting systems, policies and controls, before starting to implement recommendations.


The assignment also included assessing the usefulness of the existing system, with the likelihood of transitioning to a more up-to-date version of QuickBooks; reviewing and improving management accounting & donor reporting; reviewing current procurement systems; overseeing financial management of the home as well as the income generating activities; and training/mentoring the new FC and Bookkeeper.


Tim was accompanied on assignment by his wife Deborah who offered her assistance helping the children in the home. 

The Impact

As a result of Tim’s placement Restart Africa now have a much clearer picture of their current financial position and their donors have more confidence in the organisations financial capacity and stability. In addition, the Financial Controller is more confident in her role and now has the skills and processes needed to carry out her duties effectively.

Immediate

Organisational

  • Financial records are up to date, clear and concise enabling the organisation to plan more efficiently

  • Communication has improved between finance, programme and management staff

Personal

  • Finance staff are more confident and better able to carry out their daily functions

Long term
  • Management and programmes staff have an increased financial awareness and understanding of internal controls

  • The need for good accounting/ financial management is now seen by staff as an integral part of the organisation’s success


"Tim was an excellent person in every way. He treated the staff here with humility and kindness. He was interested in everything and showed tremendous enthusiasm for all he did and all we did."

Mary Coulson, Restart Africa Founder

What's next?

As part of AfID’s long term programme of support a second AfID volunteer will follow up on Tim’s work later in the year. Part of this brief will be to ensure that the changes Tim has made have been properly embedded and that the Financial Controller is comfortable with the new systems and processes, as well as providing her with any additional training as necessary.


The next volunteer will then provide support with the preparation of both the 2018 budget and 2017 financial statements, again providing the Financial Controller training in these areas. Part of the brief will also be to conduct an internal audit of procedures in light of the likely implementation of recommendations from the new audit firm.