The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We create friendly knowledge and understanding between the people of the UK and other countries. We do this by making a positive contribution to the UK and the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust.
We work with over 100 countries across the world in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Each year we reach over 20 million people face-to-face and more than 500 million people online, via broadcasts and publications. Founded in 1934, we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body.
British Council is recruiting to fill the position below:
Job Title: Accountant (KaLMA)
Contract type: Fixed Term (Until December 2020)/
Job Category: Finance
Role Type: Advisory, Policy and Expertise
Pay Band: Pay Band 4
Report to: Senior Accountant & KaLMA Operations Manage
- The post holder will act as the finance business partner to the programmes team in their quest to deliver KaLMA (the project) or any other description ascribed to it in line with the funder’s requirement.
- The holder will ensure thorough adherence to financial processes, keeping a balance between efficiency, accuracy and completeness of transactions processed.
- The post holder will support the procurement process to onboard delivery partners, provide value for money guidance, ensure accurate reporting to the unique needs of the funder and provide efficiency and assurance to the project manager in the first instance and the programme director by ensuring delivery partners, internal stakeholders and funders are satisfied with the finance deliverables inherent in the projects.
Nigeria is one of the largest economies in Africa. It is also the most populous country with over 190 million citizens. Nigeria holds significant political power in the region and internationally and its society retains a positive attitude to the UK. There are therefore major opportunities for the UK to increase influence, funding sources and, through this, our impact by building on our strong existing relationships with the Nigerian government, private and civil society institutions and customers/audiences. However, there are complex and substantial risks to this work like security and compliance. North West Nigeria faces a perennial problem of low learning outcomes. Data from the Nigeria Education Data Survey 2015 and the Education Sector Support Programme in Nigeria (ESSPIN) Composite Survey 2012 and 2016 indicate not only low attainments in literacy and numeracy but also declining trends. The ESSPIN Composite Survey 3 Gender and Inclusion Report, 2016 also points to gender gaps in learning outcomes, with boys significantly outperforming girls on all tests except P2 numeracy.
KaLMA aims to build foundational Hausa and English literacy and numeracy skills for primary 4 (P4) to primary 6 (P6) children using the Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL) approach, equipping them with foundational literacy and numeracy skills before they leave primary school. KaLMA is a partnership between the British Council and TaRL Africa. TaRL Africa is a newly formalised partnership between Education NGO Pratham, and research centre J-PAL, who have been working together developing cost-effective, scalable literacy and numeracy interventions for more than 15 years. The fruits of these efforts have been the development of what we now refer to as the TaRL approach.
The KaLMA project will be delivered in all 240 public primary schools in Wudil and Dawakin Tofa LGAs of Kano State. KaLMA will target all P4-6 children (23,559 in Dawakin Tofu and 28,152 in Wudil) and teachers (approximately 256 in Dawakin Tofa and 418 in Wudil). We have purposefully chosen to pilot in all schools so that we develop and learn about models which can be easily replicated and scaled across Kano and other North Western states.
Implementation of KaLMA is expected to begin in September 2019 and a fixed term employee contract for this post will be issued only after the contract with the donor is signed. A total of 267 working days have been budgeted for this position to be delivered over a period of 16 months. The British Council reserves the right to withdraw this post at any time until the employment contract is signed.
Main Opportunities/Challenges for this Role
This role will work closely with the KaLMA Project Manager and other relevant team members to manage the financial operations related to the delivery of the project in compliance with donor and British Council project delivery standards. It will also:
- Afford the post holder exposure to various internal stakeholders across the operations
- Increase the knowledge and use of SAP (financial management software) of the post holder
- Involve working to tight deadlines to support delivery through financial operations support and other tasks
- Assist in the development of financial reports that meet funders requirement
- Assist in Value for Money Review to provide assurance to the programme director The Nigerian context is generally challenging, having poor infrastructure and currently facing a volatile security situation. There is still a significant reliance on the cash economy, corruption is high and the regulatory and compliance structures that exist are highly ineffective. This makes Nigeria a very challenging environment in which to deliver programmes.
- The post holder must therefore have the ability to work in an ambiguous and difficult environment in which British Council processes need to be adapted or developed to cope with unusual requirements and difficult context.
- S/he will work closely with the programme delivery and management teams.
Accountabilities, responsibilities and main duties:
- Complete all financial tasks required for the financial month-end pre-closing steps and provide support as required for the financial month-end closing steps.
- Support the development of project financial reports in line with funder’s reporting requirements during project reporting and in support of payment request from the funder.
- Provide support as required on accounting transactions and adjustments (accruals, deferrals and provisions), including Intercompany accounting.
- Provide support as required with manual journals and off-system payments requests ensuring accuracy and compliance with relevant policies.
- Ensure accurate and periodic reconciliations are carried out in line with the entities’ requirement.
- Initiate periodic value for money exercises during the project to ensure use of funds are in line with funder’s guidelines.
- Support the internal budget review through reconciliation and analysis of spend
- Ensure completeness, accuracy and validity of the content of all financial reports to funder.
- Ensure reports to funder are in line with agreed financial reporting standards or any other approach pre-agreed with funder.
- Monitoring and manage any exchange rate fluctuations across the life of the project and report significant variances to project manager for escalation.
- Process or liaise with the relevant designated role to process financial claims against the funder as the need arises.
- To undertake timely processing of invoices to designated workshops, meetings and events according to stated requirements.
- Clearly communicate payment processing requirements and any changes to users and the responsible project manager.
- To undertake the preparation and or processing of special payments approaches in line with British Council Programmes’ requirements.
- Audit travel, procurement and project expenses as may be directed by the project Manager or senior accountant
- Develop project finance files and maintain records and ensure prompt access and retrieval as the need arises.
- Working closely with the Project Manager or Senior Accountant and the Country Finance Team to ensure that due process is followed, and that Nigeria’s finances are managed in line with corporate and client requirements
Team Support and Contribution:
- To assist in taking on responsibilities to support the Programme Finance team where necessary and practical
- Ensure professionalism is demonstrated in own work area and customer / client needs and perspectives are reflected in own behaviours and focus.
- To support the embedding of continuous learning and improvement into the team.
Other Administrative Work:
- As required.
- KaLMA Operations Manager
- KaLMA Team Lead
- KaLMA Project Delivery Team
- British Council Nigeria Finance team
- British Council Nigeria Procurement team
- KaLMA Delivery Consortium partners
- Project consultants, suppliers and vendors
- Passport requirements/ Right to work in country - Current Right to live and work in Nigeria
Assessment Stage: Shortlisting
- Direct contact or managing staff working with children? - Appropriate Child Protection assurance checks in accordance with British Council policy
Assessment Stage: N/a
- Some weekend and unsocial work required
- Travel around Northern Nigeria, Nigeria and other locations will be required from time to time