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ActionAid International

Senior Head of Finance

About the Role

The Head of Finance is responsible for the financial integrity and financial reporting of the Federation, comprising AAI and the International Secretariat. The responsibilities include:

  • Review and maintain global financial policies, processes and standards;
  • Promote improvements in financial capacity, performance and analysis throughout the organisation;
  • Maintain and develop the financial systems for the Federation, including the integrity of the financial information;
  • Evaluation, develop and implement the Treasury and Investment Management systems for the organisation;
  • Lead the financial planning and reporting of the Federation, ensuring timely and accurate information for decision making;
  • Financial Management of the International Secretariat.

Key Activities

Review and maintain global financial policies, processes and standards

  • Review, develop and improve global financial policies, processes and standards throughout the AAI organisation;
  • Review new accounting standards and provide implementation recommendations;
  • Support the International Head of Internal Audit in promoting improved standards of financial control throughout the organization;
  • Coordinate and support the engagement of finance with key processes such as country reviews, PRRPs, and strategy reviews; providing guidance on new processes, models and frameworks.

Promote improvements in financial capacity, performance and analysis throughout the organisation 

  • Support the rigorous planning, implementation and monitoring of change and development required in IS Finance and across the AAI finance functions globally;
  • Improving the international finance function’s support to the wider AAI community, including the international policy and process framework; planning and reporting; and donor funding processes;
  • Repositioning the global finance function to the heart of the organisation, with a recognised contribution to AAI’s mission and increased financial management accountability across the whole organisation;
  • All of the above to be delivered through active, focused leadership – often beyond direct authority, through robust and compelling analysis and planning, priority setting, global engagement, dialogue and communication, and inter-organisational support.

Maintain and develop the financial systems for the federation, including the integrity of the financial information

  • Responsible for overall governance of Financial systems in AAI in order to deliver AAI’s Financial Systems Strategy in a co-ordinated, cost effective and transparent manner;
  • Develop financial systems to meet the needs of the organisation and lead implementation of new /improved system development, working with IT and key user groups;
  • Maintain the integrity of the aggregated financial data for the organisation and ensure appropriate reports are available to meet user requirements.

Evaluation, develop and implement the Treasury and Investment Management systems for the organisation to optimize efficiencies

  • Develop Investment Strategy for the optimisation and management of funds of the organisation, develop policies, processes and systems to deliver objectives within Finance Transformation Project;
  • Review and update investment policies and monitor performance, reporting to International Finance & Funding Committee;
  • Manage the banking and investment relationships;
  • Optimise the cash management and foreign currency management for the organisation.

Lead the financial planning and reporting of the Federation, ensuring timely and accurate information for decision making

  • Coordinate the financial elements of the organisation’s long term and operational planning processes, in conjunction with the Planning team;
  • Coordinate the process for quarterly and annual financial reporting across the organization, and for producing quarterly and annual financial accounts on an aggregated basis;
  • Preparation of the statutory accounts on an aggregated basis for the organization, monitoring developments in IFRS and adopting best practice reporting, including Integrated Reporting;
  • Responsible for co-ordinating the audit of the aggregated accounts and liaison with country finance teams;
  • Manage the relationship with the external auditors;
  • Support decision making by International Board and International Secretariat by providing relevant financial information and analysis and ensuring that financial risks and tax implications are identified and considered;
  • Monitor the external economic climate (to include foreign exchange rates, interest rates, inflation rates), identify how this will affect the organisation and disseminate this information appropriately;
  • Where there are decisions with major financial implications such as multi country donor projects, work with Programmes to ensure guidance on the process to ensure that financial/risk/ability are considered;
  • Working closely with Fundraising to plan, monitor, analyse and report on performance for the Federation.

Financial Management of the International Secretariat

  • Lead the IS Finance team in delivering efficient and effective financial and management accounting for the International Secretariat;
  • Implement process and system changes to deliver improvements in financial accounting, controls and reporting for IS Finance;
  • Co-ordinate the financial elements of the International Secretariat budgeting and planning process, including issuing appropriate instructions and templates for the collection of financial plan and budget information and producing activity based financial plans and budgets.

People Management 

  • Recruiting staff in line with AAI HR policies;
  • Conducting probationary reviews with staff and annual performance reviews (performance management) to support staff development;
  • Building and motivating teams and managing effectively from a distance;
  • Providing strategic direction to team members;
  • Raising the capacity of our Finance staff across the organisation;
  • Monitoring the team’s performance against the agreed organisational standards and facilitates resolution of obstacles;
  • Supporting both the professional and personal development of the staff ensuring they are able to be proactive on all matters thus maximising and integrating the effectiveness of the service they provide to fulfil organisation goals and plans;
  • Fostering the necessary consultation, communications and good relations within the wider Finance community including staff of member organisations.

Relationships & Stakeholders

Key Relationships / Ways of Working – Stakeholder Engagement:
  • Finance & Funding Committee;
  • Finance Transformation Project;
  • Coordination and Collaboration with key stakeholders and establishing appropriate Networks to achieve Federation strategic organisational objectives.
Internal Stakeholders (to AAI or team):
  • Fundraising, IT, Programmes, including M&E, Planning and HR. 
External Stakeholders:
  • Auditors, Insurance Brokers;
  • Key Banking relationships (preferred bankers, foreign exchange providers) and Investment Managers;
  • Peer INGOs


  • Value Practice – A strong commitment to develop, promote and practice AAI’s vision, mission, values and strategy;
  • Women’s Leadership and Gender – Committed to Gender issues with a strong focus on women’s leadership;
  • Collaboration – Champion cross functional learning, participate (where applicable) in international platforms and cross functional project.

Person Specification 

Education, Language and Qualifications

  • Professional Accounting Qualification.

Essential Knowledge, Skills and Experience 

  • Significant post qualification experience;
  • Experience of working in an international environment;
  • Experience in managing change to deliver improvements in business processes;
  • Experience of Procurement, Tax and Treasury Management;
  • Knowledge and/or experience of the Not for Profit, NGO and/or development sectors;
  • Ability to think strategically, to delegate where appropriate, to prioritise competing demands, to influence a peer group;
  • Proven track record in management and motivation of technically skilled senior and junior staff;
  • Able to demonstrate excellent communication and influencing skills. Fluent spoken and written English;
  • Strong influencing skills – able to positively build peer working relationships and be effective without having to rely on authority;
  • Commitment to AAI’s vision, mission, values and way of working;

Desirable Knowledge, Skills and Experience 

  • Experience of electronic accounting packages, including Sun systems;
  • Experience of financial consolidation/aggregation packages

Competency Profile

  • Strategic Perspective – Understands the viewpoint of higher management and effectively analyzes complex problems;
  • Change Management – Uses effective strategies to facilitate organisation change initiatives and overcome resistance to change by involving others, listening and building commitment;
  • Decisiveness – Prefers quick and appropriate actions in many management situations;
  • Leading Employees – Attracts, motivates, and develops employees;
  • Building Collaborative Relationships – Builds productive working relationships with co-workers and external parties, whilst valuing people of different backgrounds, cultures and demographics;
  • Communication – Expresses ideas clearly and concisely; disseminates information about decisions and plans;
  • Leading with Purpose – Has personal direction and is not easily sidetracked by details or workload;
  • Credibility – Acts in accordance with stated values; follows through on promises; uses ethical considerations to guide decisions and actions;
  • Taking Initiative – Takes charge and capitalizes on opportunities.

Reporting Line

  • Reporting to: Director of Finance & IT
  • Direct Reports:
    • IS Financial Manager
    • Treasury Manager
    • Financial Planning & Reporting Manager
    • Finance Business Partner
    • Finance Manager – Restricted funded Projects