Head of Finance and Administration Unit – Nouabale-Ndoki National Park Republic of Congo

Wildlife Conservation Society

Location: Bomassa, Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park, Republic of Congo

Reports to: Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park Director

Position Type: Full Time

Internal liaison: Park Heads of Unit, Country and Regional Financial and HR teams

Start Date: As soon as possible

Expected travel: National travel in the Republic of Congo

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Organizational Context

The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) is a US non-profit organization founded in 1895. Its mission is to preserve wildlife and wilderness by understanding critical problems, developing scientific solutions and taking conservation actions that benefit nature and humanity. With more than a century of experience, long-term commitments in dozens of landscapes, a presence in more than 60 countries, and experience in the creation of more than 150 protected areas around the world, WCS has accumulated the biological knowledge, cultural understanding and partnerships needed to ensure that wild places and animal species thrive alongside local communities. Working with local communities and organizations, that knowledge is applied to address species, habitat and ecosystem management issues critical to improving the quality of life of rural people whose livelihoods depend on the direct use of natural resources.

Program Overview

For the past 30 years, WCS Congo has been the primary conservation partner of the Government of Congo, providing support to MEF for wildlife and habitat management in several national parks, reserves and protected area buffer zones. Within these sites, WCS develops and implements actions for effective wildlife protection, community-based natural resource management, ecological monitoring, scientific research and environmental education. Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park (NNNP) covers more than 4,000 square kilometers of intact contiguous rainforest in the northern Republic of Congo. The forest is part of the tri-national Sangha Forest landscape, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The area is a stronghold for important populations of large mammals, including forest elephants, western lowland gorillas, and chimpanzees. Established in 1993, NNNP and its buffer zone have benefited from more than 25 years of collaborative management between the Congolese government and WCS to emerge as one of the most successful protected areas for wildlife conservation in Central Africa. In October 2014, WCS signed a public-private partnership (PPP) with the Ministry of Forest Economy (MEF) for the long-term management and financing of NNNP, creating the Nouabalé-Ndoki Foundation as the park’s management entity under a 25-year agreement.

Job Summary:

The Head of the Nouable Ndoki National Park Finance and Administration Unit reports to the Director of Nouabale Ndoki National Park. The NNNP Head of Finance and Administration leads and manages finance, administration and human resources and ensures that it operates as a cohesive, functional unit that provides high-quality, responsive, timely and cost-effective services to the park while remaining compliant with local laws, WCS policies and procedures, and donor requirements for the implementation of project’s activities. She/he performs efficient budgeting, expenditure monitoring, pipeline analysis, and reporting duties in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles and grant requirements for the Park and keeps strict control on the resources allocated.

He/she will maintain appropriate communication and close relationships with NNNP Heads of unit, WCS Congo staff, major donors and funding agencies, and local government institutions. He/she will be responsible for all financial, HR and administrative matters (financial control, reporting, etc..) for the Park.

The Head of Finance and Administration Unit is based in the field and lives permanently at the Park’s headquarters in Bomassa. He/she supervises the Finance Manager, HR Manager and Finance Officers.

Responsibilities:

Financial Planning and Budgeting

  • Support strategic decision-making on finance matters by maintaining an updated budgeted operational plan of NNNP detailing secured funding, planned proposals and gaps in funding.
  • Lead and oversee the annual institutional budget preparation for the NNNP, including oversight of the costing of the annual work plan (PTAB).
  • Ensure the accuracy and updating of data to be entered into the budget system by the Country Director of Finance and Administration throughout the fiscal year to ensure adequate resources are available to achieve program activities and deliverables and to support the monthly cash request to HQ and the pooled cost allocation.
  • Support the technical staff by explaining and monitoring the use of the budgeted operational plan to ensure all activities incurred are all in line with the agreed, approved plan.
  • Develop donor budgets at proposal stage in compliance with WCS and donors’ requirements ensuring any financial gaps are taken into consideration and the budget aligns with the budgeted operational plan.

Financial Management

  • Working closely with the Financial Grant Officer for the review of the monthly budget follow-up for each grant funding activities for the NNNP, both grants that are 100% NNNP and those that are partially funding NNNP;
  • Coordinate with NNNP Program Manager and relevant logistics, finance, and technical staff to review monthly the budget follow-up file. For projects that are delayed, recommend corrective measures to be taken and identify responsible staff for each action.
  • Review all NNNP balance sheet accounts monthly and make sure that for any issues the Country Director of Finance and Administration is aware.
  • Ensure that month end reports and Fiscal Year end reports are accurate, complete, and submitted in a timely manner.
  • Prepare donor financial reports for review by the Country Director of Finance and Administration and ensure any cost share, match or leverage required is met on time and in compliance with signed contracts and donor’s requirements.

Cash Management

  • With the support of NNNP Finance Manager, prepare on-time monthly cash requests for the NNNP, based on budget and cash flow projections, to ensure the project has all necessary funds for operations.
  • Ensure cash baseline and cash limit at site are respected and payment methods implemented are adequately used.
  • Inform regularly the NNNP Director and Head of Units about the financial status of the overall operations and alert the NNNP Director and Country Finance and Administration Director if there are problems anticipated and/or identified,

Subaward Management

  • Ensure management of sub-awardees follows WCS policies and procedures including but not limited to: completing risk assessment, analyzing proposal budget to ensure it aligns with program description, tracking expenses against budget, reviewing invoices, site visits, monitoring reports.

Internal Controls and Audits

  • Ensure proper implementation and respect of internal control systems, WCS policies and guidelines in the Reserve.
  • Serve, in coordination with the Country Finance and Administration Director, as the focal point person for all audit and financial reviews of the NNNP
  • Propose to the senior management when necessary adequate local policies, procedures and tools for optimized financial management considering the realities and contexts of the environment.
  • Coordinate execution of internal/external financial reviews or audits for the NNNP, operational reviews or audits, and ensures timely follow up to all conclusions and recommendations with giving regular status report to the senior management.
  • Lead, coordinate, and supervise local audits relating to accounting, tax, and labor matters

Staff Management

  • Ensure project staff are familiar and compliant with WCS policies and procedures and donors related to accounting, finance and budget, and financial risks through training and mentoring.
  • Provide training and capacity building to the NNNP program and finance staff to ensure they are updated on policies and procedures and accounting internal process and principles.
  • Conduct regular field visits, at a minimum quarterly, and give updates to the Country Finance and Administration Director

Administration and staff management

  • Responsible for recruiting, training, and managing finance and human resources staff for the NNNP.
  • Ensure national staff contracts, worker’s compensation and medical benefits, vacation and work schedules are established in accordance with country program guidelines and following the national labor laws.
  • Ensure that all projects/activities in the NNNP are respecting national legislation regarding customs regulations, labor rights, taxes, and benefits.
  • Oversee expatriate administration to include leave tracking, timesheet completion, home leave travel, R&R travel
  • Perform other duties as assigned and as needed to represent the NNNP on financial matters to partners and stakeholders.

Qualifications and experience required

  • Bachelor’s degree in business administration, preferably with a specialization in accounting. MBA or CPA a plus. Proven ability to develop and implement financial policies and procedures.
  • Significant experience with the financial management of government and agency grants and contracts, experience with KFW, EU, US Government grants a plus.
  • At least three years’ experience managing a financial sector for a business or non-profit organization.
  • Experience working in a developing country.
  • SAP experience a plus
  • Strong analytical, problem-solving, and technical accounting skills
  • Experience in consolidation accounting, external reporting skills, process/control documentation preferred
  • Experience with the Microsoft Office tools (Word, Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint)
  • Ability to manage multiple tasks with different (tight) deadlines and stakeholders
  • Good communication skills, both written and oral, strong facilitation and conflict resolution skills as well as strong analytical skills.
  • English and French required.
  • Proven management skills and ability to work as part of a team within an organization.
  • Ability to live in a remote environment
  • Interest in wildlife conservation and environmental issues

How to apply

Interested candidates, who meet the above qualifications, skills and experience, should send their CV, application letter and three references through thislink by November 15, 2023.

WCS is an equal-opportunity employer dedicated to hiring and supporting a diverse workforce. We are committed to cultivating an inclusive work environment and look for future team members who share that same value.

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