Financial Management Specialist

UNOPS, Belgium

Skill Required:, Finance and Accounts
Preferred Experience: 
5 years
Closing Date for Applications: 
5th June, 2018

Job Description

Background information – Cities Alliance

Cities Alliance, which is hosted by UNOPS, is a global partnership for the promotion of cities in poverty reduction and sustainable development. Headquartered in Brussels and supported by a Secretariat, it is a unique partnership with a diverse membership including – global organisations of local authorities, national governments, international non-governmental organisations, foundations, knowledge networks and multilateral organisations – which have come together to strengthen both impacts and coherence in urban development. Cities Alliance is a global leader, with a strong track record in grant making, that supports strategic city planning, slum upgrading strategies and national policies designed to make cities more inclusive and sustainable. Members promote longer-term and integrated work programmes, while actively promoting gender equality throughout all activities. Through UNOPS, the Cities Alliance operates a Multi-Donor Fund supported by an efficient, flexible grant-making mechanism with global reach.

Background information – job specific

Cities Alliance is implementing its 2018-2021 Strategic Plan, with a recalibrated business model combining a Global window for normative work and a Country/City window for operations across Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the MENA region.

To support implementation of the Strategic Plan, the Cities Alliance Secretariat is being strengthened to drive organisational maturity and operational excellence, to ensure strong coordination, organisational alignment and coherence, and to foster and ensure financial sustainability.

All funds to the Cities Alliance are managed through a multi-donor fund, a flexible instrument to manage funds from diverse sources and award grants, with robust fiduciary standards, to different entities across the globe from international institutions to grassroots community organisations.

Cities Alliance is seeking a highly motivated, dynamic and technically skilled Financial Management Specialist who will have the following key responsibilities:

  • Apply and ensure robust fiduciary controls and compliance for all operations funded through the Cities Alliance grant making facility.
  • Ensure all fiduciary aspects of manuals, guidance, and templates for the grant making facility are updated and continuously improved to achieve operational excellence.
  • Participate in teamwork and specific initiatives that support the effective and efficient use of Cities Alliance resources and contribute to the achievement of Cities Alliance mission, vision, strategic objectives and plan.

The Financial Management Specialist will report to the Financial Manager of the Cities Alliance, and work as part of a team to deliver high service standards and fiduciary control of the Cities Alliance grant making facility. The Financial Management Specialist will collaborate closely with the Senior Portfolio Specialist on all grant processes and systems.

Functional Responsibilities

Financial management and fiduciary controls

  • Implement robust fiduciary controls and ensure compliance with UNOPS polices and rules and the Cities Alliance Standard Operating Procedures, Manuals and Guidelines related to grants.
  • Assess the financial management capacity of each project implementing entity and the adequacy of its proposed financial management, including procurement, arrangements to determine acceptable standards and/or whether specific mitigation measures are required.
  • Review the proposed budget and funding sources for each new grant-funded project ensuring that the budgeted activities are consistent throughout the proposal and that budget assumptions and amounts are reasonable and in accordance with Cities Alliance eligibility guidelines on cost category expenditures.
  • Review all financial reports submitted by grantees, provide clear feedback and ensure appropriate actions are taken, including clearance of disbursements.
  • Review audit reports submitted by grantees. As part of ensuring closure requirements for grant-funded projects are fulfilled, take actions to recover funds where necessary.
  • Advise and support the Financial Manager and the Senior Portfolio Specialist on actions necessary to maintain high standards of fiduciary control and operational excellence of the grant facility.
  • Organise and plan work to systematically meet service standards set for areas of responsibility within the grant life-cycle.

Grant processes and systems

  • Ensure all fiduciary sections of manuals and guidelines for the grant making facility are updated and continuously improved to achieve operational excellence.
  • Prepare succinct guidance notes to facilitate a good understanding of fiduciary standards in grant processes.
  • Review and streamline all financial related templates used for grant making, monitoring and reporting to make them more user-friendly for grantees and task managers. Explore advanced features in Excel to automate basic requirements in templates for budgeting and reporting. Work with the Portfolio Supervision team to research, propose and implement e-grant processes to facilitate the grant life cycle process and procedures for grantees.
  • Provide guidance and support to grantees not familiar with the Cities Alliance grant making facility and/or with reduced financial management capacity. Draft short guidance notes for use by grantees.
  • Work closely with the Portfolio Supervision team to design short training sessions for staff on key fiduciary aspects of the grant cycle, and contribute to the continuous improvement of information management systems used to monitor all grant operations
  • Support the team with the preparation of Grant Agreements, and the related financial arrangements for disbursements.

Teamwork and the effective and efficient management of resources

  • Work closely with the Financial Manager and the Senior Portfolio Specialist on operations to ensure all grant-funded projects are on track, compliant, meet all grant and project reporting obligations required by Cities Alliance and UNOPS, and meet performance targets for organisational efficiency.
  • Ensure all documents and reports related to fiduciary control are recorded accurately in the Cities Alliance Information Management system and provide support for all Programme Audit exercises and Independent Evaluations.
  • Participate in teamwork and specific analyses and initiatives that support the effectiveness and efficiency of Cities Alliance grant facility.
  • Participate in other corporate exercises that drive organisational maturity and operational excellence, and contribute to gender equality.
  • Liaise with the Portfolio Management team in ECR/Geneva and other support teams in the Secretariat for transactional support related to grants.


  • Advanced university degree (Masters or equivalent) in finance, accounting and/or business administration. A first level university degree with relevant experience related to the responsibilities of the position may be accepted in lieu of an advanced university degree.
  • A professional qualification such as Chartered Accountant or Certified Public Accountant or ACCA is required.


  • At least 5 years of professional work experience in financial management, public and/or private sector accounting and auditing.
  • Experience of working for the UN system, Global Funds, and/or multilateral development institutions/banks is desirable.
  • Previous work experience is required with grant making organisations and grant making processes, including financial appraisal, risk and compliance assessment, financial and budget analysis, and financial and compliance reporting.
  • At least 3 years’ experience (included in the 5 years overall experience requirement) in dealing with large financial/ERP systems and information management systems.
  • Experience in process design for efficiency and continuous improvement is an asset.
  • PRINCE2 Foundation or a similar project management certification (i.e. PMBOK, PMI) is an advantage.

Languages: Fluency in written and oral English required. Working knowledge of French or Spanish is an asset.


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