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Assessing your partners' financial health (NEW 2 day)


Key discoveries

  • How to prepare for a desk review and identify when a field visit is needed
  • Checklists and frameworks for assessing partners' systems and practices
  • Ratio and variance analysis techniques on partner financial reports
  • Fraud risk – what to look for

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Download or print the full course outline here

Course code: WP1 

This is for non-finance staff who need to assess their local NGO partners’ capacity to manage project funds. It covers analytical skills and tools to identify both the strengths and weaknesses in partners' financial systems and reports.

Course costsEarly booking
Standard booking
Individuals, and non-profit organisations with less than £1m income440550
Non-profit organisations more than £1m income550690
For-profit/governmental organisations690860

Who should attend

This course is designed for staff in NGOs and funding agencies whose role includes assessing potential and existing partner organisations’ financial capacity to manage project funds.

For those with no previous financial management experience or training it is recommended that they first attend the companion course Financial management for successful programmes which usually takes place immediately before this course

We recommend that you read this course outline carefully to make sure the content is relevant and meets your learning requirements. If you are not sure if this course is for you, please contact us.

Programme guide

Programme guide

Introductions  and overview
  • Welcome and introductions
  • Course themse and approach
  • Challenges & risks facing your partners
Good practice frameworks
  • The Four Building Blocks of financial management and recomended best practice
  • The Seven Principles of Financial Management
The Desk Review
  • The desk review process
  • Key documentation – what should you ask for
Reviewing the annual financial statements
  • What to look for in Annual Financial Statements
  • Using ratios to give clues about financial status
  • Making sense of the auditor’s report
Financial sustainability and Governance
  • What makes a financially sustainable organisation - Tree of LiFE
  • Using the financial mix matrix to asses partner income
  • Financial management roles and responsibilities of the governing body
Reviewing other documentation
  • Budget monitoring reports – how they work and what to look for
Putting it into practice
  • Practicing the desk review
  • Assessing risk
The field review 
  • The field review process
  • Key people, documents and questions
  • The Four Internal Control actions
  • Some warning signs of fraud 
Summary and action planning
  • Summary of key learning points
  • Action planning
  • Certificates and closing words

Learning outcomes

By the end of the training, you will:

  • Perform a desk-based ('due diligence') review for a partner organisation, using a checklist approach to identify key risks, conclusions and actions.
  • Prepare for a partner site visit to observe finance systems and practices, including identifying who to meet, what questions to ask, and which documents to request.
  • Analyse partners’ audited financial statements to identify financial indicators, including reviewing the auditor’s opinion and calculating financial ratios.
  • Identify 'red flag' indicators of possible fraud when conducting desk-based or on-site reviews.
  • Assess the risk profiles of different partners and determine type of assessment needed.
  • Review the key learning from the course and identify key actions for you going forward.
  • Describe best practice financial management models and assessment frameworks including the four building blocks of financial management, the seven principles of financial management, and the four features of financial sustainability.
  • Describe key financial management challenges facing partners, and the consequences and risks for programme implementation.
  • Explain how the four internal control actions protect an organisation’s money, equipment and other assets from everyday internal risks.
  • List the key financial management roles and responsibilities of the governing body and how to identify signs of weak financial governance.
  • Distinguish between financial reports prepared using a cash or accruals based finance system
  • Recognise the importance of partners managing and financing core indirect costs.
  • Appreciate the importance of assessing financial and programme strengths and weaknesses when working with partners.
  • Recognise the value of a capacity building approach to partner assessment.

Course dates

There are no up-and-coming courses in the open training programme.

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