Helping NGOs do more with their money

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Key discoveries

  • Frameworks, tools and procedures that ensure effective use of project funds
  • How to create accurate project and donor budgets
  • The essentials of project accounting
  • Using financial reports to track and manage project performance


Download or print the full course outline here

Project finance essentials (3 days)

Course code: ES5

This course equips INGO field-based project staff with the essential skills and confidence to ensure good financial management practice in their projects. 


Course costsEarly booking
Standard booking
Individuals, and non-profit organisations with less than £1m income500625
Non-profit organisations more than £1m income625780
For-profit/governmental organisations780975

Who should attend

This course is designed for non-finance project staff in International NGOs who manage or directly implement projects in the field.  You do not need a background in finance to attend this course.

This course is not suitable for finance staff or for local NGO project staff – please see FMD Pro 1:The essentials of financial management

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

Day 1  
Welcome and overview
  • Introductions and overview
  • Personal goals
Good practice frameworks
and tools
  • Key financial management concepts
  • The Seven Principles and Four Building Blocks 
  • Who does what in financial management?
  • Getting organised - coding structures
Financial planning essentials
  • The financial planning process
  • Activity-based budgeting in project management
  • Phasing budgets for project monitoring
  • Cashflow forecasting – having cash when you need it
  • Managing multiple donor-funded projects
Day 2  
Accounting essentials
  • Which records you need to keep - and why
  • The financial accounting process
  • The 3 Ps of procurement: process, people and paperwork
Financial reporting essentials
- internal reports
  • Financial reports – who needs what and when?
  • Understanding the budget monitoring report
  • Variance analysis in project budget management
  • The impact of ‘commitments’
Day 3  
Financial reporting essentials
- external reports
  • Donor reporting and monitoring
  • Understanding the annual financial statements
  • Ratio analysis techniques 
Internal control essentials
  • 4 Key actions - direct, protect, detect, correct
  • Internal control in the field – what goes wrong?
  • The role of audit and the auditor's report
Course summary
  • Making links – summary of key learning
  • Action planning
  • Course evaluation and certificates

Learning outcomes

By the end of the training, you will:

  • create an accurate and complete project budget using the activity-based budgeting technique
  • build a phased budget from a project activity plan for project budget monitoring
  • analyse a funding grid to plan and implement multiple-donor funded projects
  • analyse variances in budget monitoring reports to review and manage project progress
  • analyse financial statements to assess the financial health of partner NGOs
  • apply key policies and procedures needed to safeguard project cash and equipment
  • use the Seven Principles and Four Building Blocks of financial management to ensure robust practice in project systems
  • describe the key organising tools of a financial system, including the Chart of Accounts and cost centres
  • describe the key accounting records you need to keep for accountable and transparent projects
  • appreciate that you do not have to be a trained accountant to understand and use financial management tools
  • recognise the role of financial management in achieving project objectives.

Course dates

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

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