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Partner and General Finance Officer

Job Description

Fern is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) created in 1995. Our mission is to achieve greater environmental and social justice, focusing on forests and forest peoples’ rights in the policies and practices of the European Union. We do this by co-ordinating NGO networks and by working with partners to achieve change.

We believe that to be effective it is essential to understand and address the social dimension of environmental conflicts; that strong coalitions are more likely to achieve lasting change; and that presenting ways forward is more effective than highlighting problems. We are committed to tackling gender injustice and supporting women’s rights.

We have no director and strive to make decisions by consensus. Details of our current work areas and campaigns can be found on our website. We currently have 18 staff working from two offices, in Brussels (Belgium) and Moreton-in-Marsh (UK), and work with Partner organisations in Ghana, Liberia, Republic of the Congo, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Vietnam, Laos and the UK. The partner organisations are in most cases small NGOs, with varying financial and administrative capacities.

We are looking for a Partner and General Finance Officer to provide strong and professional support to the organisation. The post will be full time, with an indicative split of three days per week working on partner finance related matters and two days providing general financial and admin support to the organisation. There will, however, be flexibility required based on demand and workload. 


1. Partner Financial Management

The Partner Finance Officer takes a lead role on all financial aspects of the relationship with Fern’s partners. This includes leading on resolving issues, working creatively to ensure that Fern’s obligations to its donors are met and coordinating the work of colleagues when this is needed to ensure proper reporting. Specific tasks include:

  • Liaising with partners around funding proposals
  • Preparation and monitoring of partner contracts, budgets and fund transfers.
  • Receiving and checking partner financial reports and associated documentation and ensuring they are in line with Fern and donor guidelines
  • Where partner reports are deficient, either following up with partners or finding an alternative solution. On occasion, this may involve doing tasks directly
  • Visiting partners in country to support with reporting and helping partners to build their financial management capacity
  • Liaising with campaigners around partner financial activity and collaborating with them around common partner support activities
  • Developing guidelines, procedures, tools, presentations, and templates to support partners in achieving quality financial reporting
  • Supporting the Finance Manager in the preparation of financial reports to donors
  • Providing support to Fern and partners, before during and after audit visits.

2. General financial and admin management:

(With colleagues)

  • Supporting planned and ad-hoc financial management tasks for the organisation
  • Maintaining an overview of financial activity on Fern’s large grants
  • Processing and booking payments and partner’s reports into accounting software and filing paper documents
  • Assisting with cash-flow forecasting, particularly in relation to partners’ spend
  • Processing payments, ensuring all are properly authorised, coded and documented
  • Preparing reports and downloading data from the accounting software; supporting colleagues to understand and interpret the information, and responding to their queries
  • Applying the correct exchange rates to accounting entries
  • Liaising with suppliers, staff and others to resolve queries
  • Ensuring legal duties regarding Fern’s statutes in Belgium are completed in a timely manner.

3. Contributing to Fern’s Finance and Administration Team (FAT):

(Jointly with FAT colleagues)

  • Participating in quarterly meetings and weekly calls
  • Establishing objectives and drafting the quarterly work plans
  • Regularly reviewing and updating the House Rules and Procedures
  • Developing job descriptions and participating in recruitment.
  • Travel. As Fern is an international organisation with partners in Africa and Asia, travel will be a necessary part of this role. Occasional travel between the Belgian and UK office may also be required.
  • Flexibility. Fern is a small campaigning organisation, and some flexibility will be required in working hours, for example in the case of preparing urgent funding proposals, budgets etc.

We are looking for someone who is organised, efficient, flexible, and can work effectively in a small team. The successful candidate should be a good team worker, pragmatic and a good planner. This role seeks someone who can be supportive and assertive in an equal measure.


  • At least three years’ experience of relevant financial and administrative management
  • Fluency in French and English
  • Experience of dealing with partner organisations including those with low capacity around financial matters
  • Knowledge of applications and reporting requirements of funders, notably the European Commission
  • Excellent computer skills (Word, Excel, Internet)
  • Ability to handle multiple tasks and competing demands
  • A ‘support minded’ attitude
  • An interest in environmental and social issues.


  • Experience of working for an NGO
  • Fundraising experience
  • Knowledge of (Winbooks) accounting software
  • Knowledge of Belgian regulations (legal, fiscal, social).

Indicative starting salary & working conditions

From €3,509 to €4,341 per month – gross salary (depending on experience), plus lunch vouchers (6€ per working day) and a contribution to travel costs from home to office.


Applications should be made in English and comprise:

  1. CV
  2. a covering letter explaining why you are interested in this job, including what attracts you to Fern and what you could bring to Fern
  3. a short explanation (less than a page) of the steps you would take to deal with a partner organisation who is not adhering to their Partnership Agreement and approved budget.

Applications without a properly prepared covering letter will not be considered. Only selected candidates will be contacted in w/c 10th September.

Deadline for applications: 12pm (CEST) Sunday 9th September 2018

Interview date will be: Thursday 20th September 2018

If you'd like to discuss the job, contact Raphael Koenig

Fern values a diverse work force and welcomes applications from all sections of the community.

The client requests no contact from agencies or media sales.