Key Actions by:

Standard 8: Timely and comprehensive project financial set-up.

Set up a project financial management system based on updated activity plans that supports a quick start-up and effective financial management throughout the project.

Review and document project-specific financial management requirements, roles and responsibilities.

  • Why

    Reviewing and assigning specific responsibility for project financial management tasks at the start of a project lays the foundation for sound project management. When there is clarity among project team members—particularly between finance and program staff—about financial management roles and expectations, CRS can work collaboratively and efficiently to manage project resources and meet reporting requirements.  

  • Who

    • Primary responsible: Project manager/chief of party (PM/CoP)
      • The PM/CoP takes the lead in engaging finance staff and senior management to establish clear roles and responsibilities for project financial management. 

    • Others involved: Head of operations (HoOps); head of programing (HoP); finance manager (FM) and other finance staff assigned to the project (e.g., accountant, finance officer); other project staff with specific financial management responsibilities (e.g., deputy chief of party)  
      • Senior management and finance staff review and confirm individual roles, responsibilities, and deadlines for financial management tasks.

  • How

    Follow these steps to establish clarity on project financial management roles and responsibilities:

    1. The PM/CoP, with support from the HoP, HoOps, and finance manager, convenes a meeting with program and finance staff who will be involved in project financial management and reporting (e.g., additional budget managers from the project team). At the meeting, the team:

    Face-to-face project financial start-up meeting: Good practice is to review project-specific financial management roles and responsibilities and develop the calendar of tasks and deadlines during an internal project financial start-up meeting. Other meeting agenda items could include a review of the operational context questions in the “Questions to Guide Budget Updates” tool (see Standard 8, key action 3); (for externally funded projects) the final donor agreement and financial reporting requirements; signature authority matrix; any special project coding guidance; status of financial management start-up tasks; and how to orient partners to project financial management requirements. If the project has field-based staff, remember to budget for travel so all field-based finance staff and heads of office can participate. To make best use of staff time and project resources, consider planning the project financial start-up meeting just before the project start-up workshop.

    1. The PM/CoP documents the agreed assignments and deadlines and shares with the project team. The project team refers to the assignments, the calendar of tasks, and deadlines throughout project financial management (see Standard 13) and during project review meetings (see Standard 11, key actions 1 and 3), and updates the assignments as needed to reflect any agreement modifications.
  • Partnership
    • While this key action is internal to CRS, it has positive partnership implications: Clarity among the CRS project team about financial management roles and responsibilities helps CRS make sure that the right staff provide support and follow up to partners at the right time during start-up, implementation, and close-out.
    • See Standard 8, key action 6 for details on partner financial start-up.
  • When CRS is a sub-recipient
    • Follow the same process when CRS is a sub-recipient.
    • Be sure that the deadlines in the CRS calendar of financial management tasks, including follow-up with any CRS sub-recipients, allow CRS time to meet the prime’s deadlines.
  • Emergency projects
    • Follow the same process for emergency projects.
    • If there are changes to project staffing during the emergency response, include a review of the financial management roles and responsibilities matrix and calendar of financial tasks and deadlines as part of new staff onboarding.