Essentials of Financial Management and Communication (introductory course)

Using financial skills to maximise organisational and programme impact

Course overview

Click here to download the course leaflet (PDF format).

The five-day course Essentials of financial management and communication is aimed at equipping NGO directors, managers, programme staff, fundraisers, administrators and other non-finance people with an appreciation of finance skills. Whether working at head office or internationally, it provides the ‘essentials’ to effectively and efficiently manage financial resources.

Participants will learn the how to apply financial management within a non-profit setting. It includes: planning and monitoring budgets, using financial information to make the most of available resources, achieving sustainability, managing finance to maximise organisational and programme impact. And also how to communicate effectively about financial management with colleagues across the world and across the office.


In this innovative workshop participants will learn to use the skills confidently, and gain a strong working knowledge of finance and financial management. Participants will be asked to bring documents from their organisation to use during the course.

The practical and interactive sessions use a balance of short inputs, discussions, group work, games and individual activities. The course will allow participants time to adapt the  topics for their own and their partner organisations, with coaching support from the course facilitator.

The course is not only about learning financial skills but also about using them in particular work situations, and helping participants and their organisations to obtain immediate benefit from the learning.

Learning Objectives

 By the end of this course, participants will be able to:

  • use financial management skills to build strong organisational capacity
  • manage budget processes and cash flow and develop the building blocks for financial systems
  • evaluate financial information to help an organisation become more sustainable
  • apply basic financial controls to minimise the risk of errors and theft
  • advise a partner on appropriate financial systems and practices and to build its capacity
  • recognise cultural differences between ‘finance’ and ‘non-finance’ people, and  communicate more effectively when working across cultures

Outline Programme

Day 1:


Financial management and planning:

  • Financial management needs in non-profit organisations
  • Financial and management accounting
  • Budgeting preparation case study
  • ‘Results-based budgeting’

Day 2:

Finance planning and budgeting:

  • Budgeting ground rules and costing principles
  • Budgeting monitoring case study
  • ‘Donor funding grids’ and managing ‘cash flow’
  • Making budgets easier to understand
  • Basic rules of accounting and finance

Day 3:

Financial statements and evaluation:

  • Building blocks of NGO financial records and systems
  • Financial statements: what do they mean and how are they used
  • Reviewing financial statements and using them to build capacity
  • Working with audits and auditors
  • Communication with donors

Day 4:

Strategic financial management and building financial capacity:

  • Sustainably managing ‘reserves’ and strategies for allocating overheads
  • Implementing financial controls and being aware of potential ‘fraud’
  • Financial capacity case study
  • Calculating the ‘true cost’ of activities
  • Improving financial management and programme effectiveness

Day 5:

Financial management communication between finance and non-finance people:

  • Challenges and benefits of communicating finance
  • Identifying work cultures and understanding each other better
  • Practical solutions to communicating finance effectively between ‘finance’ and ‘non-finance’ cultures, and internationally
  • Strategies for improving relationships and programmes
  • Planning for the future

Interested in having this course conducted tailor-made for your organisation? Please contact us.