Online course: Essentials of Financial Management (6 weeks)

12 June to 21 July 2017

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Course introduction for participants available online as of June 12

Download the PDF course flyer here .

Financial skills to maximise organisational and programme impact

Good financial management is a key part of any organisation. It is essential to a non-profit organisation not only to keep its information in good order to assist decision-makers, but also to enable sustainability, and provide programmes that have more impact. This course looks at the essential aspects of financial management that you need in a non-profit organisation, as someone in a finance role or as a non-finance person.

The number of participants is limited to 25 persons to facilitate exchanges and discussion on good practices and lessons learned between the participants and the trainer.

Course overview

The course Essentials of Financial Management aims to provide non-profit organisations NGO managers and staff, volunteers and trustees with a working knowledge about financial management. It is designed for NGO programme, administrative and fundraisers staff, and for directors and managers who need to interpret financial systems and information as part of their decision-making. The course is also appropriate for finance staff who need a sound understanding of financial management. Whether working at head office or internationally, it provides the ‘essentials’ to effectively and efficiently manage financial resources.


The course is in six weekly parts and requires a total of about 40 hours of study, or 5-7 hours each week. Each week, we work through the materials, examples, quizzes and video clips making the learning interactive and fun. Many of the activities require you to use your own or another organisation’s (for example partner’s) financial information to help ground the learning within your own workplace.

The assessed final project activity at the end of the course will consolidate much of what you have learned throughout, making use of the activities already completed in earlier weeks. This helps you to build up what you need for the final project as you complete the activities week by week. Additional resources are referred to throughout the course that may be helpful to find out more about the topics covered.

The participants have the support of an expert tutor in NGO financial management, and by using interactive technology, the opportunity to work with others in the same learning cohort. This provides both tutor and peer feedback and opportunities to learn from each other’s experience.


The aims of this course are to:

  1. Provide the basic knowledge, practical skills and confidence to use, analyse and interpret financial information and systems.
  2. Being able to use these skills to have a constructive input to your own organisation and on the work of partner organisations.

Learning Outcomes

The course provides you with skills to build the financial capacity of a non-profit organisation, and to contribute to its financial management.

Course Programme

Pre-course Introductions, information and preliminary activities

This section contains an overview of the course, its aims and learning outcomes, and guidance on how to manage your studies.

Week 1 Financial management, budgeting – planning and monitoring

At the end of this week, you will be able to:

  • Identify key roles and tasks of financial management
  •  Explain the purpose and process of a budget; review a basic budget 
Week 2 Budgeting – more complex examples, donor management

At the end of this week you will be able to:

  • Analyse and ask questions about more complex budgets and budget processes
  • Prepare a donor funding grid from given information 
Week 3 Cash flow forecasting, using budgeting techniques for organisations, and summary of min budget skills

At the end of this week, you will be able to:

  • Explain, prepare and interpret a cash flow forecast
  • Analyse your own organisation’s budgeting documents, asking questions about the content
  • Identify the most important budgeting documents, and say why these are important
Week 4 Linking budget to end of year statements, accounting records, end of year financial statement, and interpreting this for a real organisation

At the end of this week, you will be able to:

  • Explain the connection between the budget and the end of year accounting statements
  • Identify the records and other documents that a non-profit organisation keeps to records its money coming in and going out
  • Discuss how year-end accounting statements are put together 
  • Evaluate and raise questions about the year-end income statement for your own or another organisation
Week 5 The language of accounting, concepts and principles, audit and auditing – use within non-profit organisations

At the end of this week, you will be able to:

  • Apply accounting principles and concepts in a non-profit organisation and discuss the practical impact they might have when working with donors
  • Manage audit and auditors effectively
Week 6 Internal financial controls, identifying weaknesses in organisations, details of project report

At the end of this week, you will be able to:

  • Apply basic internal (financial) controls to minimise the risks of error and theft
  • Identify weaknesses in financial systems
Week 7
  • Additional time to finalise personal project report, if needed (optional).


Practical details

JohnTutor – John Cammack

John was head of international finance at Oxfam GB and senior lecturer in accounting and financial management at Oxford Brookes University.

John is a qualified accountant, manager and teacher and specialises in the international non-profit sector with more than 25 years of experience. His participatory training includes: financial management for non-specialists, training trainers (and specialist courses for training financial trainers), building NGO financial capacity, and developing communication between programme and finance staff. His consultancy work includes programme and financial management reviews for southern organisations, and assessing systems to meet the needs of international donors. John has worked with a range of relief and development agencies across the world, including the Aga Khan Foundation, Amnesty International, Bond, European Commission, Homeless International, Intrac, Oxfam, WaterAid and VSO.

John is author of Building Capacity through Financial Management, Basic Accounting for Small Groups and Financial Management for Development. He co-authored Financial Management for Emergencies. John holds an MSc in Development Management, and an MBA.

Course Certificate

Upon successful participation in the course, the participant receives a Certificate of Completion.


For participants from non-OECD countries: Swiss Francs CHF 450 (ca. Euro 420)
For participants from OECD countries or from organisations with an annual income of more than CHF 1 million: CHF 550 (ca. Euro 510)


For safe payment by credit card, please use the online payment system here.

For inquiries please contact us at


Phone number: +41 22 731 76 66