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Senior Finance Specialist (Lead Officer Controllership)

Rome (Italy)

  • Organization: IFAD - International Fund for Agricultural Development
  • Location: Rome (Italy)
  • Grade: P-4, International Professional - Internationally recruited position - Mid level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Banking and Finance
    • Managerial positions
    • Operations and Administrations
  • Closing Date: 2021-02-05

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Vacancy Announcement Number 1977
Date of Issue 08/01/2021
Deadline for Applications 05/02/2021
Organizational Unit Financial Controller's Div.
Level P-4
Duty Station ROME
Duration of Assignment 2 years FT subject to renewal

Organizational context

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is an international financial institution and a specialized United Nations agency dedicated to eradicating rural poverty and hunger. It does so by investing in rural people. IFAD finances programmes and projects that increase agricultural productivity and raise rural incomes, and  advocates at the local, national and international level for policies that contribute to rural transformation.

Post's organizational accountability

The Financial Controller's Division (FCD) is located in the Financial Operations Department (FOD). FCD supports the mission of IFAD by enabling and protecting IFAD. It plays a key role to support stakeholder confidence and protect IFAD’s clean external audit opinion on IFAD finances, ensuring sound financial practices and internal control at IFAD and providing innovative finance solutions to solve problems and improve decision-making. FCD is also responsible for the integrity, transparency and control of the management of IFAD's resources. As IFAD decentralises, delegation and risks in the field increase, therefore IFAD requires a robust control function to protect its audit opinion and its reputation against fraud, corruption and other risks.

This function ensures compliance with IFAD's Internal Control Framework (ICF), maps key business processes, conducts control assessments on business processes, monitors effectiveness, and provides a Controller's Scorecard that measures key control indicators using technology solutions and digital tools. The Unit promotes a culture of internal control awareness balancing efficiency of business objectives and control measures.

The role includes heading the Controllership Unit to implement the Controllership function at IFAD on all resource streams. The Lead Officer, Controllership Unit and Senior Finance Specialist, would work under the direct supervision of the IFAD Controller and Director, FCD.

The Lead Officer, Controllership Unit and Senior Finance Specialist is experienced professional with sound understanding of financial principles and  financial market practices, applicable regulations, as well as of IFAD’s financial architecture, structure, processes and related policies. His/Her accountabilities include the following in the categories of:

  • Strategic Planning
  • Policy Development and Advice
  • Financial Resources Management
  • Finance Business Partner, and
  • Agent of Change and Managerial Function

The above will support IFAD to enhance business processes and protect IFAD to mitigate decentralization risk. Transforming FOD/FCD's functions to fully automated processes will enhance internal controls and support client service delivery to our decentralized field locations. Supporting innovation and monitoring of Hosted Entities including internal controls aspects relating to IFAD’s Supplementary Funds (including APO’s and Complimentary Contributions), validating for effective planning, management and supervision of functions carried out in these areas.

Key results expected / Major functional activities

STRATEGIC PLANNING: The Lead Officer, Controllership Unit and Senior Finance Specialist contributes to activities and priorities set forth by the strategic development and work plan for the Division. S/He develops specific work plans for the unit s/he manages in line with best practice and prevailing institutional, departmental and divisional strategic priorities.


  • Develop a Unit Charter, Internal Control Framework for operations including taxonomy that will be used as a key framework document of internal controls and serve to mitigate operational risk at IFAD
  • Play a key role to support and exchange information with the FCD Integrity Due Diligence Unit, the Audit and Investigations Division, Enterprise Risk Management Division and other internal Divisions
  • Develop procedures for internal control in consultation with key stakeholders
  • Develop a system repository, system tools/modules to implement the above, fraud software and links to best practice use databases that other IFIs use
  • Implement monitoring tools and Key Control Indicators (KCIs)
  • Develop Reporting mechanism for control failures with adequate capture and reporting relevant items on the corporate risk dashboard
  • Implementing training and awareness as well as control risk champions.


  • Provide leadership on all matters concerning Internal Control, operational risk and manage Unit resources effectively
  • Implement monitoring and review/capture of Key Control Indicators
  • Provide overall leadership and real-time decision making in identifying, assigning internal control risk, measuring and mitigating operational risks to ensure that all departments/divisions/ICOs operate within IFAD's Internal Control Framework which should be created and implemented including early-warning assessments of problems to safeguard IFAD's reputation and minimize losses.  Supervise the design and preparation of periodic reports on operational risks and internal controls and methodologies. Provide strategic and technical leadership on internal controls to support transformation of IFAD into a fully-fledged IFI and support credit rating.
  • Provide advice to the Controller and Director, FCD on various IFAD-wide issues on internal controls/ strategy, and mitigation, guidelines and models.
  • Lead the reforms, development, planning, implementation and supervision of the newly created 
  • Controllership Unit’s goals, strategies and policies to ensure sound financial resources management in IFAD's operations and compliance with IFAD's strategy and policies.
  • Ensure the technical competency, professionalism and high ethical standards for all operational risk and internal control staff members and contribute to enhance the IFAD wide internal control and risk culture. Liaise with counterparts at other institutions, particularly MDB’s/IFIs and UN Partner agencies, to exchange ideas on internal control and operational risk policies and methodologies, and support/provide advice in explaining internal control policies to the financial community as well as other stakeholders including rating agencies;
  • Cooperate with relevant Divisions on comprehensive quarterly, semi-annual and/or annual portfolio report to the stakeholders highlighting key shifts, trends and migrations and other weaknesses in terms of operational risk and internal controls that should be brought to the attention of the Controller and Senior Management.
  • Ensure the technical competency, professionalism and high ethical standards for all staff members. Cooperate with FOD and other Divisions to develop capacity building programs for different stakeholders
  • Implement training and awareness as well as control risk champions.

FINANCE BUSINESS PARTNER: S/He is a credible, trusted partner to stakeholders. S/He supports the Fund’s finance strategy and plans as well as models a commitment to financial integrity by acting as a responsive and constructive service provider with a focus on results. Provides seasoned verbal and written advice and guidance to supervisors and staff on finance regulations, rules and procedures, facilitating a mutual understanding of roles and corporate fiduciary accountabilities in direct support of integrity in the management of the Fund’s financial resources.

Impact of Key results / Key performance indicators

Senior Officers at this level are accountable for authoritative advice and guidance concerning the Fund’s financial policies, regulations and practices and authoritative interpretation to resolve difficult and unusual cases. They make recommendations to senior management on questions of financial policy, including those that may be the subject of inter-organizational consultations. Senior Finance Officers are also accountable for leading and ensuring the requirement for producing various reports to legislative bodies, member governments, and others interested in the activities of the Fund. S/He achieves finance programme goals and objectives through innovative program design or redesign.  The work requires the development of new and/or modifications of existing policies, practices and techniques as well as the review of finance Officer and analyst work performed at lower levels, taking corrective and adaptive actions.

The key performance indicators for Senior Finance Officers at this level include leadership, both technical and team.

Representation / Work relationships

Internally, Senior Finance Specialists are authoritative technical advisers to the Fund’s management, other budget holders and staff in their area of assignment and advocate for accountability and integrity in the allocation and management of the Fund’s financial resources. Contacts extend throughout the organization and include Country Office management, internal auditors and evaluation Officers. Externally work relationships require collaboration and coordination to ensure the effective implementation of financial rules and procedures, with particular reference to the use of donor funding through contacts with Borrowers and Contributing institutions. Supporting the Controller, s/he will also be in direct contact with external auditors and counterparts in other IFI and UN organizations and with senior representatives of key financial service providers and counterparties.



  • Strategic thinking and organizational development: Personal influence (Level 1)
  • Demonstrating Leadership: Leads by example; initiates and supports change (Level 2)
  • Learning, sharing knowledge and innovating: Challenges, innovates and contributes to a learning culture (Level 2)
  • Focusing on clients: Contributes to a client-focused culture (Level 2)
  • Problem solving and decision making: Solves complex problems and makes decisions that have wider corporate impact (Level 2)
  • Managing time, resources and information: Coordinates wider use of time, information and/or resources (Level 2)
  • Team Work: Fosters a cohesive team environment    (Level 2)
  • Communicating and negotiating: Acquires and uses a wide range of communication styles and skills (Level 2)
  • Building relationships and partnerships: Builds and maintains strategic partnerships internally and externally (Level 2)
  • Managing performance and developing staff: Manages staff and teams effectively (Level 1)


  • Authoritative knowledge and experience of the Risk and Control
  • Ability to provide technical and administrative leadership to staff supervised and to develop clear goals that are consistent with agreed strategies.
  • Ability to identify and analyse systemic issues, formulate opinions and make conclusions and recommendations to resolve it.
  • Analytical, organizational and supervisory skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively in a diverse organization tailoring language, tone, style and format to match audience.
  • Aware of best practices in the field of information technology systems and tools.
  • Experience in developing and implementing Risk/Internal Control Frameworks, Policies and Procedures linking and consistent/complementary to the Enterprise Risk Management Framework.

Minimum recruitment qualifications


  • Advanced university Degree or its equivalent in Accounting, Business Administration, Finance, Banking and other relevant areas. The advanced university Degree may be substituted by a first university degree (Bachelor or equivalent) in the above-mentioned subjects plus at least four additional years of relevant professional experience, over and above the minimum number of years of experience outlined below.
  • Professional qualification in CPA, Chartered Accountant, CIPFA designation or equivalent would be an advantage
  • Qualification in risk management, controls or audit would be an advantage


  • At least 8 years of relevant professional experience, including work in international IFIs or financial services industry particularly in risk and control.
  • At least 3 years of experience with managing teams to ensure motivation and high performance Experience in successfully managing projects/programmes using best practice project management methodology

Language requirements:

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English. Working knowledge of another official language (French, Spanish or Arabic) is desirable.

Other information

Applicants should note that IFAD staff members are international civil servants subject to the authority of the President of IFAD, and they may be assigned by him/her to any of the activities of IFAD, including field assignments and/or rotation within IFAD.

In the interest of making most cost effective use of funds and resources, we are only able to respond to applicants who are short-listed for interview. Candidates who do not receive any feedback within three months should consider their application unsuccessful

Candidates may be required to take a written test and to deliver a presentation as well as participate in interviews.

IFAD is committed to achieving gender diversity. Women are particularly encouraged to apply.

We do our best to provide you the most accurate info, but closing dates may be wrong on our site. Please check on the recruiting organization's page for the exact info. Candidates are responsible for complying with deadlines and are encouraged to submit applications well ahead.
Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

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