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Regional Controller

Panama City

  • Organization: UNHCR - United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
  • Location: Panama City
  • Grade: Level not specified - Level not specified
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Accounting (Audit, Controlling)
    • Administrative support
    • Banking and Finance
  • Closing Date:

Hardship Level

A (least hardship)

Family Type


Family Type


Residential location (if applicable)



Staff Member / Affiliate Type



Regular > Regular Assignment

Remote work accepted


Target Start Date


Job Posting End Date

December 15, 2022

Standard Job Description

Regional Controller Organizational Setting and Work Relationships Under the direct supervision of the Director of the Bureau/Division, or delegated staff member, and with the functional oversight of UNHCR's Controller, the Regional Controller is responsible and accountable for guiding, monitoring, advising on, and supporting the comprehensive financial and administrative management of the offices in the region. The incumbent typically represents the Bureau/Division in all management discussions regarding financial resources. As per delegation from the Director of the Bureau/Division, the Regional Controller, as part of the Bureau's multi-functional team, analyses, advises and makes recommendations, or decisions - based on delegation - on content, prioritization, and presentation of programme, administrative, and staff budgets and on the financial and administrative operation; in full compliance with UN/UNHCR rules and regulations and in consideration of funding or donors¿ requirements. S/he will provide analysis and advice on all resource allocation and reallocation processes in particular during the annual planning and mid-term review and programme implementation. The incumbent also supervises budget, finance and project control staff, and interacts with several parts of the Organization to coordinate, monitor, guide, and assist on financial and resource management aspects based on predetermined policies, instructions, and guidelines, in coordination with UNHCR's Controller and other services and sections in the Division of Financial and Administrative Management (DFAM). The incumbent may also contact external stakeholders, such as UNHCR-funded partners, governments, or donors on financial management subjects to ensure safeguarding UNHCR's interests. In the Regional Bureaux, the incumbent is responsible for ensuring, in an effective and efficient manner which supports the Organization's Mandate, overall quality assurance and managerial support of operations, in line with the Bureau¿s 2nd line function, within the three lines of defence conceptual framework for effective control and risk management adopted by the UN system. S/he will, further, cover the full spectrum of managerial oversight, manage performance and monitor the adherence of Country Operations to UNHCR's rules and regulations, monitoring, identifying and addressing any emerging issues and risks as appropriate. The incumbent also promotes a culture that is results-oriented, efficient and based on trust and pursues measures to ensure that inclusion, gender balance and diversity are taken into due consideration in staffing, resource allocation and representation at all levels throughout the region. As a key custodian of the organization's standards of conduct, s/he will proactively establish a working environment where all personnel feel safe, heard, equipped and empowered to speak up; demonstrate no tolerance for sexism, gender inequality, discrimination of any kind, abuse of power, harassment or sexual harassment; foster ongoing dialogue on those matters; take seriously all issues of inappropriate behaviour and actions reported, whether formally or informally; and seek guidance and support as necessary to ensure that appropriate follow-up is taken, working on the basis of zero tolerance for any form of misconduct. All UNHCR staff members are accountable to perform their duties as reflected in their job description. They do so within their delegated authorities, in line with the regulatory framework of UNHCR which includes the UN Charter, UN Staff Regulations and Rules, UNHCR Policies and Administrative Instructions as well as relevant accountability frameworks. In addition, staff members are required to discharge their responsibilities in a manner consistent with the core, functional, cross-functional and managerial competencies and UNHCR's core values of professionalism, integrity and respect for diversity. Duties - Participate in the development and implementation of regional financial management objectives aligned with UNHCR's strategy. - Monitor, guide, and support the management of all financial resources in the region - including position management and project control - throughout the Programme Management Cycle; following-up as required to ensure the application of policies, instructions, and best practices; the cost-effective use of resources; and the prevention, mitigation, and solution of problems and challenges. - Monitor and guide the implementation of internal control mechanisms to prevent fraud and mismanagement, ensuring compliance with UNHCR's policies and procedures related to administrative and financial management; support internal and external audit work and verification missions in the region. - Oversee and ensure the provision of first-line support, guidance, and capacity development to the financial and administrative staff as well as other staff with financial and administrative responsibilities. - Support the regional annual planning for financial requirements, providing useful analysis that include, but is not limited to, past trends and future projections, reviewing and ensuring the quality, coherence, consistency, and completeness of budget submissions; making proposals for the initial allocation and subsequent reallocations of resources during the programme cycle, so that the use of available resources is prioritised and optimised. - Review resource requirements contained in proposals to donors as part of the internal endorsement process with a view to seeking adequate coverage of all budget categories (Staff, ABOD, and Operations) considering relevant risk management aspects and funding of prioritized activities. - Monitor and support the regional management of financial accounting, treasury as well as procurement and Cash-Based Intervention (CBI) operations as they relate to financial management, to ensure adequate application of policies, instructions, and guidelines, safeguarding UNHCR's assets. - Support and provide financial analysis and input to reports, including the mid-year and year-end reports, Global Appeal, Global Report, reports to donors, etc. as well as specific reports requested by the Director, UNHCR's Controller, or other Headquarters units. - Liaise with governmental, intergovernmental, and other partner entities on resource management issues with a view to ensuring smooth implementation of UNHCR's activities and represent the Organization at relevant regional internal and external meetings regarding administrative and financial management. - Performs other duties related to financial management as required. - Act as focal point for internal and external audit. - Perform other related duties as required. Minimum Qualifications Years of Experience / Degree Level For P5 - 12 years relevant experience with Undergraduate degree; or 11 years relevant experience with Graduate degree; or 10 years relevant experience with Doctorate degree Field(s) of Education Business Administration; Accounting; Finance; Economics; or related field (Field(s) of Education marked with an asterisk* are essential) Certificates and/or Licenses Not specified. (Certificates and Licenses marked with an asterisk* are essential) Relevant Job Experience Essential Work experience relevant to the function such as programme, administration, and finance at least 4 years of which should be in an international capacity. Experience in financial management, accounting, budgeting, internal control assessment, internal audit and/or external audit at regional or global level in multi-million dollar operations. Experience in the financial management of humanitarian or emergency operations in the field. Experience advising Senior management on financial management matters, including the application of finance-related policies and instructions. Experience in liaising with governmental and diplomatic authorities as well as with international institutions, and partners. Experience in statutory reporting and/or management reporting. Knowledge and understanding of UNHCR/UN rules, policies, and regulations regarding financial management. Knowledge of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) OR International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS). Proven ability to identify client needs and match them to appropriate solutions. Excellent level of computer literacy in particular, experience in computerized accounting systems and software. Desirable Professional qualification in accounting (CPA, CMA or CA or equivalent). Applied knowledge of UNHCR's mandate and protection principles. Exposure to UN field operations. Exposure to humanitarian operations. Working knowledge in French. Functional Skills UN-UN/UNHCR Administrative Rules, Regulations and Procedures FI-Financial Accounting - Modified cash-based accounting as per international standards BU-Budgeting (Functional Skills marked with an asterisk* are essential) Language Requirements For International Professional and Field Service jobs: Knowledge of English and UN working language of the duty station if not English. For National Professional jobs: Knowledge of English and UN working language of the duty station if not English and local language. For General Service jobs: Knowledge of English and/or UN working language of the duty station if not English. All UNHCR workforce members must individually and collectively, contribute towards a working environment where each person feels safe, and empowered to perform their duties. This includes by demonstrating no tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse, harassment including sexual harassment, sexism, gender inequality, discrimination and abuse of power. As individuals and as managers, all must be proactive in preventing and responding to inappropriate conduct, support ongoing dialogue on these matters and speaking up and seeking guidance and support from relevant UNHCR resources when these issues arise. This is a Standard Job Description for all UNHCR jobs with this job title and grade level. The Operational Context may contain additional essential and/or desirable qualifications relating to the specific operation and/or position. Any such requirements are incorporated by reference in this Job Description and will be considered for the screening, shortlisting and selection of candidates.

Desired Candidate Profile

Previous working field experience with UNHCR, sound knowledge of UNHCR transformation, system and processes, proven high level analytical and change management-oriented attitude; ability to manage a team, proven coordination skills, training and capacity building skills and excellent command of English, both written and oral. Spanish language skills are considerered as an asset for this regional position.

Required languages (expected Overall ability is at least B2 level):


Desired languages



Operational context

Occupational Safety and Health Considerations:

To view occupational safety and health considerations for this duty station, please visit this link:

Nature of Position:

The Americas Regional Bureau cover an extensive geographical portfolio represented by 14 field operations (22 countries) including more than 100 UNHCR field locations throughout the Americas and the Caribbean region.  S/he will directly supervise the Admin Unit of the Regional Bureau, the regional Budget, Finance, Project Control, and ICT functions.  The position involves traveling in the Americas region and the incumbent will provide support and advice to the Head of Strategic Planning and Management Service and working in close coordination and collaboration across the three pillars of the Bureau and the Inter Agency coordination Platform (R4V and MIRPS) and the Bureau MFT. The most relevant desirable attributes are:

-Previous working experience within UNHCR (HQ and field locations)

-Sound knowledge of UNHCR transformation, the new system, processes, financial rules, and regulations

-Proven high level analytical, planning skills and change management-oriented attitude.

-Ability to manage a team, proven coordination skills as he/she will be frequently liaising with Country Representations across the region

-Ability to identify innovative and creative solutions to operational challenges.

-Experience in designing, implementing, and evaluating projects/strategies

-Demonstrated training and capacity building skills relevant experience

-Excellent command of English, both written and oral. Spanish is desirable for this position.

Living and Working Conditions:

-Panama City is classified 'A' Duty Station (Family) and has good infrastructure (health, housing, banking, transportation, telecommunications and recreational facilities) and good supply of goods and services, with no particular health hazards.


Additional Qualifications



BA: Accounting (Required), BA: Business Administration (Required), BA: Economics (Required), BA: Finance (Required)


Work Experience


Accountability, Analytical thinking, Change capability & adaptability, Client & results orientation, Commitment to continuous learning, Communication, Empowering & building trust, Judgement & decision making, Leadership, Managing performance, Managing resource, Organizational awareness, Planning & organizing, Strategic planning & visions, Teamwork & collaboration

UNHCR Salary Calculator


Bi-annual Compendium 2022 Part B – November 2022#4LKDN - job post also available on LinkedIn

Functional clearance

This position requires Functional Clearance
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