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Finance Officer


  • Organization: UNHCR - United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
  • Location: Pretoria
  • Grade: Level not specified - Level not specified
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Operations and Administrations
    • 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

February 16, 2023

Standard Job Description

Finance Officer Organizational Setting and Work Relationships In the Regional Bureaux, the incumbent works under the direct supervision of the Regional Controller or Senior Finance Officer and in functional coordination with DFAM¿s Accounts and Financial Service (AFS). In the Country or Multi-Country Offices, the incumbent may be supervised by a Senior Finance Officer, Assistant Representative (Admin), Head of Sub-Office, or other senior positions as delegated by the Representative. The incumbent is responsible for co-ordinating, guiding, monitoring, advising on, and supporting the financial operations in the area of responsibility (AoR). With the objective to safeguard and optimize the utilization of UNHCR¿s monetary and physical resources, the incumbent contributes to the establishment of efficient and reliable mechanisms and processes to ensure compliance with UN financial regulations and UNHCR¿s rules, policies and procedures including, and not limited to, accounts payable and treasury processes, accounting, and implementation of internal control mechanisms, including support to oversight and audit functions. The incumbent also identifies and manages risks under their responsibility in close coordination with the Risk Management and Compliance Advisor. In the Regional Bureaux, the incumbent supports the work of the Regional Controller with authority to discuss problems and seek common ground on which to recommend solutions based on predetermined guidelines provided by higher authority. The incumbent may directly supervise professional and general service staff. 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 - Oversee and guide integrated financial management and reporting for the area of responsibility (AoR). - Assess, review, and ensure application of finance-related policies, instructions, procedures, etc. - Provide advice to management regarding the application of financial policies and procedures and, when necessary, coordinate with the Regional Controller or Office of the Controller, as applicable, regarding the interpretation of such policies and procedures. - Ensure accounting records are correct and reliable, including¿and not limited to¿timely bank reconciliations, maintenance of open items, timely processing of travel financial transactions, clearance of residual requisitions and purchase order balance. - In close coordination with the AFS, support the preparation and review of donor financial reports, and endorse such reports before submission to donors. - Ensure monthly and yearly closing as well as any other periodic accounting-related processes are executed in a timely and accurate manner. - Ensure the maintenance and on-going validity of the Delegation of Authority Plan (DOAP). - Ensure that payments made are timely and accurately, and all month-end and year-end cut-off processes are implemented in line with relevant guidance. - Supervise the preparation of financial reports, monitoring and supervising expenditures with respect to approved budgets and work plans. - Ensure that local bank account administration and associated cash management functions are performed in adherence to financial guidelines - Perform financial management and control related to Cash-Based Interventions in adherence to financial guidelines. - Review and certify vouchers, including ABOD and project disbursements; - Perform project control functions for both directly and indirectly implemented activities, in the absence of a dedicated project control position - Coordinate, review and endorse responses to audit queries from internal and external audits and ensure the implementation of accounting audit recommendations. - Perform other relevant duties as required. Regional financial services applicable to positions in the Regional Bureau only - In coordination with relevant services in HQ, and to improve cost-effectiveness and process efficiency for operations, implement and manage regional finance-related services such as: vendor and other related master data management and maintenance, invoice posting, travel claim processing, payments, bank reconciliations, accounting housekeeping and period cut-off activities, donor financial reporting, etc. - Make proposals for the continuous improvement of financial monitoring and control mechanisms, including the streamlining of financial systems and procedures. - In coordination with DFAM¿s Change Management and Field Support Section and the Global Learning and Development Centre, identify and provide training on accounting matters, and recommend or develop training modules as necessary, aiming at the development of financial management skills. - In close liaison with DFAM¿s System Administration Section and other divisions as necessary, provide and plan activities for rollout of new processes or systems; assist the Regional Controller in monitoring the implementing internal control mechanisms and compliance with UNHCR's financial policies and procedures in the region. Minimum Qualifications Years of Experience / Degree Level For P3/NOC - 6 years relevant experience with Undergraduate degree; or 5 years relevant experience with Graduate degree; or 4 years relevant experience with Doctorate degree Field(s) of Education Accounting; Finance; Public or Business Administration; Economics; or other relevant field. (Field(s) of Education marked with an asterisk* are essential) Certificates and/or Licenses Professional accounting, auditing or financial management designation (CPA/ACCA/CIA/CMA or equivalent) (Certificates and Licenses marked with an asterisk* are essential) Relevant Job Experience Essential Work experience in the field of accounting/finance, project management, business analysis, quality assurance and/or risk management. Excellent knowledge of, and experience in working with, international accounting and auditing standards, with a minimum of two years of practical experience in the audit process and/or in financial statements preparation. Working experience with accrual accounting (such as IPSAS or IFRS). Excellent understanding and/or experience of financial modules a major Enterprise Resource Planning system (such as PeopleSoft, SAP or Oracle). Good understanding of project and resource management. Excellent computer skills, in particular in MS Office applications, especially MS-excel. Excellent communication and negotiation skills. Experience of managing people in multinational/multicultural environments. Desirable Good knowledge of UNHCR systems (such as Focus and MSRP). Excellent knowledge of United Nations financial rules and procedures. Functional Skills FI-General Financial Management FI-Financial auditing FI-International Auditing Standards FI-Financial Accrual Accounting under internationally accepted standards (IFRS,IPSAS,etc) FI-Financial Accounting - Modified cash-based accounting as per international standards (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

The Finance Officer is part of the Financial Management and Oversight Section in the Strategic Planning and Management Services and provides substantive support and guidance to the Senior Management in matters related to finance. He/she reports to the Regional Controller and supervises an Associate Finance Officer (NOB). The incumbent is responsible for guiding, monitoring, and advising on finance matter for the Bureau and country offices.

In view of multiple countries lacking the first line of defence capacity and needing hands-on support and coaching in the region. The candidate must have a proven track record in financial management, accounting, project control, internal control assessment, and internal or external audit. Knowledge and understanding of UNHCR/UN rules, policies and regulations regarding financial management. S/he must demonstrate knowledge of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) or International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS). S/he must be a team player and have a proven ability to identify client needs and match them to appropriate solutions. S/he should be able to work closely with colleagues across sections and pillars. Familiarity with the management of the Finance Unit.

The ideal candidate must have at least 5 years in an international capacity directly relevant to the Finance functions, including exposure to field operations at hardship duty stations. Excellent knowledge and experience in accounting, finance, administration and financial reporting, preferably within the UN system. Excellent computer skills and working knowledge of MS Office software. Highly developed drafting skills.

Being a full member of a recognised professional accounting association (eg ICAS, CPA, CIMA) is highly desirable

Knowledge, and familiarity with African operations and their range of challenges, and issues are beneficial, while French is desirable. Exposure to UNHCR or humanitarian field operations. Prior HQ experience is desirable. Working knowledge of PeopleSoft/Oracle ERP, and RBM Software - COMPASS. Exposure to UNHCR-specific learning/training activities (i.e. UNHCR Management Learning Programme.

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:

Regional Bureau for Southern Africa oversees 16 countries covering Angola, DRC, ROC, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa Multi-Country Office, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The region is impacted by the ongoing conflict in the DRC, insurgency in Mozambique, and the CAR situation, all of which have created displaced persons in need of protection and assistance internally (DRC, Mozambique) and in neighbouring countries (Angola, DRC, Malawi, ROC, SAMCO countries, Zambia, and Zimbabwe). The region is guided by the Bureau’s Strategic Direction and Priorities, the Protection and Solution Strategy and the External Engagement Strategy. UNHCR is heightening efforts to find comprehensive solutions that include cessation, local integration, resettlement and volrep.

The incumbent will report to the Bureau’s Regional Controller, will be the focal person in the Bureau for the Account and Finance Service (AFS) and will ensure that the financial statement complies with UN/UNHCR financial rules and regulations and strive to strengthen the quality of financial management and control in the operations under the Regional Bureau coverage. The incumbent also will be responsible for financial transactions in the Bureau and their adherence to the applicable rules and regulations.  Additionally, as a counterpart in the Region for the Treasury and Cash Services (TCS) will monitor treasury and financial risk management in applying best practices in liquidity and safeguard cash holdings in the operations under the bureau. Other areas the incumbent will be involved in include monitoring compliance on Country financial reports, DOAP, audit queries, and year and month-end account closure. A NOB Associate Finance Officer will support the incumbent.

The incumbent may frequently contact UNHCR offices and provide guidance, support and capacity-building to the operations within the region.. He/she supports the work of the Regional Controller with authority to discuss problems and seek common ground on which to recommend solutions based on predetermined guidelines provided by higher authority.

Living and Working Conditions:

Pretoria is a city located in the northern part of Gauteng Province in South Africa. It is one of the country's two capital cities serving as the executive (administrative) and de facto national capital. The other is Cape Town, the legislative capital. The Central Business District (CBD) of Pretoria has been the traditional centre of government and commerce, although today many corporate offices, small businesses, shops, and government departments are situated in the sprawling suburbs of the city rather than the CBD or in Johannesburg. The city has a population of approximately 1,985,997 as well as large number of foreign nationals.

Pretoria has over the years had very diverse cultural influences and this is reflected in the architectural styles that can be found in the city. The main languages spoken in Pretoria are Pedi, Afrikaans, Tswana, Tsonga, Zulu and English. Ndebele and Sotho are also widely spoken. The living class in Pretoria can be classified as middle to high income earners. The living conditions in South Africa are generally very good.  Housing and basic commodities are readily available.  The country has an abundance of health providers of all sectors.  The country's infrastructure and communication facilities are of international standard and are amongst the best in the African continent. However, in the last couple of years, the electricity generation has been facing challenges and there are scheduled power cuts on a regular basis.

Depending on schooling needs some staff opt to live in Johannesburg (approx. 40 min one way from Pretoria). Crime continues to be of concern and has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and power cuts.  Burglaries (house break-ins) and carjacking are common and those involved are often armed.  ATM fraud is also rampant as well as financial related cyber-crime. Even though the position is based in Pretoria, the incumbent is expected to travel on missions to remote locations in the field, where the quality of life and working conditions would be challenged alongside with security concerns

Additional Qualifications



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


Certified Public Accountant - Other, Chartered Accountant (CA) - Other, Chartered Financial Analyst - Other, Chartered Institute of Management Accountants - CIMA

Work Experience



Accountability, Analytical thinking, Client & results orientation, Commitment to continuous learning, Communication, Empowering & building trust, Judgement & decision making, Managing performance, Managing resource, Negotiation & conflict resolution, Organizational awareness, Political awareness, Teamwork & collaboration

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Add.2 to Bi-annual Compendium 2022 - Part B

Functional clearance

This position requires Functional Clearance
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