International Treasurer

I. MSF INTERNATIONAL

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international, independent, medical humanitarian organisation that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, healthcare exclusion and natural disasters. MSF offers assistance to people based only on need and irrespective of race, religion, gender or political affiliation.

MSF International is the legal entity that binds MSF’s 19 sections, 23 associations and other offices together. Based in Geneva, MSF International provides coordination, information and support to the MSF Movement, as well as implements international projects and initiatives as requested.

II. POSITION BACKGROUND

This document sets out the responsibilities of the Treasurer by reference to:

  • Advising the International Board (IB) on specific financial risk and management of the Association
  • The association’s statutes and internal rules
  • The terms of reference of the Audit and Risk Standing Committee (A&RSC), of which the Treasurer is the chairperson

III. PLACE IN THE ORGANISATION

The appointed Treasurer is a non voting member of the MSF International Board.

The International Board manages the Association with specific powers as delegated by the International General Assembly.

The International Board comprises the following voting members:

  • the President of the Association; and
  • one representative for each Operational Directorate (a president or another board member); and
  • persons elected by the International General Assembly; their total number (excluding the President) equals the number of representatives of Operational Directorates plus one.

IV. OBJECTIVES OF THE POSITION

The responsibilities of the Treasurer can be summarised by reference to:

  • Advising the International Board (IB) on specific financial risk and management of the Association
  • The association’s statutes and internal rules
  • The terms of reference of the Audit and Risk Standing Committee (A&RSC), of which the Treasurer is the chairperson

V. MAIN RESPONSIBILITIES

Advising the IB on specific financial risk and management of the Association

  • providing specialist input to the IB on the financial reporting and internal control implications and impact of matters raised at the IB.
  • support the IB in questioning the pertinence of structural financial and fund-raising set-ups and investments with high monetary stakes for the movement
  • reviewing the financial part of the Executive’s annual workplan that is submitted to the IB for approval.
  • understanding the current and projected future financial situation
  • consult, challenge and support the communication and inter-relationship between the executive and associative in financial matters
  • in other words, taking responsibility for movement-wide financial matters.

Statutes and internal rules

Governance provisions concerning the Treasurer of the IB are to be found in the Statutes of Médécins Sans Frontières International in articles 22 and 27 (see Appendix 1) and in the Internal Rules in section 3.6 (see Appendix 2).

The responsibilities mentioned in the statutes and internal rules can be summarized as follows:

  • With the assistance of the Secretary General, prepare the annual financial statements of the Association (i.e. the International Office (IO)) in accordance with the Swiss Code of Obligations.
  • With the assistance of the Secretary General, prepare the International Combined Accounts (ICA) of the movement.
  • With the assistance of the Secretary General, submit the IO financial statements and the movement’s international combined accounts, plus the IO budget of the next year, to the IB.
  • Submit the IO accounts and ICA to the IGA.

“With the assistance of the Secretary General” means that the tasks described are executive functions for which the Treasurer has an associative, non-executive oversight responsibility. In practice, this responsibility involves close coordination with:

  • In the case of the IO financial statements:
    • the IO Finance Director and
    • the external auditors of the IO financial statements
  • In the case of the International Combined Accounts:
    • the International Finance Coordinator (IFC),
    • the FinDir (via the IFC) and
    • the external auditors of the ICA.

The Treasurer has to provide input:

  • At the stage of planning the preparation of the accounts, on, inter alia:
    • the timetable,
    • the accounting policies,
    • the first draft of the financial statements; and
    • problems to be expected from specific individual sections, based on previous years’ experience.
  • At the stage of planning the audit, on, inter alia:
    • the scope of the audit
    • the level of the audit fees
    • the audit timetable; and
    • the auditors’ response to proposed accounting policies.
  • At the finalization of the accounts, on, inter alia:
    • delays experienced in obtaining information from other sections,
    • technical accounting questions,
    • the preparation of the accounts themselves,
    • negotiating with the auditors regarding changes that they wish to see made to the accounts; and
    • reviewing and agreeing presentations from the finance team and from the auditors to the A&RSC and to the IB.

As can be seen from the above, the statutes and internal rules focus on the role of the Treasurer regarding the financial statements. However, this does not give the full picture of the Treasurer’s responsibilities.

A&RSC

The Treasurer’s responsibilities are set out in more detail in the ToR of the A&RSC (see Appendix 3). The main areas of responsibility mentioned in that document are:

  • Financial reporting (partly covered above under statutes and internal rules)
  • Risk management and internal controls,
  • Liaising with the external auditors (partly covered above under statutes and internal rules).

Financial reporting encompasses not only the annual financial statements mentioned in the statutes but also the annual treasurer’s report presented to the IGA. This, like the statements themselves, is prepared initially by the IFC, after discussion with the Treasurer, is reviewed by the Treasurer, and then goes through several iterations after presentation of drafts to the A&RSC and the IB.

Risk management and internal controls is a broad topic. This is primarily an executive responsibility but the associative, as ultimate bearer of responsibility, has a critical oversight role. It is a responsibility that begins at section level but that has an important movement-wide dimension because so many risks potentially have an international impact.

Under the heading of risk management, the A&RSC has for example included on its agenda:

  • Monitoring the movement-wide roll-out of a risk management assessment
  • Considering how to measure the need for reserves
  • Monitoring the RSA check-in process
  • Monitoring financial performance during the year, including the topic of interim financial reporting
  • Understanding the status of audit committees and internal audit functions at section and/or group level

The approach to most of the matters that fall within the scope of the A&RSC involves:

  • Liaising with the IFC and the FinDir on the matter under consideration
  • Presenting or inviting the IFC to present the matter to the A&RSC
  • Reporting to the IB on the matter.

VI. PROFILE REQUIREMENTS

  • Commitment to the aims and values of Médecins Sans Frontières
  • Experience of preparing and/or auditing financial statements
  • Strategic financial management experience
  • Risk assessment experience
  • Ability to communicate financial matters to a non-financial audience
  • Technical accounting knowledge.

This experience is critical in commanding the respect of decision makers in the organisation.

VII. LOCATION

Most of the work can be done remotely. There is no need to be in an MSF office except for face-to-face meetings. Meetings include:

  • the IGA, usually three days, once a year
  • IB meetings, usually two days (around six per year, usually in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Brussels, Geneva, Paris)
  • meetings of the A&RSC, usually a half-day (around four or five a year)
  • meetings with financial management (mainly the IFC and the IO FD) in Geneva, as and when required
  • meetings with the auditors (of the IO and of the ICA) in Geneva; and
  • partial attendance (both to learn and to demonstrate the IB’s interest) at FinDir meetings and Combination Accounting meetings at various locations.

Starting date: As soon as possible
Contract: 30%
Term: 3 years. (A Treasurer may serve a maximum of two consecutive terms.)
Remuneration: CHF 33,000 (for 30% position)

Deadline for application: 30 September 2013

Please submit all applications only by email to: IO-recruitment.gva@msf.org stating “International Treasurer” in the title

Please submit only one zip file containing your CV and cover letter and name the zip file with your last name

Only short-listed candidates will be contacted. Short Listed Candidates will be asked to be available for interview on 11 September 2013.