We had an excellent discussion of best practices for global payments and finance teams at our panel in Washington, D.C. this week. Thank you to our panelists Kevin Haggerty, CFO, ACDI/VOCA, Kote Lomidze, CFO, World Learning, and James Nance, International NGO Payments Specialist, AFEX, for sharing your time and knowledge. For those who were not able to attend, here is a summary from our discussion:
Finance teams are essential to delivering global impact. When finance and payments process is working efficiently it is like good design - you don’t notice it. Efficient finance processes allow project teams to dedicate more time and resources to delivering project impact.
How finance teams can best support project impact:
Establish efficient systems
Having efficient finance systems in place allows project teams to spend more time focused on delivering project impact, and less time on administrative tasks.
Ensure projects have access to needed liquidity
Give project teams access to liquidity when and where they need it. This can range from finding the best foreign exchange rates for your payments, to getting your teams cash on the ground in remote areas.
While the finance process is best when you don’t notice it (because it’s working smoothly), finance teams need to plan for when things go wrong. This can include having the right insurance in place to anticipate potential needs in field offices.
How projects teams help improve the finance process:
Accurately forecast liquidity needs
It can be expensive to send payments overseas, so minimize unnecessary expenses by accurately forecasting monthly project needs. Ideally, you can avoid sending too much funds to a country and have it sit in a foreign bank account, or too little and require additional wires in a month.
Consider sending in local currency, rather than US dollars
Exchange rates at local banks can be unpredictable. By sending in local currency, rather than US dollars and having the payment converted locally, you will know how much will actually arrive in your project account, and can shop around for the best exchange rate for the payment.
Konektid’s team can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AFEX’s NGO global payments team can be contacted here.
A special thank you to Kristin Jaffe for her support to make this event a success.