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Manager, Financial Systems

Job Summary

This position is one of six management positions reporting to the Director, Finance and Administration.  The Manager is a key resource whose main function is to support the financial operations of the IDRC, the integrity of financial information as well as appropriate application of internal controls within the Centre’s corporate financial systems.
The duties of the incumbent fall into four principal areas:
a. Financial systems implementation and improvements ;
b. System administration;
c. Training and user support;
d. Division management, which includes reporting.

The incumbent is a full member of the Finance and Administration division’s management team and participates in key strategic and operational discussions and decisions on financial and administration issues, priorities, systems, processes, performance indicators, human resources and budgets. The Manager provides strategic direction, contributes to the development of policies, and initiates projects in support of IDRC’s strategic goals. This includes developing workplans and budgets to guide the work of the team of financial professionals.
This position, while primarily occupied with the management of financial systems, serves as a bridge for functional areas with critical information systems. It is a key resource for managing IDRC’s financial information systems both for the security and integrity of the information as well as the application of proper internal controls.

Primary Duties or Responsibilities

Financial Systems Implementation and Improvements

• Collaborate with the functional teams in the planning, design, development and deployment of new applications and enhancements to existing applications. Assess the vendor development strategies and determine the impacts on the long and short-term lifecycle planning process for financial system upgrades and new application or system procurement.
• Review and analyze the effectiveness and efficiency of existing financial systems and develops strategies for improving or further leveraging these systems, including interfaces between systems.
• Work with functional managers to define business and financial requirements and system goals, and identify and resolve system issues.
• The Manager must pay close attention to transaction security, adequacy of internal controls, segregation of duties as well as fraud detection.
• Stays current on electronic data interface standards used by IDRC’s financial institutions. Makes adjustments to the customized interfaces when needed, paying particular attention to the security of the data interfaces.
How this is done
Stays current on future software developments by attending vendor and user group conferences and reading their publications.

• Carries out, as needed, detailed documentary research (sometimes contacting vendors and other organizations using the same applications in use at IDRC) on current or new applications.
• Carries out testing in a parallel, non-production, environment to gain an understanding of system functionalities being investigated.
• Liaises with the Information Management and Technology Division (IMTD) to ensure the compatibility of software standards, application configurations and customization standards with existing products and existing corporate architecture.
• Coordinate and perform in-depth tests for end-user reviews, modified and new financial system processes and/or systems as well as other post-implementation support. 
• Leads and convenes working groups to solve specific problems identified by users or by management.
• Creates user requirements to solve specific user or organizational problems. These requirements are also used for cost estimation and further technical design. Requirements may be defined in consultation with other managers and IT and take into consideration cost, user needs, out-of-the-box functionality and the impact on future upgrades. 
• Reviews and assesses impacts on financial systems of the implementation of upgrades to IDRC infrastructure and systems — assigns a subordinate or self to monitor projects with potential impacts on financial systems;
• In instances where the incumbent is the project leader, the Manager defines the scope of the projects, identifies project human resources requirements (internal and external), assigns subordinates to project teams and makes requests to other managers for the provision of staff to such teams. The Manager also provide the necessary support to ensure the project is completed in a timely and successful manner by monitoring progress against timetables and evaluating the quality and accuracy of work. In the discharge of his duties, the incumbent must demonstrate sound judgement and apply state-of-the-art principles embodied in the PMBoK (Project Management Body of Knowledge). 

System Administration

• Responsible for the integrity of access, data and system interfaces (internal and external):
o Provides a timely response to system-related interruptions of critical business processes or of critical interfaces (e.g. to banks);
o Ensures that exception reports are prepared, analyzes the exception report outputs and applies necessary remedial actions;
o Ensures systems security by limiting access to duly authorized users;
o Maintains the various levels of responsibility for access to the Financial Systems;
o With instructions from Finance and Administration line managers, assigns appropriate permissions to each user — disables departing users as soon as notified by the Human Resources division;
o Checks the activity of the various users with the user access reports provided by the financial system — enforces user access policy when necessary;
o Coordinates the semi-annual user access review for onward submission to the Chief Financial Officer via the Director, Finance and Administration.
o Develops, with input from the various stakeholders, system access policies and procedures;
• In response to issues, troubleshoots solutions where the systems are customized or researches solutions in the software vendor’s knowledge database.
• Logs cases with vendor or internally for issues that cannot be resolved by the unit. Update cases as required. Ensures timely response by vendors and by IDRC employees to these cases. Escalates to senior management when cases are not being addressed in a timely manner.
How this is done
Troubleshooting involves a number of detective, analytical and technical skills. The ability to present a correct diagnosis is critical to maintaining the smooth flow of financial transactions.

• Ensures that analyses carried out by subordinates and by self, lead to the identification of causes for exceptions — emphasizes the detection of user training needs and of dysfunctional business processes.   


Training and User Support

• Sees to the provision of frontline support to the 200+ financial system users — the majority of requests received directly by the Unit (and the balance being routed from the Service desk) distributes these tasks amongst the members of the Financial Systems Unit; responds to user questions and issues in a timely and knowledgeable manner.
• Ensures that system documentation is kept current, relevant and properly saved and indexed on the Intranet or in IDRC’s corporate electronic filing system — is responsible for the primary Financials applications while subordinates provide the documentation of secondary systems (travel expenses, purchasing, fixed assets, etc.). Works in collaboration with the division’s Process Coordination and Policy Officer to see that relevant policies and procedures are updated as a result of business process system changes.
• Ensures that users are trained in the use of the financial systems and that existing training is kept current, especially in cases where there are changes in position or job responsibilities — in practice, the Manager provides the training in the main Financials applications while subject matter experts provide the training in secondary systems (travel expenses, purchasing, fixed assets, etc.); which is to include, as much as possible, business policies and procedures dimensions.
• Ensures that knowledge of key financial information systems is properly documented and that this documentation is provided to employees of the division (e.g. application configuration, security issues, transaction audits, financial data warehouse configuration, report structures, etc.).

Division Management (including reporting)

• Assess and determines the adequate data retrieval methodologies in order to respond to various reporting requirements in a timely and efficient manner.
• Sees to the maintenance of ad-hoc reporting capabilities in the Unit to address operational needs — ensures that internal clients are involved in the identification of reporting needs, during the development and testing phases to ensure efficient and satisfactory end results.
• Participates as a member of the Finance and Administration division’s management team in the development of the division’s policies, procedures, guidelines, standards, and strategies to guide senior management at Head Office and in the Regions in conducting communications activities at their level.
• Works with the Director, Finance and Administration and the Managers in the division to develop objectives, set priorities, and participate in planning for the division.
• Manages a team of financial professionals including all aspects of human resources: hiring, orientation, professional development, planning work and priorities, monitoring progress, as well as assessing and managing performance.
• Understands corporate and divisional priorities and translates them into actions and a work plan for his unit and for the division. Assists the management team in the review of financial policies and procedures so as to ensure that they can be supported by the available system functionality.
• In collaboration with other division managers, the Manager develops long- term plans for the incorporation of emerging technologies and system functionalities not currently used by IDRC.  This work requires reviewing and analyzing a diverse array of source materials, including implicit and explicit recommendations from staff.
• The Manager is a key member of the Applications Governance Council which prioritizes projects and allocates resources (from a pre-defined envelope) to projects that require resources from IMTD.
• Assesses ongoing operational requirements by determining the key expertise and related competencies required in their unit and develops strategies to obtain the human resources to meet these requirements (including the updating of job descriptions).
• Supports information gathering for parliamentary inquiries as well also as request from internal auditors and/or external auditors, including representatives of the Auditor General of Canada.
• May be called to act on behalf of the Director.


Direct Supervision:

• Business Systems Analyst

Indirect Supervision:

• Various Finance and Administration employees working on financial systems related projects
• Coordinating service contractors
• Leading and coordinating work teams

Job Scope

This position is responsible for ensuring the smooth operations of the key financial systems at the heart of IDRC operations. Those systems include key operational activities such as procure to pay, travel authorization, travel expense reporting as well as interfaces to domestic and international banks for electronic banking, fund transfers, international wire payments and credit card transaction upload. Additionally, two significant information systems, those for payroll and grant administration, provide information to the main financial applications to provide complete and relevant accounting information. The responsibilities of this position are thus Centre-wide in scope and embrace a broad body of knowledge (multiple complex applications, with their own code, data model, logic, etc.)
The job is critical to a smooth-functioning IDRC as well as the integrity of the financial information. The totality of IDRC expenditures (transactions averaging over $18 million a month) depend on the system and its various interfaces being fully functional. The integrity of financial controls in IDRC also depends on the proper architecture of the financial applications (a system administration function). The position provides the necessary bridge between the functional finance and administration operations and the information technology operations.
The incumbent of the position is an active member of the Finance and Administration management team.  As part of this function, the incumbent actively participates in the establishment of priorities for the division and in the development and implementation of the strategic direction of the division. This includes establishing priorities for his/her team, determining the allocation of financial and human resources, performance management, etc. In regards to human resources management, the incumbent has full authorities delegated to managers of the Centre as per the Human Resources Authority Matrix, and is responsible for developing job descriptions, selecting suitable candidates, making hiring decisions, confirming completion of probation or making effective recommendations of rejection of an employee during the probationary period. The Manager sets work objectives and manages employee performance, including issuing verbal and written disciplinary measures.
The Manager contributes to the development of IDRC’s corporate financial information strategy, planning periodic patching, upgrades and maintenance of the Centre’s financial information systems, which is based on various applications.