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UniBRAIN Management
and Financial
System


Aide memoir

January 19, 2010


Page
1

of
14


DRAFT

UniBRAIN

Management
and Financial
System


Introduction:

Objectives and Description.

The Development Objective of the
UniBRAIN

is for
Innovation and entrepreneurship derived jobs in the agricultural sector to be created
through partnerships between
universities, research institutions and the private sector
.

Achieving this objective would make a significant contribution to making African
agriculture competitive in the increasingly global market. It would also contribute to
improving the livelihoods o
f African agricultural producers, who are predominantly
women, and enabling them to adapt to and to help ameliorate the impact of climate
change. By developing innovations that promote efficiencies and strengthen weaknesses
in the links in African agricult
ural value chains, stretching from the origin of
agricultural inputs to consumer markets, it would also contribute to achieving optimal
balances between farmers’ returns and the cost of food for Africa’s millions of low income
consumers, who spend most of
their meagre incomes on feeding their families. In other
words,
UniBRAIN

will promote innovation in any aspect of the agricultural industry.

UniBRAIN

is funded by the
Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Danida)
.
Danida

makes
funds available to the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA). FARA is
responsible for further distribution of funds. Financial aspects are governed by a grant
agreement between
Danida

and FARA.


FARA is responsible for overall managemen
t of
UniBRAIN
.


UniBRAIN
’s implementation is facilitated by the Forum for Agricultural Research in
Africa (FARA) with the Subregional Research organizations (SROs) the Association for
Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Southern Africa (ASAR
ECA),
West
and Central African
Council for Agricultural Research and Development
(
CORAF/WECARD
)

and the Southern Africa development Communit
y
-

Food
Agriculture and Natural Resources Directorate (SADC
-
FANR), African Network for
Agriculture, Agroforestry and

Environment Education (ANAFE), the African Technology
Policy Studies network (ATPS) and the PanAfrican Agribusiness Consortium (PanAAC).


QUARTERLY MANAGEMENT, PLANNING AND REPORTING SYSTEM FOR
UNIBRAIN

Danida requires detailed 6 monthly work plans and associated budgets. However
experience has proven that work plans and budgets must be reviewed more frequently,
at quarterly intervals, to avoid irreparable slippages.
The
UniBRAIN Management and
Financial
S
ystem

is therefore designed to
assist the
UniBRAIN

Facilitation Team
(UFT)
to
produce
challenging, realistic and well costed plans o
n

a quarterly basis for the
implementation of
UniBRAIN
.

It

allow
s

management at all levels to review progress at monthly in
tervals and enable
them to identify problems and to undertake management action to solve these problems
promptly. It will assist management to identify opportunities and manage for success.

It

ensure
s

rigorous financial management and will assist
Uni
BRAIN

management to
effectively manage finances and cash
-
flow.

It

provide
s

FARA management with regular overviews of
Uni
BRAIN

performance and
will enable FARA management to identify critical problems and opportunities. This will
assist in advising the developm
ent of broader capacity strengthening strategies in the
African agricultural research systems.

The System

The system, comprising of interlinked operational and financial components, is
based on
a quarterly cycle of planning and reporting at the three
Uni
BRAIN

management levels:
FARA,
UniBRAIN
Facilitati
on Team (UFT) members

and
the
Innovation Incubator
Consortia
.

The Operational Management, Planning and Reporting System

The
operational
system is summarised in Figure 1, below:

Plan
Report
Implement
FARA
Facilitating Partners
Focal Institutes
Quarterly FARA
Planning &
Review Meeting
Quarterly UFT
Planning &
Review Meeting
Quarterly
IC
Planning &
Review Meeting
Quarterly
IC
Planning &
Review Meeting
Quarterly UFT
Planning &
Review Meeting
Quarterly FARA
Planning &
Review Meeting
Implementation
1//4ly
Plan &
budget
1//4ly
Plan &
budget
Approval
to proceed
Approval
to proceed
Monthly
& 1/4ly
Report
1//4ly
Plan &
budget
Monthly
& 1/4ly
Report
Monthly
& 1/4ly
Report
Action
Logs
Action
Logs
Action
Logs
Direction &
Guidance
Direction &
Guidance
Planning and
budgeting act
activity level

Note: UFT = UniBRAIN Facilitation Team


IC = Incubator Consortia

The Operational planning, management and reporting system is based on quarterly
meetings, held at three levels of
Uni
BRAIN

management:

Feedback

Facilitating Partners

Planning a
nd Review Meeting
:

Purpose

The purpose of the meeting is to prepare and commit to a quarterly work plan

and
budget

for
each

Incubator Consortium (IC)
, taking in to consideration the requirements
of the
IC
s
, the available resources and the
experiences gained through implementation
to date.

Location, participants and timing

The meetings will be held in Nairobi or Accra depending on the extent of involvement
required of FARA Senior Management
and will be attended
at a minimum

by
representative
s of FARA, ANAFE, ATPS and PanAAC

who are responsible for
Uni
BRAIN
.

The
FARA Executive Director or his representative normally the
Uni
BRAIN

Technical Coordinator will chair the meeting
.

Given the need for the outcome of this meeting to feed in to the quarterly funding cycle,
the meetings should held during the second half of the
second month of the quarterly
funding cycle.

Working Documents

The working documents for the meeting are:



Updat
ed operational and financial reports for the preceding period



Proposed activities for the coming period, with budgets if possible; If budgets are
not available, participants should be prepared to develop these during the
meeting.



Action Logs

Any actions, r
esulting from the meeting should be written down and assigned to
an individual with a ‘due by’ date. These actions should bee kept in hard copy in
the form of an action log.

People who have these actions assigned to them should
commit in writing to
undertake these actions.

Agenda

The proposed agenda is as follows:

1.

Review of Action Log

2.

Review of performance during the previous period; identification of variances to
plan; assignment of actions to address variances.

3.

Consideration of plans and budgets for the coming period; are they challenging;
do they correspond with the
Uni
BRAIN

and
IC

objectives; are the budgets
realistic and within the resources of
Uni
BRAIN
; are they realistic and doable;
what actions need to be a
ssign
ed to ensure that they happen
Review of the work
plan and budget for the life of
Uni
BRAIN
: does the performance to date and the
plans for the coming quarter have any implication of the ‘life of project’ work
plan? If so, what and wh
at actions need to
be taken as
a result?

4.

Other operational and financial issues: Actions to be taken.

5.

Review of Action Log and commitment to actions assigned.

NB UFT members will ensure that those attending the meeting are given the level of
management authority they need to
be able to
commit to the actions

being
considered
.


Innovation Incubator

Planning and Review Meeting:

Purpose

The purpose of the meeting is to prepare and commit to a consolidated regional
quarterly work plan and budget
including budgets for
the
UFT members and the
Innovation I
ncubators

(ICs)
. This will take in to consideration the consolidated outputs
from the
Fa
cilitating Institutions

planning and review meetings.

Location, participants and timing

The

meeting
s

will be
rotated around the universities hosting
the

incubators to provide
opportunities for the partners to have first
-
hand experience of the different inc
ubators
and to provide on the spot encouragement and support to the institutions and
individuals working in the incubators.

Given the need for the outcome of this meeting to feed in to the quarterly funding cycle,
the meetings should be completed by the e
nd of the first full week of the third month of
the quarterly funding cycle.

Working Documents

The working documents for the meeting are:



Updated regional operational and financial reports for the preceding period



Proposed activities for the coming period, with budgets.



Action Logs

Agenda

The proposed agenda is as follows:

1.

Review of Action Log

2.

Review of operational and financial performance during the previous period;
identification of variances to plan; assignment

of actions to address variances.

3.

Consideration of plans and budgets for the coming period; are they challenging;
do they correspond with the
Uni
BRAIN

and
Incubator Consortia’s

objectives; are
the budgets realistic and within the resources of
Uni
BRAIN
; are

they realistic
and doable; what actions need to be assigned to ensure that they happen; can
those actions be assigned, given the level of management authority of those
attending the meeting.

4.

Review of the work plan and budget for the life of
Uni
BRAIN
: doe
s the
performance to date and the plans for the coming quarter have any implication of
the ‘life of project’ work plan? If so, what and w
hat actions need to be taken as

a
result?

5.

Other operational and financial issues: Actions to be taken.

6.

Review of Acti
on Log and commitment to actions assigned.

Uni
BRAIN

FARA
Senior Management Team

Planning and Review Meeting:

Purpose

The purpose of the meeting is to prepare and commit to a consolidated
Uni
BRAIN

6
month

work plan
s

and budget
s, and review them quarterly
. This will take in to
consideration the consolidated outputs from the
Incubator

planning and review
meetings.

Subject to approval, the
6 monthly
work plan
s will form the basis of a

advance funding
request
s

to
Danida
.


Location, participants and timing

A meeting will be held at
the FARA main office in Accra

and will be attended
at a
minimum

by the FARA

Executive Director

and

the
UniBRAIN

Senior Management
Team. Given the importance of financial management in this project, it is suggested
that the FARA D
eputy Director also attend

and t
he FARA
Executive

Director should be
the chair.

Given the need for the outcome of this meeting to feed in to the quarterly funding cycle,
the meetings should be completed by the end of the first full week of the third month
of
the quarterly funding cycle.

Working Documents

The working documents for the meeting are:



Updated
consolidated

operational and financial reports for the preceding period



Summary of p
roposed activities for the coming period, with budgets.



Brief
quarterly operational report (no more than 3 pages)



Action Logs

Agenda

The proposed agenda is as follows:

1.

Review of Action Log

2.

Review of operational and financial performance during the previous period;
identification of variances to plan; assignment of ac
tions to address variances.

3.

Consideration of plans and budgets for the coming period; are they challenging;
do they correspond with the
UniBRAIN

objectives; are the budgets realistic and
within the resources of
UniBRAIN
; are they realistic and doable; what

actions
need to be assigned to ensure that they happen; can those actions be assigned,
given the level of management authority of those attending the meeting.

4.

Review of the work plan and budget for the life of
UniBRAIN
: does the
performance to date and
the plans for the coming quarter have any implication of
the ‘life of project’ work plan? If so, what and w
hat actions need to be taken as

a
result?

5.

Other operational and financial issues: Actions to be taken.

6.

Review of Action Log and commitment to actio
ns assigned.

Once formal approval by FARA of the proposed work plan and budget has been given,
the
UniBRAIN

Coordinator

should formally advise
the
UFT members, and the IIC

and
invite them to submit a funding request on the basis of their quarterly work plan.


Financial System

The proposed financial management system has been designed to meet
UniBRAIN

s
requirements for pre
-
financing, without negative impact on FARAs cash f
low, while
ensuring high levels of transparency and accountability.

The system is summarised in Figure 2, below:

FARA sends
funding request
to Danida
Request
Reconcile
Fund
Danida
FARA
Facilitating Partners
Danita updates
UniBRAIN
forecast
FARA prepares
quarterly invoice
for Danida
UFT and IC
prepare quarterly
invoice for FARA
Danida approves
funding request &
actions advance
payment
Implementation
Consolidated
Funding Request
Statement of
account
1/4ly Invoice
Auditors Statement
Account
reconciliation
FARA
advances
funds to
UFT
members
and ICs
Approval from
FARA for
quarterly WP
and budget
UFT and IC sends
funding requests
to FARA
Funding Request
Statement of
account
Danita
advances
funds to
FARA
1/4ly Invoice
Auditors Statement
Account
reconciliation


The procedures are as follows:

1.

The quarterly budget & expenditure forecast at
Facilitating Partner and
Incubator Consortium

level is prepared through the operational planning and
management process, described in the previous section. On approval of this
forecast, the
Facilitating Partner and Incubator Consortia
will submit to FARA a
funding request for the
coming quarter. This is not necessarily the same as the
expenditure forecast and should be accompanied by a statement of their account.
This statement should include:

-

Balance of funds at the time of the request

-

Less

an estimate of any commitments to be m
et between the time of the
request and the end of the quarter.

Thus, the funding request should be the amount of funds required to implement
the coming quarter’s work plan

less

the expected balance of funds at the end of
the quarter.

2.

FARA will consolidate
Facilitating Partner and Incubator Consortia
requests

and
incorporate its own forecasted requirement. A funding request and consolidated
statement of account will be prepared and sent to
Danida
.

3.

Subject

to approval,
Danida

will authorise payment to FARAs dedicated £Stg
account.

4.

On receipt of
funds
, FARA will send advances to the
Facilitating Partners and
Incubator Consortia
.

The above
4
steps, will be undertaken
two weeks

prior

to the quarter’s end. This
will
ensure that f
unds are available at the start of the quarter.

The following maximum lead times are assumed:



Facilitating Partner and Incubator Consortia

submission of funding request: 2 days
from approval of quarterly work plan and budget



FARA submission of funding request: 2 days from receipt of
Facilitating Partner
and Incubator Consortium

funding requests



Danida

remittance of funds

to FARA
: 1 week from receipt of funding request from
FARA



FARA remittance of fund to
UFT members
: 1 day within receipt of funds from
receipt of funds from
Danida



TOTAL LEAD TIME: 2 weeks.

Funds will be reconciled through invoices as follows:

1.

Within one week of the end on the quarter, the
Facilitating Partner and
Incubator Consortia
will prepare an
invoice for FARA. This invoice will include:

-

Agreed costs incurred by the
Facilitating Partner and Incubator
Consortia.

-

Service P
rovider and
Facilitating Partner and Incubator Consortium
costs.

The invoice expressed in
DKK

will show the total amount claim
ed during the
preceding quarter.

From this will be deducted any advances that have been received.

As
Uni
BRAIN

will be operating on advance payments, it is not anticipated that
any payments will be made in respect of an invoice. Rather, the
Facilitatin
g
Partner and Incubator Consortia

statement
s

of account will be updated.

2.

Within two weeks of the end of the quarter, FARA will prepare an invoice for
Danida
. This invoice will include:

Agreed costs incurred by FARA

S
ervice provider
s


costs

Costs incurred at
Facilitating Partner and Incubator Consortium

level, as
detailed in the
ir
invoices.

The invoice expressed in
DKK

will show the total amount claimed during the
preceding quarter.

From this will be deducted any advances that have been rec
eived.

It is suggested that external auditors be appointed to verify these invoices. This is not
overly costly
. This is also a procedure that is applied by other donors. It does bring
several advantages:



It removes the need to attach extensive
supporting documents to an invoice.



It provides third party scrutiny



It provides independent and external proof of financial probity.

Finally, it is stressed that all accounts, budgets and financial reports should be

expressed in Pounds St
e
rling.


Request
and disbursement of advance funding

Funding will be provided on a quarterly basis.

1.

The quarterly budget & expenditure forecast at
Facilitating Partner and Incubator
Consortium
level is prepared through the operational planning and management
process. On

approval of this forecast, the
Facilitating Partner and Incubator
Consortium
will submit to FARA funding request
s

for the coming quarter. This will
be accompanied by a statement of their account. This statement should include:

-

Balance of funds at the ti
me of the request

-

Less an estimate of any commitments to be met between the time of the request
and the end of the quarter.

Thus, the funding request should be the amount of funds required to implement the
coming quarter’s work plan less the expected balan
ce of funds at the end of the
quarter.

2.

FARA will consolidate
Facilitating Partner and Incubator Consortia
requests and
incorporate its own forecasted requirement. A consolidated statement of account will
be prepared and sent to
Danida



Reconciliation of
advances

Advances will be reconciled on a quarterly basis as follows:

1.

The
Facilitating Partner and Incubator Consortia
will prepare an invoice / operating
statement for FARA. This invoice will include:


-

Agreed costs incurred by the
Facilitating Partner
and Incubator Consortium

-

Service provider and
Facilitating Partner and Incubator Consortia
costs.

The invoice will show the total expenditure incurred during the preceding quarter.

From this will be deducted the opening balance any advances that have bee
n
received.

Backing documents, proof of expenditure, breakdowns of costs etc will be included as
required under the current procedures.

It is noted that eligible costs will be set at unit rates agreed between
Danida

and
FARA. A schedule of these rates wil
l be appended to this procedure.


2.

FARA, will prepare an invoice / operating statement for
Danida
. This invoice will
include:

-

Agreed costs incurred by FARA

-

S
ervice provider costs

-

Costs incurred at
Facilitating Partner and Incubator Consortium
level, as
det
ailed in the
their

invoices.

The invoice will show the total expenditure incurred during the preceding quarter.

From this will be deducted the opening balance any advances that have been
received.

It is noted that eligible costs will be set at unit rat
es agreed between
Danida

and
FARA. A schedule of these rates will be appended to this procedure.




Responsibility

Matrix


Auditable
output

Danida

FARA

Facilitating
Partner
and
Incubator
Consortium


Request for funding





UFT member
Funding
request
s


Approves

Prepares

Form


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Reconciliation





Facilitating Partner and
Incubator Consortium
Invoice & operating
statement


Receives &
consolidates

Prepares

Form ,
backing
documents
& annual
audit

Uni
BRAIN

consolidated
invoice & operating
statement

Receives
and
approves

Prepares

Prepares

Form ,
backing
documents
& annual
audit







SAMPLE FORM 1A

On letterhead

[Insert Date Here]

The Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa

PMB CT 173

Cantonments

Accra,

Ghana


Attention: Dr Irene Annor Frempong


E
-
mail:
ifrempong@fara
-
africa.org


Dear Irene,

Pre
-
Financing Request for implementing
Uni
BRAIN

for the period
[insert
dates here]:

I am writing to request advance funding to support implementation of
UNIBRAIN

for
the period
[from… to].

This request is based on our quarterly work plan, approved by
you on
[insert date here].

The basis of our request is summarised in the table below.

Item

Amount

Activity Line

1

Xx

Activity Line

2

Xx

Activity Line

3

Xx

Activity Line

4

Xx



Total budget for quarter

Xx

Less


Unspent advances from previous
period

xx

TOTAL

xx

I would therefore be grateful if you could remit
[£xxx,xxx.xx (number in words)]

to

[enter
account details here]


Kind regards

Endorsed


Name here

Name
Here

Person responsible for
Uni
BRAIN

e.g.,

Facilitating Partner or Incubator Consortium
Finance Director

SAMPLE FORM 1B









Dr Monty Jones

Executive Director

The Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa

PMB CT 173

Cantonments

Accra,

Ghana


Dear Dr Jones,

Pre
-
Financing Request for implementing
UNIBRAIN

for the period
[insert
dates here]:

I am writing to request your approval to seek advance funding to support
implementation of
Uni
BRAIN

for the period
[from… to].

This request is based on our
quarterly work p
lan, approved by you on
[insert date here].

The basis of our request is
summarised in the table below.

Item

Amount

Activity Line

1

Xx

Activity Line

2

Xx

Activity Line

3

Xx

Activity Line

4

Xx



Total budget for quarter

Xx

Less


Unspent advances from

previous
period

xx

TOTAL

xx


E
ndorsed


Ralph von Kaufmann ……………

....
Technical Coordinator UniBRAIN



Irene Annor
-
Frempong
………

……
Director, Capacity Strengthening


Emily Nwankwo
………………………
Director, Human Resources
Finance &
Administration







SAMPLE FORM 2


[Insert Date Here]

Lars Christian Oxe

Chief sector Adviser

Asiatisk Plads 2

DK
-
1448 Copenhagen K

Denmark

Phone +45 33 92 00 00

Fax +45 32 54 05 33

E
-
mail:
laroxe@um.dk

n

http://www.um.dk


Dear
Mr. Oxe
,

Pre
-
Financing Request for implementing
Uni
BRAIN

for the period
[insert
dates here]:

I am writing to request advance funding to support implementation of
Uni
BRAIN

for the period
[from… to].

This request is based on our quarterly planning process,
which I confirm has been in accordance with our agreed procedures. The basis of
our request is summarised in the table below.

ITEM

COST CENTRE

FARA

Other
e.g.
ANAFE

Other

Other

TOTAL

a)

Unspent
advances from
previous period

xx

xx

xx

xx

xx

b)

Planned expenditure
during period

xx

xx

xx

xx

xx

c)

Requested advance (b
-
a)

xx

xx

xx

xx

xx

I would therefore be grateful if you could remit
[£xxx,xxx.xx (number in words)]

to
FARA’s Account

in the normal way.


Best

regards

Monty Jones


Executive Director, FARA