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Evidence Action

Senior Finance and Operations Manager, Innovation (Washington, DC)

Beta Incubator – Washington DC, District of Columbia
Department Beta Incubator
Employment Type Full Time
Minimum Experience Senior Manager/Supervisor

Evidence Action aims to be a world leader in scaling evidence-based and cost-effective programs to reduce the burden of poverty for hundreds of millions of people in the poorest places. Our two flagship at-scale programs, Deworm the World and Dispensers for Safe Water, reached over 200 million people this year. Three of our programs - Deworm the World, No Lean Season, and Dispensers for Safe Water - have been named “Top” or “Standout” charities by GiveWell in 2017, with Deworm the World being named a Top Charity for the fifth year in a row.

In addition to running these scaled programs, Evidence Action also leverages its unique Beta incubator to explore what interventions with initial evidence of impact might be suitable for massive scale up to become our next flagship programs. Similar to beta testing for software, we pressure-test interventions to ensure that they deliver cost-effective impact at scale without unintended consequences. To effectively scale interventions that pass our pressure-testing, Beta seeks to understand the mechanisms at work behind compelling results, runs fit-for-purpose experiments to find appropriate models for scaling, and builds service delivery and financing models suitable for the contexts where there is demand.  Beta is incubating a diverse array of interventions, from a variety of sectors and at various stages of the incubation process, including two initiatives in the later stages of incubation: No Lean Season (a seasonal migration program that was named a GiveWell Top Charity in 2017) and Winning Start (a youth volunteer-led education program leveraging the evidence-based “teaching at the right level” methodology).  

Evidence Action has a presence across 10 countries, with major offices in Nairobi, Kenya; Delhi, India; and Washington, D.C.

What We’re Looking For

Evidence Action seeks a highly organized, detail-oriented, operational problem-solver who is passionate about building and strengthening financial and operational systems that enable evidence-based programs to be tested and scaled. The Senior Finance & Operations Manager will serve as the key leader on the Beta team for finance and operations support to the diverse portfolio of initiatives in the Beta incubator. The role, based in Washington, DC., will report either to an Associate Director on the Beta leadership team or directly to the Chief Innovation Officer, who leads Beta portfolio.

The ideal candidate:

  • Is excited about the twin goals of “Evidence” and “Action” and passionate about Evidence Action’s core mission and values focused on testing and scaling evidence-based interventions in global development
  • Believes deeply in the role that strong operational management, well-designed processes, and efficient systems play in enabling high-impact, cost-effective programs, and is enthusiastic about championing operations on behalf of Beta
  • Understands the “continuous improvement” ethos and lives and breathes it in all aspects of their work
  • Is an adaptable team player who is interested in being part of a fast-paced, growing and diverse organization with a start-up atmosphere and willing to do what is needed to get the job done

What You Will Do

The Senior Finance & Operations Manager will serve as the overall finance and operational management lead for the Beta portfolio, supported by one direct report. This role involves overseeing or directly executing on a number of finance and operations activities on behalf of the Beta portfolio that are mission-critical to our work. In addition, given that Evidence Action is a young, dynamic organization, the role also involves serving as the Beta “voice” to the organization’s overall operations, finance, and administration team to ensure evolving organizational policies, processes, and systems meet the operational needs of Beta, which are sometimes unique, given the diverse Beta portfolio and its early-stage nature.

Specifically, this role will entail leadership across 5 dimensions:

1) Financial management and cost analysis: Stewardship of resources and the cost-effectiveness of our work are core values at Evidence Action. You will transform financial and program data into analysis with key insights to support the leadership’s strategic decisions. You will review monthly P&L statements through a programmatic lens. Your attention to detail will support successful management of finances that enables us to improve program design and invest in the most promising ideas.

  • Lead the annual budgeting process (including quarterly reviews/revisions) for Beta with guidance from the Chief Financial and Administrative Officer (CFAO) and extensive consultation with the Beta leadership team
  • Ensure that Beta project managers and program directors create project budgets that align with Evidence Action’s budgeting process and serve the needs of each project or program
  • Oversee an effective monthly financial review of revenue and expense data provided by the organization’s finance team to ensure accuracy of monthly financials and useful interpretation and analysis. Iterate on this monthly financial review process to ensure its continuous improvement in meeting Beta needs
  • Develop and iterate on new tools to facilitate accurate, useful financial management for the Beta portfolio, with input from Beta leadership team, and share tools with the organization’s finance team for potential lessons learned for the organization more broadly
  • Proactively ideate additional controls that could be put in place to minimize errors in financial management and engage with the organization’s finance team to put in place

2) Partnership management and contracts: We leverage partnerships with academics, implementing organizations, governments, and a variety of others to design, deliver on, and evaluate our work in many countries. We need to structure our relationships with these partners effectively and creatively to govern our substantive collaboration and fiscal responsibilities.

  • Oversee our full portfolio of partnership agreements and innovate how we develop and manage partnership agreements, contracts, and sub-awards in ways that effectively manage our and the partners’ needs and interests and best serve the goals of our collaboration while also adhering to organization policies and procedures
  • Support program directors/managers and, in certain cases, lead partner negotiations and contracting discussions
  • Structure partner reporting mechanisms and ensure partner compliance with partnership terms

Oversee the Program Analyst to:

  • Prepare and execute all new agreements with partners in line with Evidence Action policies under the guidance of our Senior Grants and Compliance Manager and CFAO
  • Shepard all agreements through the procurement process in a timely manner with clear, proactive communication
  • Maintain records of all contract and supporting documents, timelines for payments, and ensure proper close out of all contracts.
  • Process Beta invoice payment requests after thorough review and approval by program budget holders
  • Review incoming partner reports

3) Grants and fundraising management: Our ability to tell our donor partners the story of our work through concise narrative, high-quality data, and clear financials underpins our ability to create impact. You will oversee grants management for the Beta portfolio, which is growing quickly and supported by a diverse set of donors.

  • Liaise with Evidence Action’s Senior Grants and Compliance Manager and program teams to ensure that all Beta grant reporting is of high quality and is submitted on time
  • Work with the fundraising team to identify systems and process improvements to enable better Beta and organization-wide management of overall fundraising prospects and more accurate estimate of the expected value of our fundraising pipeline.

Oversee the Program Analyst in:

  • Creating high-quality financial and financial narrative reports for grants ready for review by program teams
  • Supporting program teams in developing budgets for grant proposals
  • Supporting program teams and the Senior Grants and Compliance Manager in responding to grant proposal due diligence requests

4) Portfolio management: A balanced portfolio with projects at all stages of development enables Beta to invest in the most promising projects while exiting projects with less promise of impact at scale.  You will support us to invest our resources in a manner that allows us to identify new opportunities for growing our portfolio in strategic areas while mitigating the risks across our portfolio of projects.

  • Guide decisions at the portfolio level about how best to leverage the most flexible sources of funding Beta has at any given time
  • Maintain overall ownership of Beta’s workforce planner - a tool used to estimate where and how we plan to bill all staff time across secured and imminent funding. Ownership includes proactively updating the planner based on evolving program decisions and consultation with program leads as well as planning for and conducting a monthly review of the planner with the Beta leadership team and regularly communicating billing guidelines to Beta and cross-cutting teams

5) Overall Liaison to Evidence Action’s Operations, Finance, and Administration Function: Serve as primary Beta liaison to the organization’s operations, finance, and administration function to ensure the function understands Beta’s programmatic needs and perspectives; to provide Beta input on organizational policies, processes, and systems; and to ensure that Beta understands operations, finance, and administration organization-wide needs and requirements.

  • Provide programmatic “customer” input and historical context to the operations, finance, and administration function on matters such as annual budgeting processes, financial management processes and reporting formats, contracting and subaward processes, IT system needs, and human resources policies and processes
  • Represent Beta in organization-wide working groups pertaining to such issues, as needed
  • Solicit input from Beta program colleagues on proposed changes to operations, finance, and administration policies, processes, and systems and suggest improvements to organization-wide approaches
  • Support program staff and organization’s operations, finance, and administration team in assessing new country expansion opportunities and executing on new country expansion

Because the Senior Finance & Operations Manager role is primarily in support of Beta programmatic activities in developing countries, the Manager will be expected to travel to program locations (primarily in Africa and Asia) for up to 10% of their time. Such travel will enhance the Manager’s understanding of programmatic needs and to more effectively thread the needle with organizational policies, processes, and systems related to operations, finance, and administration.

Since Beta is, in essence, a “start-up within a start-up,” we expect a high degree of self-motivation in shaping the role and a sense of responsibility for contributing to other workstreams when needed, even if not outlined explicitly in this role description.

Qualifications

Evidence Action places strong value on relevant personal qualities: entrepreneurialism, responsibility, tenacity, independence, energy, and work ethic. We seek a highly committed and adaptable individual with a track record of delivering quality results in quickly changing circumstances. They should be able to work independently and effectively in a high-pressure, unstructured environment and handle multiple tasks simultaneously whilst mentoring a team to perform consistently. The ideal candidate will also possess cultural sensitivity skills and demonstrate high emotional intelligence, as they will be working closely with partners.

Required:

  • Bachelor's degree (Master’s preferred) with 4+ years of experience as a high-performing professional who has demonstrated analytical prowess, detail orientation, and ability to juggle many workstreams
  • Demonstrated excellence with financial analysis and budgeting and proven ability to translate financial and technical data into informative, decision-oriented reports
  • Advanced skills in, and in-depth professional experience using, Excel for data management and analysis
  • Action-oriented, flexible approach and entrepreneurial problem-solver, with an ability to manage multiple competing deadlines, dynamically reprioritize as evolving program needs and resources require, embrace and structure ambiguity, and drive workstreams to completion in a fast-paced environment
  • Exceptional self-management and upward management skills, including proactive communication about deadlines and progress towards them
  • Experience thriving and working collaboratively in a multicultural professional environment
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills and demonstrated ability to communicate clearly with diverse audiences
  • Availability for and willingness to travel up to 10% time (predominantly to Africa and Asia)
  • Willingness to maintain flexible work hours to engage collaboratively with colleagues in different time zones as needed
  • Ability to work effectively in remote teams, including leveraging tools like Slack and Skype for frequent team communication
  • A sense of humor

Preferred:

  • Experience translating organizational and program financial data into meaningful cost data for use in program analyses, such as cost-effectiveness analyses
  • Experience working in a similar operations management role
  • Experience living and working in a developing country

Evidence Action is an Equal Opportunity Employer with a commitment to diversity. All individuals, regardless of personal characteristics, are encouraged to apply.

 

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  • Location
    Washington DC, District of Columbia
  • Department
    Beta Incubator
  • Employment Type
    Full Time
  • Minimum Experience
    Senior Manager/Supervisor
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