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Grant Administration Officer

Job Summary

The Grant Administration Officer is responsible to oversee all grant administrative functions related to program initiatives and/or project activities. The incumbent provides administrative and financial advice throughout the life cycle of a wide-variety of projects/Externally Funded Programs (EFPs) and ensures adherence to IDRC policies and procedures.

The Grant Administration Officer performs the final review of project/EFP approval documents prior to approval by senior managers. The incumbent also has the responsibility to sign, on behalf of IDRC, all projects/EFP-related legal documents (grant agreements and travel grant notifications). In addition, the Grant Administration Officer has the authority to approve project/EFP payments and while doing so, the incumbent must ensure adequate stewardship of IDRC resources.

The Grant Administration Officer also plays an active role in the monitoring of project expenditure targets and liaises with senior managers to ensure achievement of the targets so as to avoid deviations from the approved financial framework.

Primary Duties or Responsibilities

Project design

Provides financial and administrative advice, guidance and direction to Program and Partnership Branch (PPB) and Corporate Strategy and Regional Management (CSRM) staff in the design of projects ensuring the appropriate incorporation of best practices and the policies and procedures of IDRC. This includes:
• Review of the project financial and administration structure to ensure proper mechanisms are in place for the stewardship of IDRC resources.

• Provide innovative interpretations of IDRC’s policies and procedures in order to resolve challenging situations due to the geographic location and scope, institutional risk assessment, and methodological approach of the projects. Liaise with other divisions of IDRC, if needed, to resolve any outstanding issues.

• Analyze the structure of proposed budgets and recommend adjustments to ensure that final budgets adhere to proper grant and financial management practices.

• Design, in collaboration with the GAD manager and the Chief, External Funds Management (EFM), the administrative and financial structure of EFPs in order to meet the reporting requirements set out in donor agreements.

• Review “competitive call for proposals” to ensure IDRC’s requirements are taken into account in the development of research proposals by proponents.

Project approval and implementation

Performs the final review of all project approval documents prior to approval by Senior Management at PPB and CSRM. The review includes:
• Analyze and reconcile project approval documents with respect to the management, financial and budgetary structures and the recipient institutional risk to ensure that the administrative treatment is commensurate with the risk.

• Ensure that proposed projects adhere to IDRC’S policies and procedures in a manner that aligns with corporate goals and objectives.

• Assess the administrative and legal considerations related to projects and ensure that such considerations are properly reflected in the project approval documents.

• Ensure that project funding is in line with donor agreements for external funding.

• Approve projects in IDRC’s corporate system in a timely manner as to ensure up-to-date and accurate allocation information is available to senior managers.

• Create institutional records in IDRC’s corporate system and maintain the institutional review data with respect to recipient administrative performance, ensuring the information is accurate and available to program staff, and regional controllers or managers, at their request.

Project administration and monitoring

Authorizes all project legal documents on behalf of IDRC. Prior to signing the legal agreements, the incumbent:
• Reviews project legal documents for completeness and compliance with established policies (Memorandum of Grant Conditions, Research Support Grant Agreements, Research-Related Grant Agreements, Research awards contracts, awardees employment contracts, service contracts, travel grant notifications, and all amendments) ensuring that appropriate clauses are included in the terms and conditions.

Ensures that legal commitments are set in accordance with approved duration of projects, and legal aspects of the project are in line with the obligations of IDRC. Consult with the responsible officer and legal counsel if clarifications are required.

• Provides advice, interprets legal document clauses, resolves contract issues, and responds to queries and complaints from recipients and contractors while ensuring they receive appropriate support in a timely manner.

• Ensures that special clauses arising from the external donor agreements are included in IDRC’s legal agreements.

• Commits, within IDRC’s corporate system, the project funds upon receipt of a duly signed copy of the agreements/contracts and ensure the accuracy and integrity of all commitments to allow for adequate expenditure forecasting.

• Determines when it is appropriate to proceed with the legal-financial closure of projects and analyze, prior to closure all contractual documents to ensure that there are no outstanding contractual obligations.

Project financial administration and management

Coordinates the review of project financial reports and/or invoices and approves all project payments on behalf of IDRC. More specifically, the incumbent:
• Reviews project financial report analyses prepared by Grant Administrators and determine the appropriateness of the payment amount so as to ensure adequate stewardship of funds.

• Reviews and approves charges to projects resulting from travel arrangements for program-paid travel that Grant Administrators expense on corporate credit cards.

• Approves all project payments including exceptional invoice payments on behalf of IDRC and ensure funds are released only on committed project components.

• Monitors allocations, commitments and expenditure results and advises Program Leaders and Managers on approaches to achieve project expenditure targets.

• Creates and updates budgets for projects and record, in IDRC’s corporate system, all project life cycle events which lead to a change in project and project component status (e.g. allocations, commitments, reallocations, extensions, supplements, closures, etc.) in order to reflect accurate resource allocation of funds.

• Monitors project financial indicators and portfolio aspects (accounts receivable, uncommitted allocations, overruns, automatic payments, beyond completion components, orphan projects, etc.) in order to identify emerging risks/issues and take corrective actions.

• Verifies and validates institutional banking information provided by recipients and ascertain that payments are routed to intended beneficiaries, follows-up with Finance and Administration Division (FAD) when needed, to identify issues, thereby minimizing fraud and ensuring the integrity of the disbursement of funds.

• Initiates project-related accounting processes in IDRC’s general ledger (commitment, project payment accruals and project closures, etc.) and prepares month-end-journal entries and accompanying year-end-audit-trail worksheets to ensure that IDRC’s financial statements properly reflect amounts payable to recipients.

Continuous improvement of policies, processes, procedures and systems

Being a subject matter expert, the Grant Administration Officer provides expert advice and recommendations for the continuous improvement of business processes, tools and systems to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of grant administration functions. This includes but not limited to:
• Regularly review and recommend changes and improvements to the Grant administration procedure manual ensuring it is accurate and up to date.

• Participate in the testing of system enhancements to ensure proper integration between systems and business processes.

• Suggest and participate in implementing new processes to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery and workload management.

• Assist in the business process review by providing feedback to the GAD Manager.

• Participate as presenter and/or facilitator in the biennial meeting of Centre-wide grant administration subject matter experts.

Team Supervision

Supervise a team of (up to 3) of Grant Administrators and ensure accountability for their work and influence the incumbents to take positive actions. This includes:
• Coaching, mentoring, motivating, managing Grant Administrators and overseeing their day-to-day deliverables ensuring appropriate workload distribution and delivery of support to clients in line with the quality and service standards for the division.

• Participating in the staffing decisions and interviews for Grant Administrators.

• Conducting performance reviews and recommending ratings to GAD Management.

• Providing project administration training to newly hired staff (whether in GAD or Programs).

Job Scope

The responsibilities of this position are corporate-wide in scope. The Grant Administration Officer is responsible for the financial and administrative control as well as overseeing the on-going monitoring of project activities that constitute the largest portion of the Centre’s expenditures. In fact, more than 65% of IDRC’s expenses (more than 100 millions of dollars) are channeled through project or program spending for which the Grant Administration Officer plays an active and critical role throughout the entire life-cycle of the projects. While overseeing the project activities, the incumbent must have knowledge and exercise know-how in relation to many areas of expertise, i.e., administrative and financial management, procurement, legal, travel and staffing.

The Grant Administration Officer provides advice to PPB and CSRM staff and performs critical reviews during the design, implementation and approval of projects. The incumbent also plays an important role in both the project administration and financial monitoring. The Grant Administration Officer is responsible to sign on behalf of IDRC, all contractual agreements concluded with recipients and contractors.  After financial reports analyses, the Grant Administration Officer approves the amounts to be paid to recipients and contractors.

The Grant Administration officer is responsible to coordinate the activities of a team of up to 3 Grant Administrators and ensure that all administrative and financial aspects of projects are managed in a timely manner while ensuring adequate stewardship of IDRC resources.