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Closing date for applications: 12 July 2024

The Public Affairs Research Institute (PARI) is seeking to appoint a suitable candidate for the role of Head of Finance, to assume control of, and take the lead on, all financial matters at PARI.

PARI is an African research institute based in Johannesburg, founded in May 2010. We are affiliated to the University of Johannesburg and aim to provide new and original social science research, advocacy and implementation support for South Africa, the global south, and beyond by collaborating with civil society organisations, think tanks, state and academic institutions.

To achieve its objectives, PARI hosts five thematic programmes – (1) Compact, (2) Energy Transition, (3) Land Governance, (4) Local Governance and (5) State Reform. These programmes are supported by an Academic Engagement programme, a Communications Unit and an Operations Hub.

PARI seeks to recruit a suitably qualified and experienced Head of Finance to deliver on the organisation’s financial management and reporting requirements. Based in Johannesburg, the incumbent will provide leadership and management of PARI’s Finance Team, to support achievement of PARI’s strategic objectives. Ideally the candidate should reflect a commitment to PARI’s vision, mission, and values.


The Head of Finance reports to the Executive Director and together they determine PARI’s financial policies and direction, bearing in mind the context in which PARI operates and its overall strategy. The Head of Finance will:

  • lead all financial administration, planning and budgeting
  • play the lead role in terms of finance on the Executive Committee
  • be responsible for financial reporting to the Board of Directors and to donors and other funding partners
  • work closely with a small but motivated and engaged finance team

Specific responsibilities include:


  • Partner with PARI’s programme and operational staff on all programme, operational and strategic issues as these arise;
  • Provide strategic recommendations to the Executive Director, based on financial analysis and projections, cost identification and allocation, and revenue/expense analysis;
  • Participate in ongoing strategic planning processes, as an integral member of the Executive Committee;
  • Oversee long-term budgetary planning and cost management in alignment with PARI’s strategic plans;
  • Align financial management at PARI with its short- and long-term financial planning and projections; and
  • Engage with Board member/s in charge of the finance portfolio, regarding issues, trends and changes in the operating model and operational delivery.

Financial and Operational Management

  • Oversee budgeting, and the implementation of budgets, monitor progress and present operational metrics as required.;
  • Ensure that PARI’s finance staff maintain financial record systems in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, and monitor the use of all funds;
  • Oversee the preparation and approval of all financial reporting materials and financial data for the Executive Committee, the Board of Directors, as well as donors and other funding partners;
  • Prepare and communicate monthly and annual financial statements.
  • Manage cash flow and forecasting; direct all financial, project-based, and departmental accounting;
  • Coordinate all activities for the annual organisational audit, and audits that may be required by specific donors;
  • Ensure statutory compliance and good practice, including but not limited to: VAT, Taxation, King Code, NPO registration, and PARI’s Memorandum of Incorporation;
  • Evaluate and oversee all benefits negotiations, ensuring competitive employment packages for all PARI employees; and
  • Review all formal finance-, admin-, HR-, and IT-related policies and procedures, recommend improvements to the systems in place, and manage the systems going forward.

Team Management

  • Develop and manage direct staff within the Finance Team, and guide larger multidisciplinary teams outside of direct span of control.
  • Engage other members of the Executive Team (the Head of Programmes, the Head of Administration, and the HR Manager) on matters related to research, evaluation and training, communications, and human resources, to facilitate cross-unit collaboration that ensures that all financial, IT, and HR solutions positively support PARI’s evolving strategy, operational delivery, and data collection needs; and
  • Provide guidance on attracting and developing key team members to and for PARI.


The Head of Finance will have the following qualifications, experience and attributes:

  • The Head of Finance will be a seasoned and mature leader with at least 12-15 years of broad finance experience, including the co-ordination of audit processes, experience gathering, evaluating financial information and making recommendations to senior leaders at PARI;
  • Ideally he or she will have had previous experience at managing finance (accounting, budgeting, controls, and reporting) for other grant-funded NGOs supported by multiple donor agencies;
  • Qualifications: Relevant undergraduate and post graduate qualifications in Commerce,

Accounting, Finance or Economics. A Chartered Accountant Registration with SAICA will be preferred;

  • At least 15 years’ experience in financial management and accounting including forecasting and budgeting, preparation and review of management accounts, audits and financial risk management.
  • Experience in the non-profit sector and working with multiple funders will be an advantage;
  • Demonstrated skill at leading a Finance Team, as well as recognising training and development needs;
  • Experience in reporting and presenting financial plans and reports to organisational management, funders, and a Board of Directors, in accordance with accounting principles, policies and procedures;
  • Experienced at managing finances including across multiple countries.
  • Experience with IFRS Accounting Standards and International Standards on Auditing (ISAs), and required reporting formats, particularly Log Frame Analyses (LFA);
  • Demonstrated ability to use administrative and financial computer packages – Pastel Accounting and Pastel Payroll in particular;
  • An effective communicator with excellent oral and written communication skills in English; fluency in another South African language will be an advantage;
  • Strong work organising skills that ensure high quality, time-bound deliveries will be met;
  • Excellent interpersonal skills over email, digital platforms such as Zoom and Teams, by phone and in person
  • A commitment to diversity, inclusion, equity, and transformation.
  • Cultural sensitivity and a demonstrated ability to work successfully with diverse constituencies;
  • Being willing to work as part of a diverse and dynamic team;
  • Demonstrated computer literacy, including Microsoft Office and web-based systems such as SharePoint, Google drive, etc.;
  • A demonstrated commitment to the social sector, with a passion for PARI’s stated mission, is essential; and
  • A current driving license (Code 8) and own vehicle.

PARI is committed to diversity, inclusion, equity, and transformation and offers a competitive salary package.

This post will begin on 01 September 2024, or sooner, should the preferred candidate be available.


Application process

Please send your CV (maximum 3 pages) and a motivation letter (maximum 1 page) no later than Friday 12 July 2024 to PARI’s HR Manager, Joan Cameron, by email to

Only shortlisted applicants will be contacted.

Download Job advert