Financial approval decentralization: the HFU Finance user role

POSTED BY Hortense Regnaut | 05 October 2021 | Training Guidance notes

  1. What is the financial approval decentralization workflow on GMS?
  2. Project Budget approval during Technical Review
  3. Budget revision approval
  4. Ad Hoc Interim Financial Report approval

  1. What is the financial approval decentralization workflow on GMS?  

Up until today, the budget approval process for all CBPFs was centralized in New York. Over the past few years, the CBPF Finance Unit (in New York) has conducted at least 5 thematic workshops for field-based staff to build capacity on different financial processes.

After leading on all financial processes on GMS since the launch of the system, CBPF Finance has decided to pilot the decentralization of specific financial processes in 7 humanitarian funds:

  • Afghanistan,
  • CAR,
  • Iraq,  
  • Nigeria,
  • South Sudan,
  • Sudan,
  • Yemen.

Starting October 2021, these funds are taking part in a 6-month testing phase, where specifically trained Finance officers will take over the following financial approvals on GMS:

  • Final project budget approval,
  • Ad hoc interim financial report approval, and
  • Budget revision approval (except revisions that include cost extensions).

To this effect, the GMS team has created a new system role (HFU Finance), along with new workflows for the above financial instances, assigned to the designated HFU finance officer.

Please note: the HFU Finance role will only be assigned to one person in the HFU. If this person is absent, then all projects under their task lists will remain there until they can process them. For any issue, please contact us at gms-support@un.org. 

II. Project Budget approval during Technical Review 

During project approval, the HFU Finance user role is required to assess the budget during the Technical Review phase of the project (in orange in the screenshot). HFU Finance is replacing CBPF Finance HQ, and its role is to clear the budget, allowing the workflow to move towards the Grant Agreement generation and signature phase (in lavender in the screenshot). For MPTF Funds, Budget clearance will lead to FTR and Allocation Letter preparation phase instead.

On the GMS, at the stage ‘Under TR HFU’, the HFU will click on the button [send to HFU Finance for TR].

The HFU Finance officer will see that action is pending on their Project Task List.

Upon clicking on the project’s date in the task list, the HFU Finance officer can see that the project is ‘Under TR HFU Finance’. They can review the budget, leave comments if necessary, and either approve the budget by clicking on [budget cleared], or click on [return to TR HFU] if any comment still need to be addressed.

The project workflow then continues as usual.

III. Budget revision approval 

In case of a project budget revision, the HFU Finance officer can review and approve the budget revision, EXCEPT if the budget revision includes a Cost Extension.

If the budget revision includes a Cost Extension, then the HFU must send it to CBPF Finance HQ.

In the case of a regular budget revision, the HFU can send it to HFU Finance by clicking on [Send to HFU Finance for review (Budget revision WITHOUT Cost Extension)].

The HFU Finance officer will see pending action on their Revision Task List. They can click on the revision date to access the revision page.

On the revision page, the HFU Finance officer is required to review the budget tab, and leave the findings in the comments’ section of the tab.

Then, they can send the revision back to the HFU by clicking on [send comments to HFU]. 

Upon clicking on [send comments to HFU] HFU Finance will either clear the budget revision to allow the HFU to proceed with the Revision workflow, or not clear the budget if further comments need to be addressed by the partner.

IV. Ad Hoc Interim Financial Report approval 

HFU Finance officers are also required to review and approve Ad Hoc interim financial reports.

Please note: HFU Finance officers can NOT review the following Financial reports:

  • Year-end reports – which should be sent to CBPF finance for review and recording on UMOJA
  • Reports with a disbursement request – which should be sent to CBPF Finance for review and disbursement
  • Final Financial Reports -  which should always be reviewed and approved by CBPF Finance.

Only in the case of an ad hoc interim report that is non-year-end, and oes not include a disbursement request, will the HFU click on [Send to HFU Finance for approval as extraordinary report].

The HFU Finance officer will then see that action is pending on their Financial Report Task List. They can click on the report’s date to access it.

The HFU Finance officer is then required to review the Ad Hoc Interim Financial Report, and either approve it by clicking on [Read and approved by HFU Finance], or send it back to HFU by clicking on [Send back to HFU].