This page is designed to list details on Finance for Non-Financial Manager courses in South Africa.
How long does it take to complete a course like this ?
There are a number of different Finance for Non Finance manager courses available which vary from 1 day up to 4 days and even longer in some cases.
Who are the course providers ?
There are number of different providers of the course including universities as well as private training institutions.
Who are these courses for?
These courses are directed to working professionals in corporates as well as business owners who don’t have a proper understanding of accounting and finance. Attending one of these courses will help you improve your skill in this area.
Are there any recommended service providers ?
We recommend that you look at the training course by Talent Stream – Finance for Non Finance Managers.
This course is delivered by a Qualified Chartered Accountant and is different from a lot of the other options.
It also available in the classroom and online.
What is covered in the course ?
THe course teaches you how to read financial statements such as the Balance Sheet and also covers concepts such as profit and cash flow.
Here is a video from Youtube to give you some idea of the type of content covered in these courses.
The importance of financial management
In any institution, financial management can be considered as an important component. Whether it be a private company, NGO, non-profit organisation or public and government entity: There are certain financial principles that need to be adhered to. The principles vary from institution to institution, however there are several principles which tend to be universal.
These principles are:
1) Basic budgeting
2) Limit debt
3) Practice ethical behaviour
4) Plan for the unexpected
In the context of the public entity, and more specifically local government, I will provide an explanation for each of these principles. I will also provide examples of what could occur should one of the principles not be adhered to and the consequences there of.
Basic budgeting in my opinion, would be the most fundamental and significant principle. It involves working out income and expenditure. In local government income is accumulated from various revenue streams. While the total income of local government cannot be narrowed down to a perfectly accurate amount, a calculated estimate of income can still be determined.
The unavoidable expenses need to be calculated next for example servicing debt commitments. For local government this will once again be an approximate estimation. Once this has been calculated, a plan for development programs, and projects can be put in place and its’ expenses worked out. This budget is then the financial plan. Once it is in place, it is easier to stick to and financial mismanagement can be spotted easier and corrected faster.
There is an English proverb which states “He who fails to plan, plans to fail”. This is quite apparent in finance. The budget is the financial plan. If there is no budget – financial disaster is inevitable. An example of financial mismanagement would be the Free State Province in 2012. At the time, the national treasury had to intervene in local matters of seven Free State municipalities. Several municipal employees and managers were suspected of financial mismanagement and maladministration.
The next financial management principle is limiting debt. The principle is important, as paying of debt is costly in the long run. Wise business men have a saying that states “The most expensive asset to borrow, is money”. This is due to the interest charged, and in some cases there is interest charged on interest, increasing the total repayment amount to almost double the initial loan amount. This is detrimental in everyway, especially to the public who are being denied services or charged for these services. Which could have been cheaper or perhaps even free had the local government not accrued so much debt.
The third principle is the practice of ethical financial behaviour. In local government, ideally, the needs of the public should come first. Unethical behaviour such as corruption, fraud and misappropriation of funds render the entire municipal area worse off. It also causes the public to lose confidence in the government and the negative impact may spiral into the national level due to the ripple effect of the three spheres of government.
The last principle which I will discuss is often the most neglected, and that is to plan for the unexpected. This principle is often viewed as an optional or luxury principle. It should however form part of the local government’s initial financial plan (budget). If there are funds allocated for unforeseen circumstances, if there is a public emergency, local government can address it with cash funding instead of debt. An example would be: A diphtheria outbreak occurs. Government hospitals and clinics are not sufficiently stocked or staffed to deal with the vast number of diphtheria patience. If there is cash saved for such an unexpected event, vaccines can be given, medicines can be purchased and staff can be remunerated for extra hours of work; all without having to make debt.
All the financial principles have a role to play in the success of local government. In order to avoid mismanagement of funds in the local government, employees must be trained on essential financial management principles and transparency of funds usage should be accessible to the public. It is the public who suffer when funds are misused ad it is therefore the local government’s responsibility to ensure that municipal staffs are skilled and possess the ethical qualities to serve the public. The consequence of mismanagement of finance is dire, and the public should be involved in order to reduce this risk.