14
October
2016

Agency Finance Workers Help Develop Training

The First Nations Child and Family Agency Finance folk met on Thursday, October 13, 2016. The meeting was set to discuss next steps in the development of finance support and training for all positions within an agency as well as to review the draft Board Training finance module.  Twelve people representing 8 of the First Nations Child and Family Services Agencies were in attendance along with SFNFCI staff Merilee, Joseph and Tischa.

Elder Ken Seesequasis opened the meeting with a prayer.

Left to Right Back Row: Joseph Liu SFNFCI, Felisha Jimmy BTC CFS, Annette Ross MLTC CFS, Delphine Morin Agency Chiefs CFS, Brenda Masuskapoe Montreal Lake CFS, Rhonda Thomas Ahtahkakoop CFS, Randi Lavallee QBOW CFS, Tyrone Chamakese BTC CFS, Deborah Nawakayas Nechapanuk CFS.

Left to Right Front Row: Rita Pratt Touchwood CFS, Cheryl Sanderson Ahtahkakoop CFS, Holly Voeltz BTC CFS, Shirley Mosquite Agency Chiefs CFS and Elder Ken Seesequasis.

Last year the Finance Working Group met and helped to provide input into an updated Child and Family Services Finance Policy and Procedure Manual.  These were mailed to agencies in March 2016.  The finance subject matter experts are excited to now provide input and direction on the different types of finance training for all agency staff.

The finance training curriculum that will be developed will focus on four main themes:

  1. Awareness and understanding of the different areas of finance and accounting based on your job position at the agency
  2. Finance and Accounting Best Practices involving the importance of separation of duties and ethics
  3. Role Clarity with separation of duties and behavioural competencies needed for your position when working with finance staff at your agency
  4. Finance technical training (specific transactional training for finance employees)

 

The group agreed that it doesn’t matter whether you are a front line employee or a board of director, having a good working knowledge of finance and accounting policies, procedures and understanding your role with budgeting and reporting is important for everyone.

One area SFNFCI is focusing on improving curriculum for training is in including training on behaviour based competencies along with awareness and technical training.  Having the right knowledge, skills and abilities important to get a job done. Having good people skills when times get stressful is equally important.  Diane Knoll, a coach and trainer in emotional intelligence was present to help with understanding this process and to help identify the top behavioural competencies needed. 

The finance team members present provided lots of good ideas on case scenarios to SFNFCI for curriculum development.  They want the training objectives to include awareness of finance practices at an agency while also clarifying different job positions roles and accountability with these different finance practices.  Some case scenarios may include exercises where participants in training further explore their role and accountability in a situation that could happen at their agency. 

For example, a scenario for a Supervisor Finance Training Module might include a supervisor who handed in paperwork that was coded incorrectly and the deadline to get money to a caregiver is urgent.  This type of exercise will help the supervisor understand the importance of deadlines and proper coding along with the consequences and possible outcomes.  It will also help the supervisor participant understand the finance person’s role, time it takes to process and risks if it was processed incorrectly. Learning outcomes for this type of scenario include:

  • Understanding roles and accountability with submitting and coding paperwork,
  • Risks that could result from processing incorrect paperwork and mitigation strategies, and,
  • Essential conversations needed between supervisors and finance at an agency needed to facilitate positive working relationships and improve finance practices in the future. 

 

Another example for Child and Family Agency Board of Directors and Executive Director Finance Training could include case scenarios to give Board of Directors and Executive Directors a better understanding of difficult positions agency staff might be place in when ethics are involved.  Finance and Accounting Best Practices are governed under Canadian GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) which is the foundation of accounting.

The discussion was rich with many good ideas to customize finance training for Child and Family Services workers at all levels.  The meeting was closed with a prayer by Elder Ken Seesequasis.

I would like to thank everyone who was present for their contributions, ideas and feedback. 

A second finance working group meeting will be held sometime in January or February 2017 (Still TBD).

Tischa Mason, Executive Director

SFNFCI

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