Business Manager - Water Witness

Business Manager - Water Witness


Location: Edinburgh-based with potential for international travel

Salary:  £36,565 - £40,515

Contract/Hours: Full-time


About the Organisation:

Water Witness leads action, research and advocacy for a fair water future where all people can access the water needed to thrive, and are protected against floods, drought, pollution, ecosystem degradation and water conflict.

About the Role:

The Business Manager is a new, senior and influential position. We are looking for a high-calibre professional with the experience and skills needed to successfully co-ordinate, deliver and lead Water Witness’ financial, administrative, and human resource management to ensure the sustainability of the charity, the achievement of our aims, as well as to protect our reputation, interests and assets.  As Business Manager, you will be responsible for efficient day-to-day financial and administrative operations across a busy office of 7-10 staff with directly funded partnership operations in four countries. You will play a key role in decision making and the delivery of Water Witness’s work, deploying your skills and experience in financial management, accounting, administration, and communications, to improve our organisational effectiveness and impact. A high level of accuracy and attention to detail will be needed to undertake reviews of business processes, budget and contract negotiations, preparation of donor reports, as well as for internal and external audits.  An ability to build effective working relationships with our dynamic team and partners, and to ensure joint ownership and high-quality delivery of complex programmes together will be essential.

Key Responsibilities:

The objectives of this role are to co-ordinate, deliver and lead Water Witness’ financial, administrative and people related management to ensure the sustainability of the charity and the achievement of its aims, as well as to protect our reputation, interests and assets. Specific responsibilities include:


Financial Management

  • Managing day-to-day financial operations including accounts payable, accounts receivable/grants claims, bank reconciliations, general accounting functions in line with recognized accounting protocols.  Note that we receive and expend funds in multiple currencies in multiple countries.
  • Improving economy and efficiency across the organisation and ensuring a robust internal control environment, including through identification, benchmarking, development, implementation and enhancement of relevant systems and processes.
  • Ensuring that accounting and administrative processes are understood and adhered to across the organisation e.g. expenses claim forms are submitted promptly and correctly, risk assessment forms are completed prior to travel.
  • Developing and maintaining a full cost recovery process.
  • Preparation of annual budgets, developing and strengthening budget monitoring, reporting and preparation of quarterly financial forecasts, management reports, and statutory annual accounts, keeping the leadership team fully informed of significant financial issues and developments both internally and externally.
  • Preparing and coordinating the charity’s financial reporting to donors & external audits.
  • Managing and supporting external stakeholder relationships including with donors, banks, regulators, contractors, suppliers, landlord, accountants, and auditors.
  • Working with budget holders in the UK and in-country to review performance against budget, providing financial advice, support or training to non-finance staff as required.
  • Presenting finance and funding updates to the Admin and Finance Committee (AFC) and the Board of Trustees.
  • Supporting the Board and ensuring compliance in submitting accounts, reports and other information to OSCR, Companies House and other such duties as required.
  • Ensuring that the charity is compliant with all legislation, guidelines and best practice relevant to finance and taxation applicable to charitable organisation, including discharging all relevant obligations under the Companies and Charities Acts.
  • Processing payroll on a monthly basis, ensuring salary payments are correct and timely.
  • Maintaining the charity’s insurance schedule and payments, coordinating any claims.


Administration and Communications 

  • Managing the office and premises, the lease and desk rentals; Applying Value for Money principles, maintaining/purchasing office furniture, equipment, and stationery, and managing relationships with suppliers of services such as utilities, transport, telephones, stationery, cleaning and postage/courier services.
  • Ensuring that risk is managed according to the risk policy, and that the risk policy is regularly reviewed and updated and the risk register is maintained.
  • Managing the charity’s Information and Communications Technology and assets, so that ICT systems and teleconferencing facilities are secure, reliable and work efficiently and that data protection legislation is adhered to; purchasing hardware and software; ensuring that software is properly supported and staff trained in its use; managing relationships with IT support and website providers; and maintaining an overview of our support requirements.
  • Overseeing paper and electronic filing systems and storage systems, ensuring that Google Drive is used consistently across the charity, that the data is accurate and well maintained.
  • Website maintenance, updates and managing/supporting our social media presence, communications and public-relations strategies.
  • Ensure that our quality assurance systems are appropriate and in place, so that all external facing communications are consistent with our high quality standards & corporate image.
  • Overall responsibility for ensuring that Water Witness and its staff understand and comply with all relevant health and safety, fire prevention, and data protection; Ensure fire prevention equipment is serviced regularly.
  • Keeping up to date with Safeguarding and Health and Safety legislation and requirements, training and advising staff and partners.
  • Keep abreast of trends and developments in finance and administration, identifying opportunities to improve existing Water Witness practices.


Human Resource Management

  • Ensuring that the charity is compliant with all Employment and Health and Safety Law, including adherence to legislation relating to individual and collective matters of staff mental & physical health and employment rights.
  • Managing key HR processes, ensuring that all staff receive a full induction and appraisals, monitoring probationary periods, contract end dates, and maintaining the personnel files.
  • Recruiting staff and supporting partner recruitment as required.
  • Providing HR support and advice, coaching line managers.


Person Specification

Experience and Qualifications:


  • Recognized professional qualification in financial management (e.g. ACA, ACCA, CIMA, CIPFA) with a thorough understanding of accounting principles and techniques.
  • At least seven year’s relevant experience which will include managing and administration of organisational finances, budgeting and monitoring, producing monthly, quarterly and annual accounts with analysis and commentary etc.
  • Strong experience in use of IT for accountancy and financial management as well as wider experience of managing an organization’s ICT systems & networks.
  • Excellent understanding of current legal requirements and best practice in financial management and accounting, ideally as relevant to the charity sector.
  • Sound knowledge of employment and workplace legislation, e.g. Diversity, Contracts of Employment, Health and Safety, Risk Assessment and understanding and experience of how to comply with and adapt to legal obligations.
  • Relevant experience of management of office administration and communications.


  • Experience of charity accounting and donor reporting and relationship management
  • Knowledge and understanding of charity fundraising, project management and SORP.
  • Working in a complex, global organisation which handles multiple currencies in multiple countries.
  • Experience of human resource management.


Skills and Attributes


  • Able to produce high-quality work, managing a wide-ranging and complex workload by prioritizing effectively while remaining calm and effective under pressure.
  • Self-motivated, pro-active and able to work independently using good judgement.
  • Well organized with good time management skills and able to provide accurate information and consistently high-quality outputs within tight deadlines.
  • Confident oral and written communicator and effective negotiator with a wide range of people at all levels.
  • Demonstrates maturity, professionalism, gravitas - a source of knowledge and experience which inspires confidence within the team.
  • Works as an effective and flexible team member, willing to accept ad-hoc work requests, and able to constructively avoid and manage workplace conflicts.
  • Able to support and guide colleagues on complex financial matters as well as provide general support on budgeting and financial planning.
  • Excellent IT skills and experienced in using commonly used software, particularly accounting software.
  • Trustworthy, able to maintain confidentiality, deal with sensitive information and to take responsibility for important operational functions.
  • People-management ability that inspires and motivates others to make their maximum contribution to the best of their ability.


  • Skilled in graphic design, use of communications and social media.
  • A demonstrable commitment to social justice and sustainable use of natural resources.

How to Apply:

Applications should be sent to with ‘Business Manager’ in the subject line.  Please provide a CV and cover letter in ONE single document. The cover letter should be no more than two pages long, must explain why you want to work in this position, and should clearly set out how your skills and experience make you a good fit. 

To find out more visit

Deadline: 12 noon BST 3rd August 2020

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