We really like talking about the good things that happen in Uganda: wells that are working, women that are learning life skills, and villages that are developing healthy sanitation habits. These are great things to talk about! But there is so much more that has to happen behind the scenes to make these projects possible. One, which seems particularly relevant to this edition of the newsletter, is managing our finances.
We take the responsibility of managing money entrusted to us very seriously. We want to ensure it is spent appropriately, that our projects are effective, and that Kibo has the resources needed to be healthy over the long term. Therefore, many people are involved in developing our budget and overseeing our finances. On a basic level Bobby Garner, who is the Country Director in Uganda, works with Kibo staff in Jinja to set a budget each year. This process is overseen by our Executive Director Larry Norman and approved by the board of directors. During the year, money is moved from our bank accounts in the United States to Ugandan banks to cover approved expenses based on requests for money. This money is then spent, receipts turned in, and reports generated to ensure that money is spent properly.
Kibo Group’s accountants Justine and Samantha (Sam) are critical in ensuring that this process runs smoothly on a day-to-day basis. Justine’s office is in Jinja, Uganda at the Source Cafe, while Sam lives and works in Rochester, Michigan. Justine works to track expenses incurred during the course of doing our work in Uganda, making sure we stay within budget, and compiling requests for funds each month. Sam maintains detailed records on incoming donations, monitors expenses to budget, prepares consolidated financial statements, and completes all required government filings. They both work together to keep everything in sync, check each other’s work, and make sure that money is being used to reach our objectives and goals.
Sometimes there are obstacles: two countries, two languages, two currencies, two sets of accounting laws and best practices, compounded by a 8-hour time difference! Sam and Justine both agree that the occasional frustrations of a delayed wire transfer or late night email are worth it. As you can see, tracking our money is critical to the health and success of Kibo Group, and is a great opportunity for all of us to learn from each other.