The workshop carried out in Chipata, Zambia, provided financial planning and management capacitation to 10 participants (4 women) from the 5 participating local radios in Zambia. This training contributed to: build the capacity of the radio stations to plan and control financial resources (Income & expenditure, budgeting, Cashflow projections and growth plans); empower local radio stations for the use of ICTs in financial planning and management, including internet applications; development of financial principles and values (transparency, efficiency, accountability, trust); and elaboration of financial plans for their financial resourcing for 2014 and 2015.
Main areas covered by the workshop were;
- Financial planning and its importance
- Identifying the key steps in Financial Planning
- Conducting a SWOT analysis
- Developing financial strategic plans, execution, monitoring the progress and evaluating the outcome
- Financial Management and its basic principles
- Internal controls in accounting and benefits
- Use of ICTs in preparing financial statements for use by various stakeholders
- Use of ICTs as Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) tools in Financial Planning and Management
Introduction to accounting software
Palladium Accounting: The participants downloaded from the internet a free version of Palladium Accounting called Palladium Individual. It was also noted that Palladium Accounting is available in advanced but affordable versions of Palladium Business and Palladium Enterprise. Palladium Business and Palladium Enterprise are sold per package and the payment is made once, instead of a monthly fee.
MYOB Accounting: The participants also went through MYOB Accounting software (which is FOSS). This is an Australian package with very similar features to Palladium Accounting.
MS Excel Worksheets: Participants were also advised to improve the formats of the MS Excel worksheets that they were currently using so that the reports generated become more useful in decision making and financial reporting and used as monitoring and evaluation tools. The suggested improved sheets made up of the following monthly reports: Cashbooks, General Ledger, Trial balances, Income and Expenditure, Balance sheet, Comparative Actual and Budgeted Income and Expenditure, Comparative Actual and Budgeted Balance sheet.
Responses to the post training assessment indicated that the participants acquired new knowledge on the subject matter. Key achievements were:
- Clearer understanding of what financial planning and management is, and the purpose it plays in the management of radio stations.
- Knowledge of the important role that regular and accurate financial reports play in making prudent financial decisions, achieving good corporate governance and image, and trust among all stakeholders.
- Enhanced knowledge and skills on the use of ICTs in preparing and monitoring budgets, cash-flow projections and financial statements.