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Centre for Environmental Rights – Advancing Environmental Rights in South Africa

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Reference No: 1/2023

Applications close: 30 April, 2023

The Centre for Environmental Rights is looking for a qualified accountant to join our finance team.  Based in Cape Town the key responsibility of this position is to provide the technical oversight in managing the Centre’s financial resources.

Reporting directly to the Head of Operations, the accountant will be responsible for managing the various aspects of financial and accounting transactions including funding and budget management, payroll cycle, financial and budget reporting and planning. Together with the bookkeeper the accountant will likewise manage the procurement payment process and engage with our service providers and stakeholders as required.

The successful candidate must have considerable and practical knowledge on various financial and accounting policies and procedures and compliance obligations, as well as a strong understanding of organisational risk exposure and mitigation measures. This position is a considered a specialist role who needs to be able to contribute towards the Centre’s short to long term financial and strategic objectives.

The successful candidate needs to be disciplined and highly organised, meticulous, honest and a trustworthy person with a keen eye in scrutinising the various accounting transactions and reports.  We are looking for someone who can work independently yet be able to engage with our management team and staff members.

CER is committed to diversity, inclusion and transformation and strives to reflect South Africa’s racial, cultural, sex and gender diversity within its staff complement. Candidates from historically disadvantaged or marginalised groups are strongly encouraged to apply for this post and will be preferred.


Cape Town

Qualifications, skills and experience

  • Bachelors degree in Accounting, Finance or its recognised equivalent
  • 3-5 years’ relevant experience including minimum of 2 years in a supervisory role within financial management and reporting or 1-year post articles experience
  • AGA(SA), ACCA, CIMA professional qualification is required
  • Relevant software skills to include automated accounting software and database spreadsheets and Management Information Systems
  • Demonstrated analytical skills in the compilation and interpretation of budgetary, financial and related management information
  • Ability to conduct complex system analysis studies involving financially oriented applications
  • Ability to effectively communicate financial and internal control issues to staff with little or no financial background
  • Ability to handle financial and quantitative information with accuracy and precision; resourceful in gathering, verifying and analyzing financial data
  • High degree of proficiency in written and spoken English communication, including presentation and report writing
  • Excellent attention to detail whilst able to stay abreast of impacts to the big picture
  • Prioritization of potentially competing resources and tasks
  • Deadline driven
  • High ethical code and demonstrable integrity
  • Ability to connect dots and apply a systematic approach

Key responsibilities

Key responsibilities and key performance areas of this position currently include the following (although we require flexibility from all our staff as our strategic imperatives change and develop over time):

Strategic financial management:

  • Assist the Head of Operations in managing the financial well-being, sound financial management and financial resilience of the organisation
  • Assist the Head of Operations in leading the annual budgeting process, including organisational and programme budgets
  • Assist the Head of Operations in advising the management team on financial planning, forecasting, monitoring and reporting of the operating and capital budgets and financials
  • analysing and interpreting financial data for the purpose of determining financial performance and projecting financial probability; analysing budget patterns, programme expenditure
  • Assist the Head of Operations in advising the Board’s Finance & Audit Committee on the organisation’s financial sustainability, financial management and controls


Financial procedures, systems and controls:

  • Oversee bookkeeping and financial controls in compliance with the organisation’s Finance Policy & Procedures, including expenditure of funds, and overseeing the preparation of monthly payroll and staff benefits
  • Apply sound accounting and auditing principles and techniques to ensure that data integrity, internal controls and audit trails are maintained throughout all transactions
  • Lead the organisation’s preparation for its annual external audit, and maintaining relationship with the organisation’s auditors
  • Maintain the organisation’s relationship with financial service providers
  • Assist internal business units with procurement management
  • Oversee the financial aspects of the organisation’s staff benefits and maintaining relationship with external service providers
  • Support the organisation’s resourcing through funder proposals and reporting


Risk and compliance:

  • Oversee relevant tax requirements of the organisation
  • Oversee compliance with the legislative and regulatory reporting requirements that have an impact on the organisation’s finance and governance
  • Review risks environment and contribute to reporting on and formulation of effective mitigants
  • Ensure that financial policies and procedures are adhered to in every aspect of financial transactions and reporting. Identify concerns & risks and ensure corresponding mitigation measures and controls are implemented. Ensure statutory and regulatory compliance reports are accurate and submitted on time, e.g. UIF, PAYE, Workmen’s Compensation, taxes, SARS, etc.


Financial management: Manage the chart of accounts, accounts receivables & payables, cash flow, balance sheets, bank and book reconciliation, funding & grant accounting, preparing and submission of various financial reports including reports for submission to the Finance & Audit Committee and to the Board of Directors. Lead in the preparation to ensure a successful financial/external audit (including funder audits).

Budget management: Budget preparation, planning, accounting, including drafting of funding and grant reports; working with various programmes on their budget management, etc.

Payroll management and payroll functions: Prepare staff payroll, manage payroll cycles, monitor various staff benefits, timeously produce and undertake payroll related reports and compliance documents, etc.

Human Resources: contribute to the development and strengthening of the Centre’s finance department as well as in training staff members on financial skills and understanding.

Transformation: participate and contribute towards the Centre’s ongoing diversity, inclusion and transformation objectives not only around the areas of financial management and procurement but also in support to Black and women-owned suppliers and service providers, and similarly as an overarching commitment of the organisation towards transformation.


The salary range for the position is between R569 461 to R602 959 (total cost to company). The salary offered will be dependent on factors that include the qualifications, level of expertise, and experience of the successful candidate. All new staff join our medical aid group scheme with Discovery Health, and the salary package includes a medical aid subsidy. Leave benefits include our 15 working days’ end-of-year break from 17 December every year – which is over and above annual leave; and long leave in the form of a period of 20 working days’ leave every 5 years.

Working for the CER

The Centre for Environmental Rights is a non-profit organisation and law clinic of activist lawyers who work with communities and civil society organisations in South Africa to realise our Constitutional right to a healthy environment by advocating and litigating for environmental justice. We seek a just, equitable, compassionate society which is resilient, celebrates diversity, and respects the inter-dependence between people and the environment.

As South Africa’s largest public interest environmental law organisation, we use our expertise and commitment to fight for environmental justice and advance the right to a healthy environment for all. We take on the big environmental battles: cases in which we can empower local communities, have an enduring impact, set powerful precedents for other cases, and help improve policy and practice across the country.

Winning the legal case is only part of the battle. CER’s litigation work is strengthened by local training and empowerment, dedicated policy and advocacy work, and strategic communications. In all of our work, we work closely with partners in affected communities, with other civil society organisations in the environmental and social justice sector, and with other public interest law organisations.

We work across the following core themes: Mining, Water, Pollution and Climate Change, Corporate Accountability & Transparency, and Activist Support & Training. Our main office in Mowbray, Cape Town, with a smaller office in Forest Town, Johannesburg.

At CER, we value our staff and regard their wellbeing as a priority. We are committed to a work environment that is inclusive and empathetic, and in which diversity is celebrated and supported.

How to apply

Please send the following documents to: [email protected] at Action Appointment; or to [email protected] by 30 April 2023, with the email subject line: “Accountant, Ref 1/2023, Your Full Name”:

  • A cover letter setting out your skills and relevant experience, as well as why you want to work at the CER;
  • A copy of your CV;
  • Two recent written references.

Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. The Centre reserves the right not to appoint should there be no suitable candidate.