The purpose of my role (in a nutshell) is to collect, process and store evidence for all expenditure on the programme. Every three months MOTW informs our funders what we have spent, and they refund the money to us. This is called the claim.
As MOTW is a partnership project, each partner has a budget and a share of the funds. The information that I receive contributes to determining whether budgets are being well-managed and the amount of funding to be reimbursed.
Each month, I receive information from colleagues across the programme, including lists of items of expenditure and supporting evidence documents. The expenditure covers everything that keeps MOTW running, from salary costs and photocopier bills to participant bus fares and interview clothes.
This week is what we ominously call ‘Deadline Week.’
I’ve received the final lists and documents from across the programme for this quarter’s claim and I’ve spent the past couple of days saving emails to folders on our shared drive and printing out documents to be filed in paper format. This is very time consuming but important part of the process as, legally, all evidence must be retained for 10 years after the MOTW programme ends.
It also sets me up for the next part of the task, which is the processing of the documents, and that is what I’m working on today.
Due to the pandemic, I now work predominantly from home, and one of the advantages of this is that I can have piles of paperwork stretching out across my office floor without worrying about tripping up my colleagues! I’m lucky that I have my own office space in my home that’s safe and secure for the nature of the documents I’m processing, but also allows me to separate my working life from my home life. Another advantage of being at home all the time is that I get to hang out with my cat (not that she always welcomes this…)
I make sure that all the evidence is on file, from purchase receipts or pay slips to bank statements, as well as everything between such as participant expense forms and payroll documents. I also ensure that all forms are signed, that figures are correct and match up between documents and that the spend is within the rules. This requires a great deal of concentration and often results in head-scratching too as I attempt to un-pick a large amount of information, but when the job is done, I do feel a sense of satisfaction.
As I am progressing through these checks, I am also knitting together all of the lists from the last three months, making notes of queries and removing anything that is problematic to discuss with colleagues later. By the end of the day, I am a quarter of the way through my work, which is a good place to be.
In a few days I will be able to confidently hand over the lists to Claire, the Finance Manager, to conduct even more checks and submit the final claim to the funder. Then, I will provide feedback and raise queries with colleagues, await any questions and more detailed monitoring from the funder and start the process all over again.