Job Summary

Partner in formulating the company's growth and cost management strategy and supporting related tactical initiatives

  • Minimum Qualification: Bachelor
  • Experience Level: Management level
  • Experience Length: 10 years

Job Description

SolarNow is hiring a Finance Director, a seasoned professional to design and implement the finance strategy and controls, lead the finance team and be a key member of the team that is making SolarNow a lasting success.

The market

More than 500 million people across sub-Saharan Africa lack access to electricity. Electrification of rural areas cannot keep up with population growth and the grid is often weak. Micro-scale, off-grid power from solar is often the only viable answer to energy poverty.

In countries like Uganda, where only 22% of the population have a grid electricity connection, there is undeniable potential for solar to leapfrog traditional energy provision models; however, affordability, perceptions of low quality and the absence of last-mile distribution and maintenance networks are curtailing development.

The company

These were the very problems that SolarNow was founded to solve in 2011. A Dutch company with its head office in Kampala and core operations in Uganda and Kenya, it sells high-quality solar solutions to fit the needs of rural households and entrepreneurs, from 80Wp small solar home systems capable of powering a radio, phone and a number of lights to 40,000Wp systems that can power productive appliances, schools, clinics or offices. These systems are offered including a range of SolarNow branded consumer electronics, including lights, televisions, fridges and water pumps.

Crucially, SolarNow also provides credit that allows clients to spread payment for their products over 24 months. Together with a network of 50 branches (>500 FTE) in Uganda and Kenya and a price plan that includes full installation and service, backed by a unique five-year warranty, SolarNow has all the pieces in place to take optimal advantage of this unique market opportunity. The company already serves over 45,000 clients and, backed by strong shareholders, plans to roll out its operations into other African countries during the coming years. 

SolarNow increasingly serves the entrepreneurial class. Clients in this segment experience more economic benefits from our solutions, and customer lifetime value is generally higher, as opposed to selling smaller products to the lower end of the market, the focus market of the key competitors. Critically, the company is moving from a product led strategy to a customer led strategy. 

Over the last years, SolarNow has been on a steep growth path. While validating the product market fit, this also revealed weaknesses in internal systems and controls, affecting productivity and causing financial losses. In 2019 management scaled down the operations and embarked on a roadmap towards financial sustainability. The shareholders recently injected new money to implement the plan.

About you

You are someone who cares deeply about improving livelihoods in Africa. You bring more than passion to the role: you have the grit and resilience to do this work. You have deep financial and management expertise, and are excited about being hands-on, without getting lost in the weeds.

You are a proactive problem-solver who is solution focussed and appreciates the broader business needs. You are a team player, a confident clear communicator, and a thoughtful change agent who understands that there are tensions to balance in this kind of diverse organization. 

You are a natural leader and people manager able to guide our finance strategy and management while working in a complex, constantly changing and resource-constrained environment.  You are eager for the challenge of shaping the future of this organization as one of the closest advisors to the CEO and global leadership team. You have the skills to provide clear, consistent financial leadership for a fast-growing company, and the nimbleness to respond to continual innovation and increased demands for performance. You inspire technical and performance excellence with your team, building a sense of shared values and goals.

Specific Responsibilities

Planning:

  • Partner in formulating the company's growth and cost management strategy and supporting related tactical initiatives

  • Monitor and direct the implementation of the strategic transition and growth plan

  • Develop financial and tax strategies to support the business plan

  • Develop performance measures that support the company's strategic direction

Finance Operations:

  • Participate in key decisions as a member of the leadership ? executive team and maintain open collaborative working relationships with leadership across the business

  • Lead and develop the Finance team, to create a positive team environment and effective working culture both within the team and in collaborating across the business

  • Manage the finance teams at the group and subsidiary level

  • Ensure all processes have effective controls to minimize risk of losses

  • Ensure the finance team is efficient, agile, constantly improving and coordinating effectively with their peers across the business

Financial Reporting:

  • Produce timely and accurate financial reports and milestone tracking for all stakeholders supported by clear analysis on trends and emerging issues

  • Design and implement a strong controls framework for financial reporting

  • Maintain high standards of technical and control process documentation

  • Ensure that departmental and company decisions are driven by reliable and complete data

  • Lead coordination of the external audit process and production of annual consolidated and subsidiary financial statements and tax reporting

Treasury Management:

  • Monitor cash balances, produce accurate timely forecasts and maintain effective controls over cash and treasury activities

  • Arrange for debt and equity financing (take this out? what needs to be included for the current plan and milestones tracking )

  • Maintain good relationships, clear and timely communication with all investors

Qualifications and competencies

  • Masters in Business Administration (MBA), preferably specialization in Finance or Strategic management

  • Bachelor degree specializing in finance or Accounting or CPA 

  • At least 10+ years of progressively responsible financial experience for a fast-growing consumer retail or financial institution, preferably in East Africa

  • Strong leadership and management skills

  • Proven financial and treasury management skills

  • High level of oral and written communication skills

  • Excellent interpersonal skills with the ability to work well in a team

  • Demonstrable experience in leading organizations to profitability

  • Working knowledge in accounting systems

  • Fluency in English

Compensation and benefits

SolarNow offers a dynamic role in a high potential, high-impact, for-profit business in a fast-growing market. The Finance Director is based in Kampala. The company offers an attractive package consisting of salary, medical insurance and a stock option scheme.

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