© 2018 Peace and Development Foundation

2016 Internship Report -- Song Xuan

March 5, 2017

 

Name: SONG Xuan

PhD of Economics in Finance

Nankai University

Position: Finance Unit Intern in UNDP

Duration: 27th Jun 2016-30th Sep 2016 (3 months)

Sponsorship: United Nations Peace and Development Foundation

Supervisor: JIANG Hongxing

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am so honored to have been chosen as the sponsored intern for finance unit in UNDP. My interview process was professional and efficient. After I sent my application and resume, my school and PDF investigated my qualification and transferred my files to UNDP. I got an Excel operating examination at the beginning. After that, two staff, SU Dongxing and JING Qianguo, gave me a telephone interview which lasted about half an hour. Questions were mainly related to financial knowledge, English ability, willingness to work as a full-time intern and so on.

 

My first day went pretty well. Thanks to my predecessor and my colleagues’ kind guidance, I got familiar with my tasks quickly.

Work in UNDP

The whole UNDP China office consists of program team, operational team, ME team and communication team. I worked in the finance unit, which is an important part from operational team. My tasks involved routine payment processing and flexibly assigned financial tasks. Under the guidance from my supervisor and kind colleagues, I needed to complete payments accurately and efficiently.

Ø Routine payment processing

 

Pay cycle is a payment processing progress operated in ATLAS, the ERP system used by UN institutions. On a daily basis, I ran certain amount of payments approved by JIANG Hongxing and attached supporting materials to the corresponding payment paper. To meet different paying requirement, I used the CITIBANK e-banking system to make electronic remittance and the SHORTCUT system to print checks. Although everything was done by computer, I needed to pay attention to special details. For example, I needed to make sure that each check number was exclusive and the check payee was exactly the same as provided. All payments should be double checked by my colleagues and finance officer.

At the end of each month, I typed the bank balance sheets into the ATLAS system to compare bank data with UNDP financial records. After Dongxing prepared signed documents, I bound to get the official monthly bank statement.

I also needed to file the approved vouchers in order in the cabinet everyday so that the original supporting materials could be easily found by its voucher number. Besides, I did some common office administrative work, like making copies, faxing documents, collecting registered payment requests, checking mailbox and so on.

 

 

Ø Flexibly assigned financial tasks.

During my internship, I was assigned other financial tasks on request. I assisted my colleagues in their specialized areas when there were massive or urgent tasks. For example, I transferred flying ticket purchase orders into account payable vouchers so that payees could get reimbursement. I also processed some salary payments and external expertise payoffs. Sometimes I helped with tax refund for senior foreign officers in my office through Foreign Ministry website.

Sometimes I needed to cooperate with other teams. For example, I worked with the management evaluation team to do project management in UNDP. We met from time to time. After project delivery status was updated, we discussed it with finance officer, ME team leader and deputy country director. After the discussion, we produced a descriptive report for ME team to post on UNDP intranet. This greatly added to a better communication and transparency within UNDP. Besides, I worked with the purchasing team to screen supplying bidders. By analyzing audited financial statement with a series of index, I presented brief comments on financial status quo for each bidder so that the most qualified cooperator stood out.

Think in UNDP

Although working is the theme for my internship, I still think that what impresses me most is how you can broaden your mind by observing, thinking and practicing in UNDP every day.

 

 

Ø Standard operation progress and professional staff

In UNDP, transactions are completed according to international standardized regulations. Take the finance unit as example. The project delivery is monitored by project managers, ME team and finance team. Every day, staff cope with massive payment requirements from both UNDP and sister agency. Every payment in finance is processed with certain procedure and entitled with special account number, donor code and so on. All successful payments will be reviewed by senior officers. Every staff is very

professional. They are clear with necessary steps and deal with both foreign and domestic financial issues. It is SOP and sophisticated staff members which give the finance unit powerful processing ability.

 

 

Ø Sense of mission

UNDP carries out different projects which strictly agree with its concept of promoting public welfare. All projects are meant to provide better living for Chinese people without business intention. You may find the project which helps women to acquire reasonable rights in remote areas in China. You may also find the project which tries to mitigate air and water pollution in China. As I get to know each project better, I realize that there are more responsibilities for young people to take to make our world a better place.

Ø Environmental care in office

 

You can find a lot of environment-friendly gestures in UNDP. The energy saving signal is everywhere to see. There are fixed boxes for used bulbs and battery. In summer, staff members always set the temperature of air-conditioning above 26 degree. Papers are printed on both sides. Everyone takes practical actions to care for environment. This influences me a lot. I think this is something we need to do persistently.

 

Participate in UNDP

There are many opportunities for interns to learn and participate. Each intern starts from orientation given by HR officer to know UNDP. There will be seminars for interns to communicate and talk about what they are doing in their position. Interns can be invited to participate in farewell parties for leaving staff. Thanks to HR team’s innovative ideas, rather than sentiment, it is happiness and wishes which surround everyone.

From time to time, there are brown bag sessions held in large conference room. While everyone is having delicious food and drinks, senior officers will give an informal speech on specific topics, like how to choose qualified cooperators, UN regulations and other interesting stuff.

I was very lucky and honored to have met Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who made a visit in UNDP China Office in July this year. He gave a speech and encouraged young people to participate in UN career. Everyone was enormously inspired.

 

Participate in UNDP

There are many opportunities for interns to learn and participate. Each intern starts from orientation given by HR officer to know UNDP. There will be seminars for interns to communicate and talk about what they are doing in their position. Interns can be invited to participate in farewell parties for leaving staff. Thanks to HR team’s innovative ideas, rather than sentiment, it is happiness and wishes which surround everyone.

From time to time, there are brown bag sessions held in large conference room. While everyone is having delicious food and drinks, senior officers will give an informal speech on specific topics, like how to choose qualified cooperators, UN regulations and other interesting stuff.

I was very lucky and honored to have met Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who made a visit in UNDP China Office in July this year. He gave a speech and encouraged young people to participate in UN career. Everyone was enormously inspired.

 

Make friends in UNDP

There is great diversity of staff composition in UNDP. Interns are from different places with different academic backgrounds as well. However, everyone is so friendly and helpful. Interns will go for lunch from time to time. It feels so right to talk with many interesting people here.

 

More to say…

As my internship has come to an end, I just want to say how lucky for me to have this precious opportunity to work in UNDP. I recommend the internship to any student who wants to experience a professional working atmosphere and dedicates themselves into NGO career. The experience will be a great bonus in the future academic or vocational career.

In terms of which team you should apply for, it depends on personal interests and characters. If you are good at communicating and organizing, communication team may be a good choice. If you have some innovative ideas, program team may help you to realize it. If you are a careful and prudent person, you should try the finance intern position. In brief, read position description carefully and make a choice according to personal situation.

I want to thank PDF for supporting me during my internship. Besides, I want to thank my dear colleagues from finance unit in UNDP. We have become good friends, and their help can be a lifetime treasure for me.

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