The Project

Fundação Companhia de Jesus – Timor-Leste (Jesuits in Timor-Leste Regio) and Instituto São João de Brito (ISJB) are looking for an Accountant Mentor/Financial Planner.

The Jesuit-run Institute for Teacher Education in Timor-Leste aims to form secondary teachers who will spearhead the formation of future generations of Timorese.

After operating in temporary facilities for 2016 and 2017, the Instituto de São João de Brito (ISJB) moved into their new purpose-built campus and has over 100 students studying Degree and Diploma qualifications in secondary education.

The students come from all parts of Timor-Leste, which is critical to the success and long-term impact of the program. When the well-qualified teachers return home, they will lift the quality of education locally, and in-turn nationally.

You will be working with the team to review and develop policies and guidelines on financial processes that will reflect a sound accounting system and will be captured in a published finance manual.

The Location

Kasait is a rural area within the Ulmera District, approximately 18 kilometres from Dili.

The Challenge

Timor-Leste is Asia’s youngest country and still one of Southeast Asia’s poorest countries. Achieving independence came at great cost for the Timorese with many people killed and displaced, many buildings, homes and schools severely damaged or destroyed, and the institutions and public services decimated. The country lost over 80% of its secondary teachers in its battle for independence.  Today, Timor-Leste has a very high youth population (over 61%) and high youth unemployment, 50% of the population still live in extreme poverty. Today, there are many teachers across the country without adequate qualifications and training to teach at a secondary level.

The Jesuits in Timor have collaborated with the Ministry of Education, other Catholic schools and the education sector more broadly to ensure the curriculum and education programs meets the needs of the country.

About You

The successful candidate will have:

  • Qualifications in finance, record keeping, and/or business administration,
  • Experience training and mentoring staff in financial administration,
  • Experience in financial strategy and operations
  • Familiarity with QuickBooks or other accounting software
  • Experience in creating an endowment fund and sustainability fund
  • Cultural sensitivity and willingness to live and work in a remote community
  • Personal attributes that will be vital include flexibility, patience and a sense of humour
  • Willingness to engage their Australian community in promoting the work of the host organisation and their role

How You Will Help

First you must be willing to learn from the local community.

Over the first six months you are asked not to change anything or suggest a change to operations.  During that six months you will take the time to learn language and cultural mores from a local counterpart willing to mentor you.  You will also start a register of the strengths of the current personnel and the assets in the community/country that might be used to achieve the goals of the assignment.

You need to commit to clarifying why things are done the way they are rather than presuming from your own cultural lens to outline what is missing. So, you need to ask questions to enable you to learn from your hosts, rather than in ignorance make suggestions about how things can improve. Palms training will prepare you for this approach.

In the second six months you will be ready and better know which of your skills and your knowledge can be applied to achieve the following outcomes:

  • By end of 2025, ISJB will have a complete policies and guidelines on the financial processes that will reflect a sound accounting system to be captured in a published finance manual.
  • By end of 2025, ISJB will have a finance team that is competent in terms of recording, reporting, analysing, and processing all the financial transactions and activities of the school and can respond to the internal and external queries.
  • By end of 2025, the finance team will have the capacity to advise the Rector on strategic finance matters of the school and in the decision-making processes.

Feature image: ISJB class of 2019 – the first teacher-trainees to complete their studies.

Note: The monthly living allowance enables you to live a modest local lifestyle. Based on the cost of living in a particular country, it covers food, your daily commute, communication and other local costs. It is not set to enable you to meet financial commitments at home, such as a mortgage or a personal loan.  It will not cover the costs of eating out and other entertainment. Read more about what is covered in our FAQ.


Think you have what it takes? Register your interest

    * Successful applicants must be available to attend an orientation course in Sydney. Palms Australia will not fund international flights and will not sponsor visas to attend this course. Read our FAQ for more.