January 20, 2013Doug Hadden
Doug Hadden, VP Products
FISC 2013 is our Seventh Annual FreeBalance International Steering Committee conference. The FISC approach differs from the traditional technology user group conference in many ways – good ways, we think
For one thing, FISC is about enabling customers to influence FreeBalance, not the other way around.
And, FISC is about gathering Public Financial Management (PFM) professionals from different countries around the world to help share good practices. We often have keynote speakers. And, we share our research and experience well beyond the narrow boundaries of being a software company. That’s our mission. I looked through past public FISC presentations (and those adapted from FISC and made public) and found my 7 favourites :
1. Sequencing Public Financial Management Reform
David Nummy from Grant Thornton providing practical experience about PFM reform in developing countries. PFM reform sequencing is a critical concern in developing countries and was of great interest to our government customers. This resulted in a brainstorming session and spirited discussions. It was agreed that capacity building was the most critical factor for reform success for the first stages. But, the importance of capacity building never dropped below “very important” for every stage of PFM maturity.
2. Governance Valuation
We’ve taken lessons in PFM sequencing over the years further to provide tools to help governments decide on the most effective reform courses of action. This presentation, slightly adapted from FISC 2012, was built on many of the ideas from the brainstorming from FISC 2008.
3. IFMIS of Tomorrow
We use FISC to help us understand the future of Public Financial Management. We also share our research with government customers. We adapted this from the presentation we gave at the first FISC in 2007. Some of the predictions did come to pass.
4. Technology Leapfrog
Leveraging technology for governance is a concern for a software company like FreeBalance. Our government customers have been leveraging technology from FreeBalance and other vendors to enable reform and transparency. This often enables these governments to “leapfrog” more developed countries. This presentation was adapted from content given by our customers at different FISC events. Ever government that attends FISC provides an overview of PFM lessons learned: challenges, solutions, achievements with an emphasis on initiatives from the past year.
5. The Social Future of PFM
Social media, open data, Government 2.0 and crowdsourcing represents significant opportunities and risks for government. We reflected on this last year at FISC in the wake of the Arab Spring, the Ushahidi platform and the Tea Party movement. And, we presented this at the ICGFM conference later that year.
6. Lessons from Fragile States
Steve Symanksy, formerly at the IMF, provided insight based on his experience in fragile states. He explained that the view that PFM reform should start with proper planning is incorrect: fragile states should start with budget execution and control first.
7. Post-Conflict Lessons
FreeBalance has been successful implementing sustainable Government Resource Planning (GRP) systems in post-conflict countries. (This seems to be confirmed in a recent World Bank report.” We’ve also been successful in more developed countries in achieving low costs for customers and ease to adapt software to changing needs. We reflected on the post-conflict experience using some of the content from customer presentations.