January 17, 2011Doug Hadden
Manuel Pietra, FreeBalance President and CEO, provided a company update to delegates at the FreeBalance International Steering Committee (FISC) conference in Madeira Portugal. He spoke about the purpose of FISC – to drive the priorities for the FreeBalance Accountability Suite and to act as a forum for knowledge transfer among Public Financial Management (PFM) practitioners. He described the use of the 6 Thinking Hats parallel thinking approach for arriving at decisions.
Mr. Pietra described the evolution of FISC since 2007. He welcomed first-time delegations from Kyrgyzstan, Liberia and Uganda. FISC was augmented in 2010 to include Ministers of Finance. This program will continue for every two years. The FISC conference is the most important event for aligning product development with international customer requirements. The FreeBalance Government of Canada Cluster has a similar role to FISC but with more opportunities to connect.
FreeBalance adjusted the program to meet customer priorities from FISC 2010 and FreeBalance surveys. FISC 2011 objectives include assisting governments to leverage the latest technology and to align products with needs for the coming two years. Mr. Pietra described the differences between steering committees and user groups. There are Minister’s meetings every 2 years with extended sessions.
FreeBalance continues to grow at above average rates. New offices were opened in 2010. The employee base has also increased. Mr. Pietra believes that the customer-centric approach taken in mid-2006 has assisted the company to grow. This reorganization into a matrix with a single development, implementation and support process has enabled FreeBalance to be customer-driven. He described some of the latest initiatives in customer-centric development including the full use of the balanced scorecard methodology that aligns customer measurements with financial, internal process and learning metrics.
Some of the FreeBalance highlights of 2010 include:
- Assisting the Government of Timor-Leste in accelerating PFM reform
- Celebrating World Read Aloud Day
- Nomination for CATAAlliance Leadership Award
- Government of Kosovo Case Study in PFM Reform
- Joining the Canadian Council on Africa
- New customers including the Government of Liberia and MCA Fiscal Agent in Namibia
Corporate Social Responsibility
As a For Profit Social Enterprise(FOPSE), FreeBalance strives to make a difference in the world. Unlike most companies, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is core the FreeBalance mission to help governments across the world leverage robust government financial management technology to accelerate country growth. He described how the balanced scorecard and triple bottom linereporting is assisting FreeBalance to achieve mission objectives.
The annual FreeBalance International Steering Committee (FISC) conference runs from January 16 – 19, 2011 in Madeira, Portugal. FISC provides an interactive forum to exchange Public Financial Management (PFM) good practices among international customers and PFM thought leaders. FISC drives the FreeBalance Accountability Suiteproduct vision to direct FreeBalance GRP solutions. Previous FISC events were held in Mt. Tremblant, Canada (2010); Prague, Czech Republic (2009); Cascais, Portugal (2008); and London, United Kingdom (2007).