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News Balance: From new technology to PFM reform


September 9, 2016

Welcome to News Balance, our weekly blog recapping the changing face of public financial management (PFM) and more.

From government contracts, tax reforms, updated procurement policy, cloud computing, transparency, ERP fails, to tech takeovers, FreeBalance is your one stop shop for staying up to date on technology and PFM reform around the world.

We’ll also touch on stories that relate to topics such as big data, Smart Cities, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, sustainability, cloud computing and information we believe will be of interest to all levels of government and its citizens.

Questions? Concerns? Story ideas? Feel free to drop me a line at, I’m always looking for new content to enhance the experience at

NetSuite shareholder opposes sale to Oracle

Is $9.3 billion too low for Netsuite? That’s what investment manager and board member T. Rowe Price believes as Oracle looks to finalize the acquisition of the U.S. cloud computing company. In a recent letter made public, T. Rowe told the company’s board it would not tender its shares. This could put pressure on Oracle Chairman Larry Ellison to consider making a new offer. (…read more)

NZX calls for greater transparency

The New Zealand Exchange (NZX) is waiting to see what kind of response it receives after proposing a number of changes to its corporate governance best practices. These includes, a published code of ethics, rules on share trading, and more transparency over board appointments and chief executive pay. (…read more)

Why PFM is integral to smart government

In a six-part series, FreeBalance investigates smart governments and how they are evolving thanks to the emergence of public financial management systems. In addition, FreeBalance looks at how metadata is being used as well as why smart cities are trending globally. (…read more)

OECD tax cooperation project a big hit

A new OECD agreement by more than 100 countries will “combat tax evasion and avoidance have been substantially strengthened,” according to Grace Perez-Navarro, deputy director of the OECD Centre for Tax Policy and Administration. (…read more)

Samsung feeling the burn

Talk about bad timing. While Apple releases its new iPhone 7 adding a water-resistant body, better cameras, 256GB capacity – and no headphone jack, Samsung has been dealing with recalls to its new Galaxy Note 7 smartphones. According to Samsung, the smartphone has been found to be fire-prone and the company has halted sales in multiple markets. (…read more)

Africa looks to the clouds

Looks like Africa is headed to the clouds. According to Quinton Pienaar, CEO of cloud services company, Agilitude, “The role of digital transformation agencies is becoming more important to anyone wanting to successfully compete in the modern business environment.” With that being said, over the next five years, Africa will see rapid growth in its cloud service adoption, with a forecast of 42% growth a year. (…read more)

Nigerian economy slips into recession

With the oil industry hit by weaker global prices, Nigeria has slipped into a recession. The country has now seen two consecutive quarters of declining growth. Crude oil sales account for 70% of government income. (…read more)

G20 calls for greater tax transparency

As G20 meetings wrapped in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou, leaders committed to work for a “fair and modern international tax system,” in particular by combating tax avoidance. G20 leaders plan to implement international transparency standards for the purposes of tackling corruption, tax evasion, terrorist financing, and money laundering. (…read more)

Phoenix payroll fix could cost $50M this year

How much does it cost to fix a problem-plagued payroll system? In the case of the Canadian government, the price will be as high as $50 million this year. The federal government said, it is “starting to see progress” in its efforts to reduce the backlog of cases from the Phoenix payroll system. The number of employees with outstanding pay issues now stands at 67,500. (…read more)

EU bites into Apple for $14.5 billion

Now that’s what I call taking a bite out of the Apple. The European Commission recently ordered Apple to pay Ireland unpaid taxes of up to 13 billion euros ($14.5 billion) as it ruled the firm had received illegal state aid. Apple and Dublin said the U.S. company’s tax treatment was in line with Irish and European Union law and they would appeal the ruling. (…read more)

New Zealand seeks public input on open data policies

New Zealand launched an open data framework in 2011, but believe they still have work to do. Land Information Minister Louise Upston is now seeking public input on the development of polices to make government data available to the public. She is seeking views on whether New Zealand should adopt the International Open Data Charter, a set of global principles for making government data available to the public. (…read more)

Big data is big business

Big data is no longer just a buzzword. A new report from SNS Research suggests big data in 2016 will exceed $46 billion in revenues and that is just the beginning. According to the report, by the end 2020, companies will spend more than $72 billion on big data hardware sales professional services. (…read more)

Angolan finance minister sacked after two-year slump

Following a two-year economic slump triggered by the collapse in oil prices, Angolan finance minister Armando Manuel has been let go of his duties. According to a statement, Manuel will be replaced by Augusto Archer de Sousa Hose, who is more widely known as Archer Mangueira, the head of the country’s capital markets commission. (…read more)

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Michael Sutherland-Shaw

Michael Sutherland-Shaw

Marketing Communications Specialist at FreeBalance
Michael works in the marketing and communications department following a career in journalism. Michael is currently learning Ruby on Rails and loves discovering new music.

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