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PFM knowledge sharing, Part 7: IFMIS capacity building


March 17, 2009

This is part 7 of the 9 part series on PFM knowledge sharing.

FreeBalance provides a Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS) IFMIS suite that is used in many countries around the world. We hope that the following is sufficiently objective to be of value to you.

Building human capacity to meet government needs is possibly the most important consideration in making an Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) successful and sustainable. Capacity building is required for each phase of implementation, according to Public Financial Management (PFM) practitioners.

Continuous training is considered a good practice to improving capacity. The tactics for teams and training need to be adjusted depending on the implementation phase. Creating a dedicated core team who can support each other is considered an effective tactic during initial implementation. User and technical training can be rolled out based on implementation needs. Governments with government-operated help desks tend to have smooth roll outs.

Training is one dimension of human capacity. Training that focuses on the reasons for reform and provides accounting and functional knowledge transfer is often more successful than typical “product” training.  Information Technology (IT) training is also needed.

Government organizations should expect staff turnover. Capacity building is a long-term processes. Matching capacity building with civil service reform should be considered. Effective incentives to managers and other stakeholders need to be present. Roles and responsibilities change during different phases.


  • Need for socialization of the reform to build capacity. (Dorotinsky)
  • Sustainability is always the problem. (Peterson)
  • Human resources are the most important determinant of successful reform. (Cangiano)
  • Expect to need a lot of training. (Myers)
  • Need to train people and IT skills. Donors were there for a while and then withdrew – so lost commitment. (Sottie)
  • Successful projects are completed in less than a year followed by training and further roll out. Need to achieve a critical mass change without a lot of political will. (Melhem)
  • Training program needs to be structured to need. (Myers)
  • Need to support civil service rotation. (Prasueth)
  • Continuous training is required. A fundamental change to a performance oriented civil service is required. (Alvarez)
  • Create an intermediate layer of power users who support all of other users. (Farooq)
  • Legal skills among government staff (Pilapitiya )

Coordinating training and implementation plans (Myers)

  • Focused to specific requirements of a given site
  • Imparted just before site implementation
  • Should have a help desk
  • Should have hand-holding clinics

Capacity Development (Murphy)

1. Recognition and willingness to change

  • develop a vision
  • strategic management – Always opposing and supporting forces
  • PFM perspective
  • Environmental scan
  • Gap analysis
  • Diagnostic tools like PEFA and Open Budget Index promotes awareness of international good practices

2. Change capacity: understand change

  • Strategy structures

i. Create structures for management and capacity building Staffing
i. Provide incentives
ii. Enhance salary schemes

  • Leadership

i. Identify owners and champions
ii. Supplement
iii. Restructure if necessary
iv. Strengthen/train
v. Change leadership

3. Transition capacity: Manage the transition

  • Specify
  • Acquire
  • Solution design
  • Build/setup
  • Train

i. Communicate the entire lifecycle because it is an integrated system
ii. End-users, application managers and ICT people have different training needs
iii. Implementation cycle has different training requirements

  • Populate
  • Pilot
  • Implementation
  • Refine

4. Capacity to sustain operation: facilitate sustainable operation of the new system.

Staffing and skills (Murphy)

Implementation Cycle requires different roles and responsibilities.

1. Preparation and Acquisition

  • FMIS
  • Transition structures
  • Specifications
  • Procurement/Evaluation
  • Preparatory Training

2. Design, Testing and Setup

  • Core training
  • BPR (Business Process Reengineering)
  • Solution Design
  • Setup
  • Data collection/migration
  • ICT architecture setup
  • User training
  • Production testing/Parallel runs
  • Production acceptance

3. Pilot Implementation

  • Application support
  • ICT support
  • Problem resolution
  • Evaluation

4. Rollout

  • Expansion/deepening
  • Application Support
  • ICT Support


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Doug Hadden

Doug Hadden

Executive Vice President, Innovation at FreeBalance
Doug is responsible for identifying new global markets, new technologies and trends, and new and enhanced internal processes. Doug leads a cross-functional international team that is responsible for developing product prototypes and innovative go-to-market strategies.

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