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What are the Lessons from Government Smart Financial Management?


March 17, 2017

Our annual FreeBalance International Steering Committee (FISC) closed with a day at the government track of the World Happiness Summit. Sharing lessons among government practitioners is one of the FISC benefits. We also like to share these observations with public sector professionals globally. The collection of tweets about these lessons have been curated below.

The top takeaways were:

Methodology Shifts

It has become clear that traditional approaches to PFM reform and IT implementations have not resulted in positive outcomes. Reform efforts lag. Information technology implementations, such as Government Resource Planning (GRP) or Integrated Financial Management Information Systems (IFMIS), often fail to deliver expected results. Many IT projects in advanced countries are delivered late and over budget. There was some discussion about the new book by Matt Andrews, Lant Pritchett and Michael Woolcock: Building State Capability: Evidence, Analysis, Action that is available for free download

Public Service Capacity

FISC attendees shared lessons on building skills within the public service. Some governments have more success in creating learning environments and making public service a desired career path. There was consensus that many governments underfund training programs.

Public Policy Focus

The workshops during FISC focused on wellbeing as public policy. Budgets represent the embodiment of government policy. FISC attendees shared lessons on budget planning and budget planning design focused on sectors that appear to be more relevant to national wellbeing: employment, health, public safety, environment and education.

Transparency, Accountability and Government Performance

The linkage between public finances and service delivery was discussed in length. There is a growing lack of trust in government. Transparency and accountability are seen as ways to improve trust while improving government performance. Improved service delivery can increase tax compliance enabling governments to improve service delivery further.


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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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