May 3, 2012Doug Hadden
Doug Hadden, VP Products
FreeBalance was the Platinum sponsor this year at the International Consortium on Governmental Financial Management (ICGFM) conference on 21st Century Public Financial Management (PFM). FreeBalance participates in PFM events around the world. Yes, helps publicize our strong and exclusive focus on government and Government Resource Planning (GRP). More important than the sales and marketing opportunity is learning: important trends,lessons learned, good practices. You’d think that I’ve heard it all by now. (Someone asked me that yesterday – “isn’t this getting boring”.)
Here’s some of the interesting lessons learned:
- Civil Service reform tends to fall behind general PFM reform (Wescott).
- Reform managed by a single organization work better than when multiple organizations are involved (Wescott).
- It takes about 10 years to achieve full IPSAS Part 1 compliance (Hughes)
- ERP problems in developing governments are dramatically under-reported. Yes, I already knew that – but I hear about one or two new countries with ERP problems every conference. ERP projects tend to be late and have a high TCO. Just another reason to consider software designed for government like FreeBalance. Of course, I could confront representatives from these large vendors – if they were here…
- There is a general inability for ERP or custom-developed FMIS software to adapt to reform. Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA) assessments were a major topic at the conference. The FMIS software in use by countries presenting case studies – all of these showed need to change the financial management system. Yet, no FreeBalance customer has needed to use a different FMIS/GRP to enable reform. Some of our customers have had 2 PEFA assessments! Change processes – yes. Add modules – yes. Reconfigure business rules – yes. Change the software because it can’t progressively activate – no.
- The best idea that I heard was that educational expenditures should be capitalized as a country asset (Wynne).
- Liberia is a fast reformer. The most recent PEFA assessment is well out of date – there has been a lot of progress. For one thing, Liberia has gone live with FreeBalance financial and human resource management software.
- Best quote about PFM: “the blood you inject into the government body” (Dahal).