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International Consortium on Government Financial Management Backgrounder


May 3, 2012

Manuel Pietra Selected as President-Elect

Manuel Pietra, President and CEO, has been selected by the ICGFM Board of Directors as the ICGFM President Elect [press release link]. Mr. Pietra will become the ICGFM President in January 2013 and serve for two years. As President, Mr. Pietra will serve as the Chair of the Executive Committee and will provide vision and leadership to support the continued growth of the ICGFM as the world’s foremost community of Public Financial Management (PFM) practitioners.  This is a voluntary position. The vision to increase the sharing of good governance practices demonstrates the FreeBalance commitment to the PFM community and follows the FreeBalance mandate as a For Profit Social Enterprise (FOPSE).



Social Responsibility is the Core FreeBalance Mandate

PFM is Making a difference.

There is an important linkage between public financial management and government effectiveness. Improved government financial management provides country stability and growth through effective planning, procurement, fiscal discipline and transparency. Good governance is positively associated with higher average incomes and better health and educational outputs. PFM has ‘cross-cutting’ effects and is often a dependency to improving results across many sectors. Good government governance practices support country, region and international stability.

Financial Crisis makes PFM more Critical

The recent financial crisis has demonstrated the need for improved government fiscal discipline and institutional reform. PFM covers the spectrum of government finances including budget planning, revenue collection, tax administration, commitment accounting, payroll, pensions, procurement, social programs, treasury functions, asset management and audit. Improved PFM improves institutions, reduces risks, aligns planning with execution, enables faster responses to economic changes and improves government performance and service delivery. Government PFM maturity is benchmarked through Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA) assessments.

Financial Crisis makes Fiscal Transparency more Critical

The financial crisis and Arab Spring has demonstrated the need for improved government fiscal transparency. Citizens are demanding more open and transparent government. Effective PFM enables governments to publish critical fiscal information to citizens. Government transparency is benchmarked in the Open Budget Index and Revenue Watch Index. Transparency is a key component for PEFA assessments.

ICGFM foremost community of PFM practitioners

The ICFGM is the only worldwide group of organizations and individuals focused on public financial management. ICGFM is a global consortium focused on public financial management and good governance to improve citizen services. This consortium consists of like-minded organizations and individuals such as International Financial Institutions, academics and public financial management experts.

Good Governance Advocacy

ICGFM and ICGFM members are advocates for good government. ICGFM encourages governments to recognize the critical importance of improved professional management of public resources ICGFM emphasizes the need for high professional standards among governmental financial managers. Education credits are provided to attendees of ICGFM training events.

Knowledge Sharing Mandate

ICGFM programs share international PFM good practices and augment professional development.  ICGFM has a special international mandate to share lessons learned in public financial management reform and sequencing with governments in emerging economies and developing countries. ICGFM encourages development program collaboration to better channel technical assistance to developing countries.

Continuing Organizational Growth

The ICGFM leadership has put the organization on a solid financial footing. The ICGFM Board of Directors recognizes that the financial crisis has generated a need to reach more PFM practitioners to share good practices.

ICGFM Programs and Activities

ICGFM provides PFM practitioners with numerous programs and advocacy activities. These include:

Biennial ICGFM Conferences

ICGFM conferences pull participants from over 40 countries at Spring Conferences in Miami and Winter Conferences in Washington DC. The 2013 Winter Conference will be held at the International Monetary Fund. The 26th Annual Spring Conference “PFM in the 21st Century” is being held this week (April 29-May 4). Conference topics have included “Achieving Real Accountability: a Balancing Act Among Stakeholders”,” Public Financial Management in the “Era of the New Normal”, Post Financial Crisis” and “Country Perspectives on Public Financial Management during Global Economic Uncertainty.” Conferences are augmented by DC Forums in Washington DC.

International Journal on Governmental Financial Management

ICGFM publishes the IJGFM, an academic journal focused on improving PFM knowledge globally. Articles in the IJGFM have covered accounting standards, revenue collection, fiscal decentralization, money laundering and audit.

ICGFM & Grant Thornton International Survey

ICGFM and Grant Thornton LLC survey the international public sector community. The 2011 Survey “Public Financial Management: Responses to an Economically Challenging World” was profiled in numerous journals and newspapers.

Unique Social Network

ICGFM shares content from conferences, IJGFM and DC Forums on-line. Content is also posted to Scribd and SlideShare. ICGFM has a LinkedIn network. Conference photos are posted to Flickr. Participation at ICGFM events is often funded by donors.

IPSAS Ad-Hoc Committee

ICGFM has an ad-hoc committee of PFM thought leaders to comment on the latest exposure draft from the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) board.




Highly Valued ICGFM Pen

ICGFM provides a writing pen to all speakers at events. It has become a tradition for those entrusted with handing out this token of appreciation to practice hyperbole about the value and importance of the pen.

FreeBalance Commitment to ICGFM

FreeBalance is unique as a software company by focused exclusively on government needs with a business model designed to make Government Resource Planning (GRP) financial sustainable. FreeBalance has been sponsoring ICGFM events for a decade and is a Platinum Sponsor this year. FreeBalance provides speakers to ICGFM on topics such as “The Social Future of Public Financial Management” and “The Integrated Financial Management System of the Future.”

About Manuel Pietra


Manuel Pietra

Manuel Pietra is the President & CEO of FreeBalance. He is a global executive with more than 25 years of successful management experience from companies in the United States, Canada, Europe, South Africa, and Latin America. As President and CEO of FreeBalance, Mr. Pietra leads global growth strategies and customer engagement. Mr. Pietra has transformed FreeBalance into a customer-centric and socially responsible company. Mr. Pietra won the 2011 Next Generation Executive of the Year Award sponsored by the Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation (OCRI). His leadership and vision also led the company to win the prestigious 2009 Canada Export Achievement Award.

Manuel Pietra has held executive positions on the boards of several international companies and actively participated in the venture capital arena. Mr. Pietra has participated in several successful IPO’s in the USA, Europe and South Africa. Mr. Pietra is multilingual and graduated in Business Management from the South African Institute of Management. He often speaks at high profile investment seminars and technology conferences across the world in English, Portuguese, Spanish, and French.

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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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