In the ever-changing landscape of Public Financial Management (PFM), governments around the world are constantly striving to enhance transparency, accountability, and efficiency in their fiscal operations. PFM reform is complex, and often challenging to achieve while also managing day-to-day operations.
At the heart of many PFM reforms is the adoption of a new financial management system. Understandably given the scale of the task, and the level of investment involved, this often forms the focus of the reform project. Yet, one of the most significant factors impacting the success of PFM reform is the knowledge and skills of staff.
Overcoming People Challenges in PFM Reform
A robust financial management system, such as the FreeBalance Accountability Suite™, and effective processes can help to promote transparency and accountability in PFM. But behind these important technological solutions are the people who will use them every day.
In some organizations, staff will be keen to adopt new ways of working and some may have the technical skills needed to use the system. However, this is not always the case.
Some staff may be resistant to change, believing the current processes don’t need to be changed. They may also lack the technical skills to get all the benefits of using a new system. And they may benefit from a wider understanding of PFM so that they feel more involved and motivated by the reform plans.
These types of challenges can stall the progress of reform, or prevent it from ever realizing its full potential.
Building Capacity for Managing Public funds through Training and Skills Development
One of the most critical aspects in removing these types of barriers to successful PFM reform is a comprehensive training program. Without the requisite knowledge and skills, even the most well-intentioned reform efforts can fall short of their goals. Training plays an indispensable role in capacity building, equipping public officials with the necessary skills and knowledge to navigate complex financial systems, implement reforms, and drive positive change.
Improving Technical Skills
PFM reforms often require the adoption of a tool such as the FreeBalance Accountability SuiteTM. Implementing and using these effectively requires technical skills and therefore training plays a crucial role in leveraging these for PFM reform.
FreeBalance provides an in-depth and thorough training program as part of all implementations. Most commonly this follows a “train the trainer” approach, where FreeBalance experts create multi-day learning experiences for a small group of government staff, who then train organizational users across departments and ministries as needed. This is further supported by access to helpful and easy-to-use product training materials specific to the FreeBalance Accountability SuiteTM.
This approach allows governments to take ownership of their learning and development programs, and while FreeBalance staff remain on hand to support as long as the FreeBalance system is in operation, there is no need to rely on FreeBalance to train each new member of staff.
This technical training allows staff to use the Suite for all necessary functions, positively impacting PFM in their country. In fact, FreeBalance customers have achieved an average 27%* improvement in key PFM performance indicators as measured by the independent PEFA program.
Enhanced Understanding of PFM Principles
Technical training is crucial to the successful implementation and usage of any PFM system. But this is only one part of driving real change. Wider skills development provides an opportunity for public officials to gain a deeper understanding of the fundamental principles and best practices of PFM, broadening knowledge, driving culture change and increasing buy-in from staff.
The FreeBalance Academy provides a range of courses designed to help PFM professionals at all levels build their skills.
FreeBalance’s short courses in public financial management are focused on topics such as budgeting, procurement and auditing. They use real-world examples and interactive exercises to help those studying enhance their knowledge, skills and CV. These online, on-demand programs are ideal for staff looking to progress in their career or expand their knowledge from practical day-to-day tasks to a wider remit.
The FreeBalance Academy also offers comprehensive courses specifically designed by industry experts to support government capacity building. These hands-on programs delve deep into topics such as budgeting, financial planning, treasury and cash management, public procurement, audit and internal control, revenue management, and more. There is the option to gain certifications for some of these programs, including the ACCA Certificate in Public Financial Management (CertPFM) and the ICGFM Diploma in Public Financial Management.
The aim of all FreeBalance courses is to provide easy, online and cost-effective ways for individuals to build new skills and for governments to build capacity in-house to support PRM reform. FreeBalance Academy courses are accessible for PFM professionals at all levels, and participants do not need to work for a current FreeBalance customer to benefit from the development opportunities available. As with the FreeBalance Accountability Suite™, these have been designed specifically for government users.
In the realm of public financial management (PFM), governments are dedicated to improving transparency, accountability, and efficiency. However, PFM reform is complex, and success often hinges on the knowledge and skills of staff. Training plays a vital role in capacity building, equipping public officials with the necessary skills and knowledge to navigate complex financial systems, implement reforms, and drive positive change.
In addition to comprehensive technical training, PFM professionals at all levels can enhance their skills and broaden their understanding of PFM principles through FreeBalance Academy courses.
Effective, in-depth and industry-relevant training for staff such as this enables governments to build capacity in-house and support PFM reform effectively.