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Friday, 24 July 2015

‘It’s not all about the money…’ Integrated Financial Management Information Systems (IFMIS)

‘It’s not all about the money…’

Integrated Financial Management Information Systems (IFMIS)

How do you manage and benefit a country’s national economy?

To handle this enormously challenging task, you will need information on a broad range of issues, including:

·         Employment/unemployment and under-employment
·         Interest rates
·         Inflation
·         Money supply
·         Exchange rates
·         Tax revenues
·         Retail spending
·         Manufacturing output
·         GDP
·         Sovereign debt

And a lot more information besides…and it all needs to be accurate.

As you develop national programmes, you will also need to think about government spending, tax revenues, national security, energy supplies, health, education, inward investment, trading partners, and so on.

The critical point to grasp is that knowing how much the Government is spending on each priority is not enough. Too often, financial planning and service planning takes place in different rooms. To plan effectively you need to know the costs and the volumes of service or demand.

It is essential to know the metrics so that judgements can be made about what needs to be done and what the priorities are within the available resources.

For example…
The Chief Executive of a UK low cost airline has a single sheet of paper placed on his desk every morning. It has the key financial information relating to the business, of course, but it also has the key metrics required to run the business effectively.

This includes information such as:
·         Flights departing and arriving on time
·         Availability of the fleet
·         Flight occupancy levels
·         Total fuel usage
·         Total fees income
·         Average fare paid
·         Technical problems

Just like monitoring a motor car’s instruments on a long drive, the ‘dashboard’ of key indicators provides the essential information about how the car is running. Together with total income earned, analysed over fares and inflight retailing, this provides the essential management information to inform the many operational decisions needed to operate the airline.

Without the mix of financial and operational data, the story is incomplete.

To manage an entire country, you need a similar blend of financial and non-financial information. This helps inform policy-making and operational decisions to help direct resources where they are most needed.

Integrated financial and management information provides the evidence base and the opportunity to make better decisions and to achieve more of your strategic objectives: even on a national scale. The implementation of IFMIS has become a standard process for countries undertaking public finance management (PFM) reform programmes.

There are a number of ways in which IFMIS can improve public finance management, and linking the metrics to the money gives:

·         Better corporate governance
·         Improved risk and performance management
·         Support and challenge at Board level
·         Informed decision-making
·         Prioritised resource allocation aligned to strategic objectives
·         Better Value for Money

THAT is what an Integrated Financial Management Information System can do!

Jim Brooks, Kenneth MacNeill
Directors of Studies
Integrated Financial Management Information Systems (IFMIS)
RIPA International

Our comprehensive one-week ‘Integrated Financial Management Systems (IFMIS): Re-Engineering and Implementation’ programme, delivered by Jim Brookes and Kenneth MacNeill, will look at how IFMIS can transform an organisation – or a national economy.  

RIPA International has a highly regarded Financial Management and Procurement faculty; other upcoming programmes that might be of interest include:

·         International Accounting Standards: IPSAS and IFRS
·         Financial and Project Risk Management
·         Developing National Pension Policies
·         The Complete Procurement Cycle
·         Strategic Tax Management

Thursday, 21 May 2015

International Accounting: Petty arguments and the real issues

The furore around compliance with international accounting standards continues, but not in a way that excites many beyond the accounting world. Maybe it should.

As all accounting anoraks know, IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards) are designed for the private sector and IPSAS (International Public Sector Accounting Standards) are designed for the public sector…now read on. 

Monday, 27 April 2015

UK Development Impact Bonds: An innovative approach to combating global poverty and the key role of Monitoring and Evaluation

The department of International Development announced last year that the UK would be launching its first ever Development Impact Bond (DIB) to improve healthcare in Africa by bringing together private and public investment.
The first new bond was created last year to invest in the prevention of sleeping sickness in Uganda where there are an estimated nine million people at risk.  
Despite tried and tested prevention methods, previous investments were unable to deliver the scale of drugs needed to stop the disease. A new £1.5 million inception project was launched to research and design a bond to purchase drugs that will treat infected cattle before the disease spreads.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Cybercrime: Too big to ignore: Too hot to handle?

At a conference near RIPA International’s London headquarters on 25 March, U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary Sarah Bloom Raskin urged companies to make cyber security a priority. "Each of us must recognize this risk that is perhaps the most pressing operational risk of our time," she said, stressing that she saw cybercrime as the number one threat against companies everywhere.

Ms Raskin’s warning isn’t the first and certainly won’t be the last we hear about this. Whether in business or government, at work or in our private lives, we are all under threat. Our computers, smart phones, hand held devices. We are all interconnected in a way unimaginable just a few decades ago.

Yet for most of us the downside of this, cybercrime, is one of those problems we immediately put into the “too hard” pile. Too complex. Too technical. Too new. Too much jargon.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

2014: Review of the Year – Driving Transformation across the World

It is barely twelve months since we began our activities for 2014 under the theme of “driving transformation”, yet in some ways it seems much longer. The year was typically busy for RIPA International: we introduced a series of new programmes and workshops, welcomed delegations from every continent apart from Antarctica, and delivered a varied portfolio of tailored programmes for public service departments overseas.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Overcoming the Infrastructure Deficit

With less than 500 days left until the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) expire at the end of 2015, the UN and the global development community are hard at work creating its successor; the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They face a difficult challenge, the SDGs have to build and develop on the progress made by the MDGs – translating increased primary school enrolment into secondary education, for example – but also addressing areas of development not covered by the MDGs, and any new issues that have arisen in the last 15 years – youth unemployment levels and rising inequality. Initial discussions identified dozens of potential ‘goals’, this has been condensed down to 17, from which a final eight will be chosen to make up the SDGs.