Public sector accountants have ‘vital role’ in improving global financial management

25 Jun 18

Public sector accountants play a “vital role” in pressuring governments around the world to reform their financial management systems amid global challenges, CIPFA’s president has said.

Andrew Burns

Andrew Burns [pictured right] told the Institute of Chartered Accountants of the Caribbean conference in the Bahamas on Friday, that governments around the world “too frequently” manage their finances in ways that are inefficient, ineffective and disruptive to economic development.

He said: “Given this need for sustained and well-designed reform, public sector accountants have a vital role to play in addressing the quality of PFM.”

Though the profession has expertise in designing, implementing and operating financial information and financial management systems, the government needs to take action.

“Taken as a whole, the global profession knows what is needed and has the skills to effect change.

“The decision to act, however, lies with governments, and so it is the profession’s duty to use its voice to inform, encourage, and where necessary pressure governments to reform their financial management systems,” Burns said.

Since the financial crash in 2008, public services around the world have been under pressure, he said.

The pressures which impacts public service delivery include environmental security, conflict and poverty, globalisation and health implications.

The CIPFA president said: “Given the unprecedented times we are living in, finance functions must adapt their ways of working, priorities, cultures and behaviours for a new climate.”

Additionally, countries are increasingly moving away from cash-based accounting and have been building for the adoption of accruals since the financial crisis, he said.

Although, the adoption of accrual accounting and of the International Public Sector Accounting Standards remain a challenge, he added.

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