IFAC, MOSAIC and strengthening PFM

6 Jun 16

International efforts are underway to develop and strengthen Professional Accountancy Organizations and public sector finance training

The IFAC/donor collaboration that operates under the name MOSAIC is quietly making a big impact on public financial management development. The innocuous sounding Professional Accountancy Organization (PAO) Global Development Report in 2013 recommended support for PAO orientation to the public sector. This may sound unexciting or easy to achieve but is in practice a major shift for the accounting profession around the world. It is particularly important and particularly difficult in the developing world.

Having agreed the benefits of a strong accountancy profession supporting both the private and public sectors, IFAC and DFID – a leading donor and MOSAIC partner – formed a partnership to invest in PAO development with a particular focus on UK international development priority countries. This partnership was announced in September 2014.

The programme was launched with an initial request for proposals to support three African countries – Ghana, Uganda and Rwanda. Four UK PAOs were selected to partner with the PAOs in these countries – ICAEW for Ghana, ACCA for Rwanda and ICAS and CIPFA in partnership for Uganda. Tailored terms of reference were developed for each country depending upon their needs. In Uganda, CIPFA is developing a roadmap to assist ICPAU, the national PAO, with its orientation to the public sector. This work should be completed by December 2016.

In 2016, IFAC and DFID extended their programme. Projects include (1) a regional project to strengthen African PAOs’ use of ICT and (2) a project in which CPA Ireland will review and strengthen study materials for the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria, particularly those supporting PFM and accrual-based IPSAS. IFAC and DFID also agreed to support the accountancy profession in Zimbabwe to strengthen public sector accountancy capacity. This project involves working with the Public Accountants and Auditors Board (PAAB) which coordinates the accountancy profession in Zimbabwe as well as the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Zimbabwe (ICAZ). CIPFA has been chosen to undertake this project, which started this month with an initial scoping visit to meet all the key stakeholders. The aim is to finalise a comprehensive roadmap to strengthen public sector accountancy capacity by the end of 2016. As with all the IFAC/DFID projects, the intention is to leverage the learning from one country to support others.

One year in, the IFAC/DFID programme has been subject to review and has received an A+ rating, meaning that the programme is moderately exceeding expectations. This was most welcome news for the IFAC PAO Development Committee, which met in May this year.

Meanwhile the MOSAIC group is not standing still. At their meeting in autumn 2015, the MOSAIC partners agreed to focus their energy on the development of foundational financial skills that could also have significant benefits for the public sector. This follows a demand from donors for staff dealing with project funding throughout their supply chain to have foundational level training in finance. MOSAIC agreed to explore the feasibility of adopting a regional approach to such training, which could be adopted by individual PAOs. DFID agreed to fund this feasibility study looking at its applicability in three Anglophone and three Francophone countries in Africa. The findings of the study will be reported at the next MOSAIC meeting in autumn this year.

All of this project work from IFAC sits alongside Accountability. Now., its global campaign to improve public financial reporting. This campaign is designed to underline the accountancy profession's commitment to accrual-based public financial reporting, as well as the importance of transparency and accountability. IFAC is working closely with PAOs around the world to showcase how stronger PFM could enhance public service outcomes. You can see more about Accountability. Now on this video.

So lots of new energy and investment is being put into PAO development and public sector finance training that should, over time with the Accountability. Now. campaign, strengthen PFM and ultimately improve public service delivery.

A version of this article appears on the IMF's Public Financial Management blog

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