ICGFM Promotes Knowledge Transfer Among Public Financial Management Experts

Working globally with governments, organizations, and individuals, the International Consortium on Governmental Financial Management is dedicated to improving financial management by providing opportunities for professional development and information exchange.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

ICGFM Transparency Standards Workshop

Attendees at the 2010 ICGFM Winter Conference worked through numerous questions on the use and impact of transparency standards in Public Financial Management (PFM). Some observations from the workshop groups.

1. What standards could or have had the greatest impact on transparency?


  • Standards adopted by the international community, by their very nature, have a positive impact in countries

  • Some standards have legal basis in the country

  • IPSAS and accrual accounting standards, auditing standards, aid transparency standards

  • Transparency portals on procurement, human resources, budget

  • Right to information

  • Citizens are recognizing the value of transparency and are now demanding more

  • Standard accounting information enables benchmarking countries
2. What were or would be the greatest obstacles to transparency?


  • Political will defines whether standards will be uniformly respected and whether unlawful activity will be punished (just because there is a law doesn't mean that it is respected)

  • Education and capacity in public servants (one person said "capacity, capacity, capacity")

  • Proper compensation for public servants

  • Lack of accountants in developing countries

  • Brain drain of qualified personnel

  • Honest and transparent public servants

  • More effort by citizens and civil society to demand more transparency and create transparency momentum

  • Lack of credibility by citizens in the information disclosed by governments

  • Lack of historic information to provide context

  • Media can often have a political agenda, so may use disclosure for political reasons

  • Focus of reform can shift after an election

  • Conflicting laws, lack of legal backing

  • General resistance to change

  • Different donor requirements that push governments in different directions

  • Attempting to do much at the same time

  • Lack of strong monitoring and evaluation

  • De-centralization has pushed accountability to lower tiers where the accounting is not always easy to consolidate or audit

  • Organization structure of internal audit may not be conducive

  • Nationalism in some countries who feel that they are giving up sovereignty

  • Barrier based on the "unknown" in order to start the process and give up on previous standards
3. Are there any key preconditions to implementing new standards?


  • Effective training for public sector employees

  • Treasury Single Account (TSA)

  • Appropriate IT infrastructure, power and bandwidth

  • Uniform Chart of Accounts (COA)

  • Political buy-in to carry process forward (although there seems to be more will for transparency than in the past)

  • Legal standing of standards in order to make people and organizations accountable

  • Acceptable internal PFM standards

  • Need for public servants to be accountable - that there are legal consequences

  • Training population and civil society on the information being presented by the government

  • Use of social oversight tools and access to technology

  • Strong Supreme Audit Institutions

  • Freedom of the press

  • Certification processes to train accountants for government service

  • Need to define the government controlled entities

  • Need to build a value proposition to stakeholders, more communications

1 comment:

Andria said...

The public finance management should be transparent.the article given here explains the condition of transparency.

finance-carriers