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June 03, 2016

IFAC, MOSAIC and Strengthening Public Accountancy

IFAC

Posted by Alan Edwards[1]

Collaboration between the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) and various donors that operate under the name MOSAIC is quietly making a big impact on the global accountancy profession, and public financial management (PFM) more broadly. In 2013, MOSAIC issued the innocuous sounding Professional Accountancy Organization (PAO) Global Development Report which launched a program of capacity building for public accountants around the world. In a related initiative, IFAC and one of the MOSAIC partners, the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), formed a partnership to invest in the capacity of PAOs in countries that are focal points of UK’s development assistance.

The initial emphasis of the IFAC-DFID programme is on three African countries - Ghana, Uganda and Rwanda. Four accountancy organizations in the UK[2] 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, for example, CIPFA is developing a roadmap to assist the national PAO in strengthening public sector accountancy. This work should be completed by December 2016.

Earlier this year, IFAC and DFID extended their programme to include (i) a regional project to strengthen African PAOs’ use of ICT systems, and (ii) a project in which the Irish Institute of Certified Public Accountants (CPA Ireland) will prepare study materials for the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria, particularly those supporting improved PFM and the development of accrual-based international accounting standards (IPSAS).  IFAC and DFID also agreed to support the development of public sector accountancy capacity in Zimbabwe, working with the country’s Public Accountants and Auditors Board as well as the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Zimbabwe. CIPFA has undertaken an initial scoping visit in Harare to meet all the key stakeholders - http://www.publicfinanceinternational.org/news/2016/05/cipfa-chosen-boost-zimbabwes-public-sector-accounting-capacity. The aim is to finalise a comprehensive roadmap to strengthen public sector accountancy capacity in Zimbabwe 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.

Meanwhile the MOSAIC group is not standing still. At its meeting in Autumn 2015, following a request from donors, the MOSAIC partners agreed to focus their capacity building work on the development of foundational level training in finance, in ways that will particularly benefit the public sector. MOSAIC agreed to explore the feasibility of adopting a regional approach to delivering such training that could then be adapted by individual PAOs. An initial feasibility study will focus on three Anglophone and three Francophone countries in Africa. The findings of the study will be reported at the next MOSAIC meeting in Autumn 2016.

All of this important new project work sits alongside IFAC’s global campaign to improve public financial reporting entitled Accountability. Now. This campaign is designed to underline the global 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 financial reporting would enhance public service outcomes. You can see more about Accountability. Now. on this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDjjlS8mVwM&feature=youtu.be

All of this new energy and investment that is being put into PAO development and financial training, together with the Accountability. Now. campaign, should begin to yield significant benefits soon. 

[1] Chair, Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) Development, London, United Kingdom.

[2] The Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW), the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS), and the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA).

Note: The posts on the IMF PFM Blog should not be reported as representing the views of the IMF. The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the IMF or IMF policy.

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