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January 2019

January 31, 2019

IPSASB Approves a New Standard on Social Benefits

IPSASB Logo (002)
Posted by Paul Mason[1]

Accounting for social benefits has been the International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board’s (IPSAS) longest running and most controversial topic to date. With some gaps, the Board has been working towards a social benefits standard for almost sixteen years. It was therefore a cause for celebration when the IPSASB approved IPSAS 42, Social Benefits, at its December 2018 meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

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January 28, 2019

GFMIS – A Tool for Improving Transparency and Accountability

Posted by Julie Cooper[1]

Over the past 30 years, governments around the world have sought to improve their public financial management (PFM) framework by utilizing information technology to streamline and automate practices. Government Financial Management Information Systems, or GFMIS, constitute the suite of electronic tools used to strengthen and automate the financial management processes used by the government. The automated functionality of GFMIS tools helps governments generate more accurate, reliable, and timely financial information, thus directly contributing to improvements in accountability, transparency, and combating corruption.

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January 24, 2019

Tracking Invoices in the Kingdom of Eswatini

Posted by Alok Verma[1]

The Kingdom of Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), a small country in Southern Africa, has been struggling with a high fiscal deficit since 2016, following a prolonged drought and declining revenue from the South African Custom Union (SACU). An unrealistic budget, combined with large financing gaps and the operations of extra-budgetary entities and trading accounts have led to the rapid accumulation of expenditure arrears, amounting to 6 percent of GDP in July 2018.

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January 22, 2019

Commitment Control: A Step Towards (or Beyond) Accrual Accounting

Posted by Ashok Rao[1]

The case for Commitment Control

Expenditure control is an integral part of expenditure management and constitutes a key element of fiscal discipline. It ensures that spending happens for stated purposes, is within authorized allocations, and adheres to fiscal norms. Federal, sub-national, and local governments across the world have time and again run into serious fiscal problems by allowing large expenditure arrears to build up. Arrears accumulate when expenditure is incurred without matching resources (in the form of liquid assets) to discharge the related liabilities. A well-designed Commitment Control system helps monitor and regulate expenditure arrears by tracking spending well before payment obligations materialize. It also helps regulate the availability of cash amongst spending units. Thus, appropriation controls and cash controls are inbuilt in Commitment Control.

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January 15, 2019

Partnering with Local Communities to Create Public Infrastructure

Posted by Priya Goel[1]

This is the story of the greening of the Alwar district in Rajasthan through “Shramdaan” or the use of local, free or donated labor for the creation of infrastructure assets. Rajasthan is India’s driest state. Alwar is an important agricultural district in the State, but only 12 percent of the land area is irrigated. Until 1985, Alwar was declared a ‘dark zone’ with no ground water. It had once been green. In 1985, a local doctor, Dr Rajendra Singh, discovered that the villagers needed water more than his medicines. He found that the drying up of groundwater had resulted from indiscriminate deforestation, mining, poor agricultural practices, and the abandonment of traditional techniques of rainwater harvesting.

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January 10, 2019

Top 10 PFM Blog Posts of 2018

Posted by Thibault Vermeulen, Richard Allen, and Teresa Curristine

2018 was another bumper year for the PFM blog, with 70 articles being published. Readership levels remained high, as did the rich diversity of our articles, authors and readers. Forty percent of the articles, and a similar proportion of the top 10 (including our number one), were written by external contributors from international organizations, the public sector, academia, and the private sector; which is higher than last year. Topics ranged widely, from digital innovations in public finance, to the usefulness of perception indicators of corruption, to fiscal rules and PFM in resource-rich countries, to why countries adopt accrual budgeting, to gender budgeting, to making public infrastructure more efficient, and more. Some of these topics are old perennials, others were breaking new ground and stretching the envelope of knowledge.

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January 07, 2019

Promoting Integrity in the Public Sector – How Can New Technologies Help?

Posted by Benoit Wiest[1]

Financial Management Information Systems (FMIS) have been a feature of the PFM landscape for several decades. Recently, many countries have also adopted sophisticated e-procurement, payroll, and public investment management systems linked to their FMIS. These systems reduce the need for human intervention, allow automated controls and keep records of financial transactions for public dissemination and analysis. The data produced can be stored and archived almost indefinitely. Providing they are sufficiently comprehensive with appropriate and segregated users rights, FMISs and other PFM systems can be of major help in securing, controlling and better analyzing financial transactions. They can also help fight corruption in the public sector as most corrupt activities leave a digital trace at some point.

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