There is a lot to public finance consulting and management. When done rightly, governments utilize revenues and taxpayers’ money to run and offer better services to their citizens; better education, enhanced healthcare, and stronger infrastructure. This might be an oversimplification, but it also showcases why excellent financial movement is actually crucial. This article offers some lessons learned from working with third-world countries as relayed by some public finance management (PFM) experts.
1. The reform process is slow and even the smallest wins must be valued
Change can be challenging and some resistance will always be there. Nevertheless, realistic, small inputs could end in significant changes. Reform happens to be as much about winning minds and hearts as it’s about institutional changes. And, building trust between varying partners, particularly when your exact role is to alter how partners (in government) do things, takes some time.
2. The importance of adaptive and flexible programming
With the point that was raised above in mind, it becomes crucial to build relationships that are truly positive with all partners, donors included. The rapport and trust will be quite critical when there’s a need to make adaptations to the program for outcomes to be improved. In addition, with resources being limited, it becomes quite crucial to be strategic so as to maximize impact. Contextual learning and insight must be continuously developed. This is where governments actually need companies and experts that offer public finance management consulting services. It enables a balance to be struck between effecting tiny adjustments to your program according to the challenges you are facing in reality and holding fast onto your purpose. Being responsive builds interest and trust in affected projects and all-round improvements in PFM.
3. The need for an integrated and not fragmented approach
It is not uncommon to see systems being fragmented across varying government departments or ministries that hesitate to work together. Such fragmentations can turn out to be a major roadblock to enhanced PFM. It’s crucial to harmonize and consolidate the system as far as you can to achieve economies of scale and prevent duplication. Collaboration between ministries should be fostered, the sharing of information wherever it’s relevant, included. Total integration of government systems might turn out overly ambitious for just one reform program but better interfacing of systems, sequencing of initiatives, and proper time frames will enhance the probability of successful reform and modernization – thus benefitting all the ministries that are involved.
4. Benefits of a team that’s diversified
To successfully execute PFM reform, it’s necessary that the team should comprise a balance of technical know-how, openness in and access to government, as well as cultural awareness. There’s a need to engage varying types of consultants, including both ‘insiders’ that will be capable of opening doors and ‘outsiders’ that will more readily challenge practice as well as culture.
These are the four foremost public finance consulting and management lessons that some of the foremost experts have learned from third-world nations. Such experts are always available to help governments in seeing that their revenues and taxpayers’ money is spent as judiciously as possible. They help such governments in obtaining the best possible outcomes from any such money they invest.