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Centre for Financial and Management Studies (CeFiMS)

Public Financial Management: Planning and Performance

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The focus of this module is almost entirely on the expenditure side of public financial management, looking at budgeting, accountability and the changes in financial management.

In professions across the public sector, whether medical, educational, legal, engineering or custodial, people are making choices about investments, about how to achieve efficiency, how to stay within budget and how to improve performance. Whether reluctantly or willingly, people are having to understand costs, budgets, financial statements about cash flows, and expenditures, even when they are not in accountancy.

There are also changes in what people are being held to account for. It is no longer sufficient to have accounts that show that money has been spent how governments intended. Politicians and the public want to know how well it has been spent, whether it has been used efficiently and whether it has achieved the purposes for which it was allocated.

To cope with these and other changes, the ways in which public finances are managed has had to adapt. In many countries, budgets and accounts are no longer concerned just with the cash allocated and spent but also with the resources used in providing services – capital resources and assets, as well as people and materials. The further away from cash accounting the systems get the less they look like our personal accounts and the more we need to learn about the relevant concepts to enable us to understand and run them.

For more information about this module, please visit the full entry on the Centre for Financial and Management Studies website.