CAPA staged a conference titled "Improving Public Sector Financial Management" in Seoul, Korea. The Conference was co-organised with the Korean Institute of Certified Public Accountants (KICPA), and supported by various international and Korean organisations. Sponsorship was provided by the Korean Big 4 Accounting firms.
Key theme of the conference was strengthening accounting in the public sector. The Conference program provided an overview of the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS), as well as regional case studies. The experiences of countries in various stages of transition from cash-based accounting to accrual-based accounting provided a real hands-on perspective to the program.
The Conference opened with an address by Director General, Jaeseek Park who presented an overview of the Korean Government's accounting reform system and the three-year roadmap towards a new accounting system. A case study of the Korean government's journey of improvement delivered by Sang Ro Kim set out the key steps.
The Conference presented a range of issues and processes that are the building blocks in improving public sector financial management. They are:
While discussions have been steered towards accrual accounting being the solution for public sector accounting, the cash basis is utilised in many jurisdictions and is recognised through certain IPSAS standards. Whilst the financial reporting benefits are significant, experienced public sector financial managers see some of the greatest gains as being able to determine the true cost of programs and activities, as indicated by Neil Wallace of the ADB in the concluding session. Ultimately, this delivers better information for economic planning and decision-making at both the agency and whole of government levels.
The accounting profession has significant international experience and capacity to support the development of public sector financial managers. Access to international experience, benchmarking, and support should be sought through engagement with organisations such as IPSAS, the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), and CAPA, which could facilitate sharing of knowledge with other experienced nations.
Click on the links below for the Conference Program and speakers' presentations
Session 1: Strengthening Accounting in the Public Sector
Session 2: International Public Sector Accounting Standards
Session 3: The Improvement Journey - A Series of Case Studies
Session 4: Managing the Transition to Accrual Accounting