The internal audit function has received increasing attention as an important component of government financial management and a tool for improving the performance of the government sector. Recently, a consensus has been reached on what audit standards governments should meet. This paper reviews these standards from an international perspective, noting that a large number of countries would face severe problems of meeting such standards. It is argued that internationally there are many different models for internal audit, and it may be necessary to take into account different audit traditions and different institutional capacities when introducing measures to strengthen internal audit in developing and transitional countries. The paper then discusses the main issues to be addressed in developing the internal audit in such countries, and offers a framework for introducing much needed reforms in this area.
In the past decade, developing countries (DCs) have been encouraged to reform their public expenditure management systems and have increasingly embarked on major projects to computerize their government operations. Most popular among these have been projects to computerize government accounting and payment operations, by introducing government financial management information systems (FMISs). This paper investigates the reason for almost universal failure to implement and sustain FMISs in DCs. It starts with a review of the "received wisdom" in implementing these projects, and then analyzes problems in its application in the DC context to identify key factors to explain why FMIS projects have been so problematic. Based on the identified negative factors, suggestions for addressing them are offered in the hope of improving success rates.
This paper stresses the role of budget system reform in economies in transition as an essential basis for the implementation of effective fiscal policies. However, introducing such structural reforms in often unstable economic environments has not proved easy. Using Russia as a case study, the magnitude of the problems faced is documented, and the strategy of reform eventually adopted is critically reviewed. In conclusion, some lessons are drawn for other transitional countries undertaking similar reforms, and the future agenda for completing these reforms in Russia is indicated.
This paper reviews the role of accounting in budget system reform from the perspective of emerging economies who wish to adopt the OECD''s performance budgeting reforms. While many OECD countries, pursuing the reforms associated with the New Public Management, have moved their accounting systems from a cash to an accrual basis, this paper argues that given the costs involved, such a move is perhaps only worthwhile in the context of adopting much wider public sector management reforms. Moreover, while recognizing that accrual accounting does support public expenditure management best practices, it is also argued that many of the objectives of performance-oriented budgeting can be attained by less than full accrual accounting, and that unless certain preconditions are met it is safer for countries to remain with, and improve, their cash-based accounting systems. For those countries with sound enough cash-based systems the paper describes a possible phased approach to the introduction of accruals, as well as the parallel stages of adopting the new international GFSM 2001 reporting requirements.
This paper documents the main elements of the new budget system established in the Russian Federation through its revised budget system law, or the Budget Code, of 2000. It critically examines the budget preparation, budget approval, and budget execution processes, as well as the financial management and planning procedures that underlie the Budget Code. Based on this analysis, recent developments are discussed and a future reform agenda is indicated.
The Russian federal government has recently initiated a fundamental reform of its budget system, encompassing important policy, procedural, and institutional changes. This paper reviews this reform agenda with reference to the experience of industrial countries that over the past two to three decades have followed a similar reform path toward a more devolved budget management system. From this perspective, the importance of the strength of existing public expenditure management systems to accommodate increased devolution and the scope for employing decentralized agencies is explored. An assessment of the present Russian reform plans in light of this review reveals a number of concerns. First, the speed of the reforms contemplated appears overly ambitious when judged by the experience of other countries. Second, the preparedness of budget institutions is questionable. Third, change management capacity needs strengthening with a more carefully defined strategy. Last, in light of these concerns, it is argued that the scope and "big-bang" approach of the current reform plans may need reformulation into a more sequenced strategy with clearer reform priorities.
For the republics of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) as for many other transition economies, an important step in introducing a more market-oriented system was the restructuring of their budget systems. This paper reviews and evaluates the process of budget system reform during the transition period extending from the time they emerged from the collapse of the SFRY in 1989 until the end of 2002. For at least a decade of this period, the Fiscal Affairs Department of the IMF has been providing technical assistance (TA) to these countries to facilitate such reforms. Based on the material generated by this effort, the authors offer a review of the progress made and an assessment of the reform elements still to be completed. Given that the former Yugoslav republics all commenced the reform process with the same institutions, this paper offers a unique opportunity to analyze the critical elements in successful budget system reform. An attempt is made to explain the varying degrees of success experienced by different countries, and a reform agenda is suggested to guide future TA.
In reviewing the means to strengthen public expenditure management (PEM) systems, there has been increased emphasis on the micro basis of broader budget system reforms, especially reforms of the internal financial management systems in government agencies. Specifically in transition economies, there has been increasing recognition that OECD-type budget systems need to be broadly based on a firm platform of financial management in government institutions. At the same time, many transitional countries have generally acknowledged that this aspect of their PEM systems is problematic and needs to be rectified; hence, international agencies have been actively promoting reforms in these areas. In particular, three areas have been emphasized: human resource management, procurement, and internal audit. This paper explores the problems faced by transitional economies in each of these areas and reviews the generally recommended solutions to these problems.
Many emerging market economies are trying to improve their budget processes and move to performance-based budgeting. This paper first reviews the evolution of the "new" performance budgeting model, increasingly being applied in industrial countries. By identifying its main components, the tasks faced by emerging market economies when converting their present budget systems to this model are determined. It is recognized that this conversion will not be easy and will require four major reform elements. First, any existing program structure must be set in the wider context of strategic budget planning and medium-term budget frameworks. Second, this typically involves redesigning and refining existing program structures. Third, existing budget-costing systems and associated skills will probably need to be improved. Fourth, and perhaps most difficult, a new system of accountability and budget incentives needs to be introduced. For emerging market economies, these should be viewed as the prerequisites for a successful introduction of the new performance-budgeting model.
Based on the experience of budget management reforms that have been introduced over the last two decades in a large number of member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) it is not uncommon to find emerging market economies moving toward performance-based budgeting where measures of performance play a key role. While it might be tempting for middle income countries to press forward to adopt a full-blown outputs and outcomes framework, there are some risks in the move. Such a change in orientation is only possible once managers have had adequate experience in refining the definition of programs and their objectives, and on this basis developing a comprehensive system of performance measurement. It is argued in this paper that to develop a comprehensive performance measurement system requires resolving a number of issues involved in clearly defining how to measure "performance" as well as overcoming a number of technical issues in the design and use of measures of that "performance." However, perhaps the most critical step is introducing a system whereby performance information can influence resource allocation decisions, i.e., establishing a performance management system. Based on international experience, this paper reviews each of these hurdles in moving toward a performance management framework.