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Public sector finance profession grapples with multiple challenges

Public sector finance profession grapples with multiple challenges

ACCA’s Public Sector Conference looks at the challenges facing thepublic sector and suggests ways forward to transform the sector

The public sector needs to respond to multiple global challenges to create a safe, sustainable, and prosperous future that works for all.

 ACCA’s virtual public sector conference explored the challenges and the solutions that face public sector financial professionals as they work towards transforming the public sector. Such a task would be a challenge at any time but it is made significantly harder by a combination of war, high rates of inflation and a pressing climate challenge.

 Accountancy is at the centre of public sector transformation. Finance professionals need the rightskills to improve financial management and drive policy and spending decisions. New thinking in the public sector has never been more important and the conference heard about ACCA’s recently published guides on professionalising the public sector, launched with IFAC on 18 November 2022, and green budgeting. Both strong examples of the new thinking required.

 The conference also heard aboutthe unenviable choices facing finance leaders in the public sector. In the opening keynote Public Purse Prioritisation -public finance during a cost of living crisisVladyslawRashkovan, alternate executive director at the International Monetary Fund and former deputy governor of the National Bank of Ukraine, illustrated how tough spending choices were in a war zone, with trade offs between funding weapons or protecting citizens. He said: ‘Many hard choices exist over budget allocation. While slogans like build back better are great, winter is coming, and people cannot live on the streets. So, for donors and government the hard reality may bring unpleasant tradeoffs between the speed and quality of reconstructing of places where people are housed.’