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Public Financial Management (PFM)

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Fundamentals of Public Financial Management (4 days)

Course Details

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Financial management is a core competency for service line managers in the modern public sector. Many service line managers receive little or inadequate training in this competency and some may even be in denial about their important role in managing financial resources. The consequences of poor financial management can seriously harm the financial stability of the service, availability of future funding, ability to deliver services, team morale and relationships between the service and the finance team.

This 4-day course will develop competencies in financial management providing the knowledge and practical application skills to enable you to:

  • Confidently discuss financial issues with your own staff and with finance staff supporting your service
  • Understand and analyse financial activity reports
  • Operate key financial controls
  • Plan, set and manage a budget
  • Interpret budget variances and devise appropriate strategies to respond to them
  • Develop financial oriented performance measures
  • Improve the value for money delivered by your service

Learning points are explained in clear, simple language and are illustrated with real-world examples. Application is through problem solving and discussion of case studies. Participants are encouraged to share their experiences and learn from each other.

This program answers questions such as:

  • Why should I manage finances and what are my responsibilities?
  • What is the difference between cash and accruals accounting?
  • Who sets financial controls, what are the consequences if they are not operated effectively and what are my responsibilities for their operation?
  • How are resources allocated to budget holders?
  • What is the difference between a plan, budget and a forecast?
  • How should I monitor and manage my budget?
  • What is benchmarking, how is it done, how often should I do it?
  • Where should I go in my organisation for further information and guidance?

Learning Objectives

  • Develop core financial competencies
  • Input effectively to the budget setting process
  • Make more effective use of resources
  • Identify and respond to financial warning signs before they become financial issues
  • Improved communication with finance support staff and senior management on financial planning and control issues
  • Ensure financial controls are correctly operated

Who Should Attend

  • The course is primarily aimed at service directors, managers and their deputies from both front line and back office functions.
  • The following may also find the course of interest:
    • Staff without formal finance/accountancy training who are in finance support roles.
    • Staff who have been assigned to internal audit or risk management roles.


  • Introduction to effective financial management
    • Typical financial responsibilities of service managers
  • Financial concepts
    • The annual financial cycle of activities
    • Sources of funding for the public sector
    • Financial regulations and financial processes
    • How transactions get reflected in financial management reports
    • The connection between cash, revenue expenditure and assets
    • Revenue expenditure vs. capital
    • Understanding and interpreting financial management reports
  • Financial risk and control
    • Identifying operational risks and their financial consequences
    • Risk and control frameworks used by the public sector
    • The role of service managers in creating a strong control environment
    • Specific control types and their uses
    • Typical controls found in financial processes and service managers responsibilities over their operation
    • Learning from real world issues in the application of financial controls
  • Budget management
    • The role of budget management within the financial control framework
    • Connecting strategic planning with annual budgeting
    • The annual budget cycle
    • Budget setting, incremental vs. zero based budgets
    • Features of a successful business case
    • Identifying revenue and cost drivers for budget setting and management
    • Analysing in year budget reports and identifying variances
    • Developing tactics to respond to budget variances
    • Forecasting budget outturn
  • Achieving value for money
    • Economy, efficiency and effectiveness
    • Delivering services in a way which gives value for money to tax payers
    • Prioritisation of services
    • The role of benchmarking
    • Measuring value for money

Teaching Method

  • Group live instruction with interactive participation and sharing of experiences encouraged
  • Description and explanation of financial concepts in clear and simple language using effective learning methods
  • Extensive use of small group exercises, case studies and real-world examples to develop the practical application of key learning points
  • All participants receive a comprehensive binder containing copies of the presentation slides, handouts, best practice examples and other course materials


The instructor for this course will be drawn from one of our core faculty of subject matter experts. Further details will be published at the earliest opportunity.


Our seminars take place in professional conference facilities, usually situated within a carefully chosen and well-located hotel. We use prestigious brands such as Radisson Blu, Hilton and Marriott.

Detailed Joining Instructions are sent to all registered delegates by email approximately one month before the event. The Joining Instructions will confirm exact venue details and nearby (or onsite) hotel recommendations with bedroom rates where available. Refreshments and lunch are provided at our events.

CPE/CPD Accreditation

IASeminars is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. State boards of accountancy have final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit. Complaints regarding registered sponsors may be submitted to the National Registry of CPE Sponsors through its website: www.nasbaregistry.org.


Field of study: Accounting


No advanced preparation is required for this course. Participants are encouraged to obtain and bring to the course samples of financial management reports that they are expected to use or review and other materials, such as financial procedures and regulations, that they wish to discuss.