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Hal Le
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Liberia has indeed undertaken an ambitious reform program and should be congratulated for having the gumption to undertake this approach, albeit with ample safeguards. As inferred from the article, much of the success thus far can be attributed to the project champions - within and outside the government. The IFMIS project includes key leaders who have successfully worked with the same underlying system in Sierra Leone and other countries, helping to guide the project while mitigating the risks inherent with any large scale initiative.
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There are many issues raised in Mr. Bessette's post. I would like to respond to one in particular - single entry versus double-entry accounting. We have found that having a system that allow users to specify and enter only a single entry significantly facilitates user adoption. Properly configured, the system will automatically generate the offsetting debit/credit entry, ensuring internal ledgers are appropriately maintained on a double-entry basis. This approach has a direct impact on user capacity because end-users can leverage their existing knowledge and training "quickly". As capacity increases over time and where appropriate, mainline staff can be exposed to more of the 'back end' accounts where needed. "Core" accountants will at all times have access to the full ledgers to maintain controls and oversight. In many fragile states double-entry accounting is like a double-edged sword :) It is the appropriate standard to follow to provide outturn information but the complexity prevents the state from adopting it. We have found that a more simplified single-entry front-end coupled with a double-entry back-end setup creates the bridge for many countries to achieve this goal.
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Hi Kylie, Your question on payroll is intriguing. In the payroll systems that I've seen, statutory obligations (such as taxes or pension contributions) are reflected in earnings and deductions. These can be mandated for either the entire civil service or selected groups. The audit function, software supported or internal audit, verifies if these are being met appropriately. Do you have a specific scenario or circumstance in mind? Thanks, Hal
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