Magazine article Public Finance

A Role That Moves with Complex Times

Magazine article Public Finance

A Role That Moves with Complex Times

Article excerpt

CIPFA chaired an energetic debate about whether internal audit could add more value in riskmature organisations at the recent Government Finance and Internal Audit Conference.

The most striking aspect of the debate was the wide range of activities and types of organisation that internal auditors now work with.

We have moved away from a model where largely public sector organisations provide public services directly to end users. We now have a mixed economy of public, private and third sector providers, operating in an increasingly resource constrained and sophisticated marketplace.

Today, public service finance operations have four key functions.


This role involves exploring ways to make taxpayers' money stretch further, often working with other bodies, and is likely to become more prominent. Evaluation of public outcomes is likely to be viewed more from an individual's than a budgetary perspective.

Business partner

This concerns influencing strategy and business outcomes, working with managers to reach policy goals, offering analysis and interpretation, presenting options to solve problems and exploit opportunities, and developing financial understanding and informed decision making.


This is the traditional role of finance, involving safeguarding resources from loss, waste, abuse or corruption and providing an account of their use.


This role concerns the infrastructure of the financial operation and core financial administration processes, including specialist services, directly and through commissioning external providers.

These functions place finance professionals at the heart of modern public service organisations, responsible for securing stewardship and supporting performance and transformation. To fulfil these roles, they must be both technically proficient and able to manage and drive change. …

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