Transparency and Beyond: Harnessing the Power of Accrual in Managing Public Finances

March 6, 2017
IMF Headquarters, Washington, D.C.

March 6, 2017

Sound public sector accounting and financial reporting practices foster transparency and accountability, which are essential for improved macro-economic stability, enhanced delivery of public services, and more efficient use of government resources. The financial crisis of 2008-2009 demonstrated the full extent of negative repercussions that can occur when transparent, comprehensive, and reliable fiscal and financial reporting is lacking. It also served as a catalyst for public financial management (PFM) reforms, including implementation of accrual accounting.

However, the PFM reform landscape is broad, and encompasses many different actors, making it difficult to share knowledge and coordinate activities. This one-day international seminar takes advantage of the meeting of the International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board (IPSASB) in Washington (7th-10th March) to bring together senior level stakeholders in order to debate the different perspectives on, and opportunities for, harnessing accrual-based information to help strengthen PFM globally.

The seminar will take place at 9:00 a.m. on Monday, March 6th, 2017 at the IMF Headquarters (HQ1 3-430A&B). Featured topics include among others:

  • The OECD report on accrual accounting and budgeting in the public sector;
  • Use of balance sheet to manage fiscal risks;
  • Accrual accounting and Government Finance Statistics;
  • Capital markets – increasing use of government financial reports; and
  • Taking a whole system approach to PFM reforms.


March 6, 2017
Welcome and Event Introduction

Jennifer Thomson, Director, Operations Policies and Country Services, WB and Christopher Towe, Deputy Director, Fiscal Affairs Department, IMF 

Session 1 – Accrual adoption - Where are we now? 

Chair: Ian Carruthers, Chair, IPSASB
9:10 - 9:40 
IPSASs at 20  – progress, challenges and opportunities

Chair: Ian Carruthers, Chair, IPSASB

9:40 - 10:00
OECD/IFAC report - accrual practices and reform experiences in OECD countries
  • Jón BlöndalHead of Division, OECD 

  • Delphine Moretti, Senior Policy Analyst, OECD;
10:00 - 10:15 am Audience Q&A
10:15 - 10:45 am
Tea/Coffee Break
Session 2 – Accrual supporting strong PFM

Chair: Ed Olowo-Okere, Director, WB
10:45 - 10-50
Chair’s introduction

Ed Olowo-Okere, Director, Governance, WB

10:50 - 11:10
Financial sustainability and recognition of government revenues and expenditure

James Brumby, Director, Governance, WB

11:10 - 11:30
Accrual accounting and management of public investment programs
11:30 - 12:10
Use of balance sheet to manage fiscal risks
12:10 - 12:30
Panel Q&A

Ed Olowo-Okere, Director, Governance, WB and speakers

12:30 - 13:30 
Session 3 – Using accrual for transparency more broadly

Chair: Manal Fouad, Division Chief, IMF
13:30 - 13:40
Chair’s introduction

Manal Fouad, Division Chief, IMF

13:40 - 14:00
Capital markets – increasing use of government financial reports

Fergus McCormick, Chief Economist, Co-Head of Sovereign Ratings, Global Sovereign Ratings, DBRS Inc.

14:00 - 14:20
Civil society – using and disseminating accrual info

Juan Pablo Guerrero, Network Director of the Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency, (GIFT)

14:20 - 14:40
Using accrual data for GFS / fiscal policy

Gabriel Quiros, Deputy Director of the Statistics Department, IMF

14:40 - 15:00
The political perspective

Video Interviews:

  • Ruth Richardson

  • Ed Balls
15:10 - 15:20
Panel Q&A

Manal Fouad, Division Chief, IMF, and speakers

15:20 - 15:40 
Tea/Coffee Break
Session 4 –Theory into action: connecting standards and reforms

Chair: Ian Carruthers (IPSASB)
15:45 - 15:50
Chair’s introduction

Ian Carruthers, Chair, IPSASB

15:50 - 16:10
Developing the evidence base for use of accrual

Andreas Bergmann, Immediate past IPSASB Chair

16:10 - 16:30
Taking a whole system approach to PFM reforms

Rob Whiteman, Chief Executive, CIPFA

16:30 - 16:50
Promotion / capacity development – Accountability. Now.

Fayezul Choudhury, IFAC CEO

16:50 - 17:00
Closing Remarks
  • Ian Carruthers, Chair, IPSASB

  • Carolina Renteria, Division Chief, IMF
  • World Bank