The role of public finance is to support a public organisation’s vision in attaining its goals. This means that once a budget has been compiled and funds have been allocated to different departments accordingly, public finance administrators will ensure that the budget is properly implemented and that expenditure is monitored, while also ensuring that there is no mismanagement of funds. This is the general scope of public finance administration.
Here are a few components of public financial administration that you should know about if you want to work in this field:
In public finance administration, the task of preparing budgets is an important one. A budget refers to the anticipated income and expenditure of a government organisation. It is a financial plan that makes provision for operational, development, equipment, land, building, salary, and other costs. It is crucial that the financial transactions reflected in the budget are lawful and that there is accurate reporting on how the budgeted funds are spent.
Accounting and auditing
Accounting in public finance administration refers to the recording, reporting and analysing of the financial transactions within a government department or public organisation, while auditing deals with examining and scrutinising the financial accounts and statements.
There is a close relationship between budgeting and accounting, as it is important to compare the original goals with the actual achievements. The purpose of auditing is then to verify the accuracy of the financial records of the department or organisation.
Purchasing and supply
Purchasing and supply are key mechanisms in enabling the government to implement its plans. This part of public finance administration deals with the procurement of goods and services – from the right supplier and at the right quantities. It also deals with the monitoring and distribution of these goods and services to the right places or people at the right times.
Along with the above-listed duties, the role of public finance administration also encompasses the following:
Safeguarding of public assets
An important part of public finance administration is to ensure that public assets – like money, vehicles, equipment and other resources – are protected against misuse. This means putting in place controls and systems to prevent corruption and to promote effective financial management.
These controls ensure that financial transactions are lawful and that resources are used for their intended purpose and in line with the correct processes.
Ensuring transparency and accountability
Public finance administration requires transparency and accountability. These are important characteristics, because public finance deals with public funds.
It is crucial that the people trusted with the responsibility of handling public resources report honestly and accurately on the actual and intended uses of such resources.
The role of a public finance administrator is crucial for government and other public organisations to reach their set goals. People working in this field are responsible for a wide range of duties that help to reach these goals.
Working in this field means that you play an important role in ensuring that public funds are spent properly and that the lives of citizens are improved.
If you have an analytical mind, love working with numbers, and have an interest in the public sector, this could be a good career choice for you.
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