The Association of Public Finance Accountants of Sri Lanka (APFASL) – the Public Sector Wing of CA Sri Lanka continued to play a pioneering role by launching several initiatives to strengthen the Public Financial Management Practices in Sri Lanka to help the Government to enhance transparency, accountability and good governance in the public sector.
These initiatives include the launch of the Chartered Public Finance Accountancy qualification, adoption and implementation of the public sector accounting standards, launch of the Best Annual Reports and Accounts Awards Competition, developing a comprehensive website for the Public Sector Wing and conducting capacity building programs for public sector accounting and finance professionals.
Head Table (from left): Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka Vice President Lasantha Wickramasinghe, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka President Arjuna Herath, Association of Public Finance Accountants of Sri Lanka (APFASL) President V. Kanagasabapathy and Association of Public Finance Accountants of Sri Lanka (APFASL) Secretary K.L. Perera
New professional qualification
Having understood the important scope played by the public sector in the country, CA Sri Lanka together with APFASL launched the Chartered Public Finance Accountancy (CPFA), a new professional qualification exclusively for professionals in the public sector in February this year with the blessings of the Minister of Finance and the Secretary to the Treasury.
The first examination leading to this qualification, which is internationally recognised, will be conducted in December. Student registrations for this examination have already commenced and applications for December examination have been closed. Those who have enrolled for the December examination could obtain the study material for the business level examination from the CA Sri Lanka sales centre.
The CPFA qualification will help raise the bar of the professionals from the public sector, while also enhancing their standing in the professional world.
Adoption and implementation of Public Sector Accounting Standards
APFASL together with the Ministry of Finance launched and implemented 10 Sri Lanka Public Sector Accounting Standards, while an additional 10 standards are in the process of being adopted, based on the current requirements.
The standards are made applicable to government entities which are on full accrual system, while the remaining government entities could apply them once they migrate to full accrual system. Currently the accrual system is being fast tracked by the Government with a view to modernise the public sector accounting practices.
The application of accounting standards will ensure high quality financial statements reflecting fair view of financial performance, financial position and cash flows promoting uniformity and comparability ensuring transparency, accountability and good governance.
APFASL has also been conducting a series of training programs to educate professionals from the public sector on the standards, and how to adopt and implement them.
Best Annual Reports and Accounts Awards Competition
In an effort to bring about excellence in financial reporting by preparing and presenting financial statements in compliance with Sri Lanka Public Sector Accounting Standards, APAFSL is organising the inaugural Best Annual Reports and Accounts Awards competition for the public sector in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and the Auditor General’s Department.
The main objective of the competition is to improve the quality of annual reports and accounts issued by the public sector, thereby helping improve transparency and accountability of ministries, departments, statutory boards, local authorities, as well foreign funded projects.
All government entities which have finalised their financial statements and annual reports for the year ending on 31 December 2014, can apply for the Best Annual Report and Accounts Awards competition organised by AAPFASL. Closing date for applications for the competition has been extended until 15 November 2015 to enable more participation, while the awards ceremony will be held in December this year.
Government entities classified under the categories of; Ministries, Departments, Provincial Councils, Universities, Statutory Boards, Municipal Councils, Pradeshiya Sabhas, Foreign Funded Projects, can apply for the honours. A total of three awards will be given under each category, namely the Best Annual Report, followed by two runners up, while there will also be an Overall Winner at the awards ceremony for complying with all the requirements as per the guidelines issued for this purpose.
Capacity building programs
The Public Sector Wing also conducted several capacity building programs to update the working knowledge of the public sector financial management personnel. In this connection a prospectus, identifying training programs on key areas selected on the need basis has been published on the website.
The Association will communicate to its members and relevant institutions via e-mails and public notices as and when the programmes are scheduled. These programs along with any other program in relation to public financial management could be conducted at the request of individuals, and or groups, provided the sufficient number of participants is available for the programs.
A comprehensive website for the Public Sector Wing
A comprehensive website is currently been developed to provide online resources to members of APFASL to make maximum the use of the activities undertaken by the Public Sector Wing of CA Sri Lanka to upgrade their professional skills and expertise.
Membership enrolment drive to derive maximum benefit
The APFASL is inviting all financial management personnel in the public sector to obtain membership of the Association in order to derive maximum benefit from the above activities. Accountants, Auditors and Assessors in the public sector who have not applied for membership of the APFASL can submit their applications and obtain their membership which will help to enhance their professional skills and competence.
The above initiatives aim to bring best practices and strengthen public financial management in the country. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has been providing financial support to handle the above activities.