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Public money for the public good

The role of professional accountants is fundamentally about creating trust. Trust that numbers are correctly stated and that a true and fair account has been produced, showing what money has been raised and how that money has been used.

For the government this bond of trust is especially important. The public needs to trust that when the government asks them for taxes, the monies paid over and other public resources will be used for the public good.

With government activities accounting for nearly half of the global economy, effective public financial management is a crucial, yet all too often overlooked, condition for building a successful economy that can deliver sustainable growth and resources to meet the needs of individuals, communities and business.

Every country has a unique history and faces distinct challenges. While there can never be a single approach to public financial management, there are certain universal principles and factors which underpin the creation of trust anywhere in the world. This publication provides an overview of those factors, both cultural and technical illustrated by a range of case studies showing how different countries have taken practical steps to build trust in public money.

We trust that this report will contribute to the important goal of building a world of strong economies. A world where public finances are transparent and well managed, and where public servants hold themselves to the highest standards.