Where will the public sector be in the next five years? What will drive change and how will professional accountants in the sector need to respond?
How the public sector plans for and responds to change will be of great importance to the sector itself, but even more important for citizens. The public sector is as complex as it is diverse and it is not the same in any two countries.
Professional accountants have two challenges:
- They need to understand the key forces shaping the future and how these could affect public sector organisations and the country they serve.
- They need to provide support and influence financial decisions that will ensure public funds are deployed most cost-effectively and efficiently, both now and in the future.
Why is this research important?
The public sector will always need accountants. They are essential to fulfil the growing need for accountability and transparency and provide better financial insights. Overall the global position shows that changes in public sector organisations will be driven by level of economic growth in that country, followed by: quality and availability of the global talent pool.
What are the five areas that will affect me the most?
Collectively the drivers behind change will force the public sector to innovate and embrace the benefits of digital technologies eg new technology will replace low value-added activity, allowing finance professionals to focus on areas that will provide more value. This includes drawing insights from better and more timely analysis and interpretation of data.
How will reading this article benefit me?
Public sector professional accountants will need to apply professional skills and business knowledge with an understanding of their operating environment. They have a unique opportunity to serve the communities in which they live and make a tangible difference to people’s lives through better financial management to provide infrastructure and public services.
"Entrepreneurial skills in the public sector are increasingly required. This necessity is driven by greater commercialisation and the need to explore opportunities to collaborate with the private sector or find alternative funding sources or evaluate business processes to make improvements."
Amidst many changes, finance professionals must maintain their core ethical values, but in return will have the opportunity to add value as citizens demand better quality and quantity of information.
The public sector - including the finance function - will need to become more agile. And the finance function itself must become more innovative, creative, responsive and visionary.