Financial management is the system by which the resources of an organisation are planned, directed, monitored and controlled to enable the organisation's goals to be met.
Good financial management means an organisation anticipates and responds to changing circumstances and risks, delivers programmes to budgets and plans, constantly improves efficiency and services, and provides accurate and meaningful information to its stakeholders. All of this is more important than ever given big cuts in public spending, increasing delivery of services locally and through contracts, new financing mechanisms, greater demand due to demographic changes and new risks, such as cyber crime.
Financial management must therefore be a key part of public bodies' strategic and operational decisions and plans; they must have the financial information needed to make decisions and monitor operations; and their staff must have the right financial and commercial skills.
Find out more about lessons and good practice identified in NAO's work across government in Asset sales and privatisation; Cost reduction and affordability; Fraud, error and debt management; Infrastructure finance; and Managing assets and liabilities.
Key NAO publications: The choice of finance for capital investment (Mar 2015); Building Public Trust Awards – Examples of good practice in annual reports (Jan 2015); Delivering value and accountability – CIMA and NAO expert panel report (Oct 2014); Reporting financial management information to the Board (Jan 2012); and Financial Management Maturity Model (Jan 2010)
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