Towards More Effective Financial Management

In most organizations, improving the area of Financial Management is a priority. Even with the rationalization of computer systems through Y2K efforts, Finance systems often still need further modernization. Traditional Financial Management practices are also being rethought, and challenged by line managers. Finance Departments everywhere are looking to become more customer focused and deliver services that add value to the organization.

A leading Web site supporting improvement in Financial Management practices can be found at This site provides numerous reports and papers to assist modernization efforts. There is also a comprehensive summary of other financial sites that you should consider exploring. I suggest you visit this site periodically, particularly when new Finance initiatives are contemplated and organized.

FEATURE REPORT: IS & Financial Management

My featured report this month is a comprehensive paper on the “Modernization of Comptrollership in the Government of Canada”, which can be found at It was developed by an independent review panel and involved the participation of leading experts from numerous organizations. While focused on public-sector efforts to improve financial management, most of the recommendations are quite relevant to the private sector.

With Information Systems being involved in all major Finance system initiatives, one use of this report should be to question whether the team has rationalized what type of Finance Function will be needed long-term within their organization, before upgrading their systems one more time. I suggest passing a copy of this report to the project sponsor of the key Finance initiative within your organization.

Another report of interest is “Creating Value Through World-Class Financial Management – An Executive Guide”, produced by the U.S. General Accounting Office in support of the various CFOs in U.S. Federal Departments.

The paper describes the four key goals and 11 key practices identified as being critical in building a world-class finance organization. It also provides a summary of key characteristics, case study examples, and strategies to consider when trying to strengthen a practice area.

While downloading the report at, also consider reviewing some of the other guidelines available at I recommend, in particular, the reports entitled: “Executive Guide: Leading Practices in Capital Decision-Making”, and “Executive Guide: Effectively Implementing the Government Performance and Results Act” – with the reference numbers aimd-99-32 and ggd-96-118, respectively.

Web Sites Supporting Financial Management Improvement Efforts

Financial Management

Audit and Control

IT Management

Dan Swanson is a management consultant with LGS Group in Winnipeg. He specializes in audit and management consulting and can be reached at