What is our Global Social Responsibility during a Pandemic?

Important Questions for a Public Financial Management (PFM) Social Enterprise During and After the Coronavirus Crisis

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Background: We had a company-wide webinar and discussion about the pandemic and our social responsibility yesterday. Why?
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  • We know that we help governments improve the management of public finances
  • We know that we can help FreeBalance customers reallocate priorities, adjust controls, track procurement, audit transactions, analyze results, and create effective reports to international financial institutions thanks to built-in functions in the FreeBalance Accountability Suite
  • We also know that our Public Financial Management (PFM), Financial Management Information Systems (FMIS), and IT knowledge can help governments who do not have our software
  • And, we know that this is not a “black swan” event because of numerous pandemic risk predictions

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Our Golden Circle
We’re big believers in the “golden circle”  that we communicate during on-boarding regular internal communications. It has become a framework for ethical decisions.
We also leverage the “golden circle” in our “go-to-market” because it’s a distinctive competitive differentiator from traditional providers. 

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Context: the pandemic puts significant pressure on public finances

  • Yet, public finances are part of the solution
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  • At a time when government fiscal space is still constrained by the 2008 financial crisis

  • Meanwhile, many governments are unable to report spending interactively
  • And, fiscal credibility is important for country recoveries

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How can we enable public finance improvements during the pandemic? How could we help governments become more fiscally resilient to future economic shocks?

  • That was the challenge from our President and CEO Manuel Pietra in late March
  • We formed an innovation team with senior staff from Asia, Europe, Latin America, and North America to develop a solutions portfolio
  • We learned from advice from the ADB, IMF, PEFA Secretariat, the World Bank and numerous think tanks
  • We worked with our government customers

What were our challenges to develop this portfolio? Rationalizing all these good practices into practical solutions.
 This required categorization
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The result was a set of 4 advisory services and 2 product enhancements now available to any government:

Products

  • Emergency Tracking Portal: customized health information and expenditure portal for governments seeking to automate transparency and improve citizen communications effectiveness
  • Government Supplier E-Services: online and mobile alert facility for governments seeking to reduce the burden on suppliers and government staff to track invoices, statements, and payments

Services

  • Emergency Fiscal Advice Engineering: as-needed access to the FreeBalance PFM virtual “war room” for governments needing quick access to expert resources during the pandemic response
  • Emergency Sustainability Enablement: emergency PFM advisory engagement for governments seeking to adjust controls, enable reallocations, and improve tracking during the pandemic
  • Public Financial Management Resilience Empowerment: comprehensive phased PFM advisory engagement for governments seeking to mitigate fiscal shocks from the pandemic through and become resilient to future shocks
  • Finance Ministry Continuity Engineering: analysis of critical task regulations, business processes, and information systems to ensure continuity of critical Finance Ministry functions

Context: this portfolio supports governments across different time frames

  • Horizon 1: PFM in the pandemic
  • Horizon 2: PFM in pandemic recovery
  • Horizon 3: Resilient PFM for future economic shocks

How is this the actions of a social enterprise? Isn’t this an attempt to generate more revenue?

  • We commit to leveraging what governments have implemented – no replacement of non-FreeBalance software for advisory services & integrate portals with existing infrastructure
  • We deliver remote services adjusted for local rates for affordability
  • We leverage our diverse global workforce to find the most optimal cost/benefit solutions
  • We identify PFM reform and resilience opportunities not specifically tied to FreeBalance software

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Our global staff shared experiences helping countries deal with pandemic public finances:
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  • Budget classification additions for spending reallocations based on pandemic priorities across Ministries that enable audit and tracking
  • Controls changes and leverage of supplemental budgets for special healthcare worker payroll and expenditures
  • Separation of pandemic spending from other health spending with special tracking and reporting
  • Adjustments in sub-allocation controls for pandemic spending reallocation from other sources

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The bottom line: it’s our global social responsibility, as a social enterprise, to motivate governments to reform to achieve sustainable growth and citizen wellbeing
Deeper drive

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