We're operating in a complex, fast-paced global landscape for public finance management

Public service organisations across the globe are facing considerable challenges. Not only is there an ever-growing demand for greater transparency and accountability, but also increasing standards and expectations around external and internal audit.

Competency and skills in public finance, its principal components and the levers by which it can be successfully improved and executed, are essential. Whatever the level of development or economic circumstances in a country, citizens will rightly keep raising the bar regarding their expectations about public service delivery.

As pressures on national budgets increase and with the additional demands of the global financial crisis and the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, there is unprecedented need to understand better the components of public finance and how the full range of public organisations and processes relate. All of this means there has never been a greater need for world-class public finance education and training.

How CIPFA can help

CIPFA is the only professional accountancy body in the world exclusively dedicated to public finance. We were a founder member of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), and Accountancy Europe. We are also a registered UK charity with a UK Royal Charter. CIPFA exists for the public good — it's our guiding principle.

We work closely with international bodies including the UN, World Bank, European Commission and the UK's Department for International Development, as well as government ministries, technical development partners, public accounting organisations, and Supreme Audit Institutions across the globe. Our aim is to advance the field of public financial management and promote best practice throughout the global public sector.

Qualifications and training

Our flagship Professional Accountancy Qualification reflects the evolving environment and challenges faced in managing public finances effectively and can lead to the globally recognised CPFA (Chartered Public Finance Accountant) designation.

To support national governments, state enterprises and public sector institutions around the world as they move towards implementing IPSAS, we also offer qualifications in the International Public Sector Accounting Standards.

Recognising the importance of tackling corruption and acquisitive crime, our International Certificate in Corruption Investigation covers the professional investigation and case management of corruption allegations.

We are now piloting an ambitious new Corruption Prevention Programme, aligned to the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) Chapter II, the “Prevention of Corruption under the UNCAC”. The programme will offer unique and specialised anti-corruption certification training to build the capacity of individuals as well as strengthening public sector institutions.

To help both individuals and organisations identify their training needs, we have published our guidance on key competencies for public sector finance managers, which brings together the full required range of knowledge, skills and approaches. 

Building capacity and capability

CIPFA has helped design and deliver training programmes with governments and donor bodies worldwide. Topics include risk management, leadership, governance, counter fraud, anti-bribery and corruption and finance skills for public sector managers.

We implement both long and short-term projects, ranging from several years to a few months, carried out in numerous countries including Somalia and Somaliland, Anguilla, Uganda, Sri Lanka and Malta.

Global standards

The International Financial Reporting for Non-Profit Organizations (IFR4NPO) initiative is a five-year project, coordinated by Humentum and CIPFA, to develop the first ever NPO international financial reporting guidance.

International conference

Every year, CIPFA hosts an international conference for public finance professionals from around the world on a range of contemporary issues - all with the aim of improving global public financial management. We hosted our first joint conference with the Centre of Excellence in Finance (CEF) in June 2021. Explore the key highlights.

Reports and publications

Our survey of international public sector professionals, Evolving climate accountability, shows that more than half of public sector organisations do not currently report on their climate impact — an important baseline from which the evolution of public sector sustainability reporting can be measured.

CIPFA's Whole Systems Approach framework helps countries improve their public financial management and service delivery, to promote wise spending, tackle corruption and contribute to economic growth and long-term stability.

We work with IFAC to produce the International Public Sector Financial Accountability Index. The index uses data from countries around the world to create a picture of the quality of accrual accounting and the extent of IPSAS adoption. 

We also worked with IFAC to develop the International Framework: Good Governance in the Public Sector, which aims to encourage more effective public sector governance and better governed and managed public sector entities.

Public Money and Management is a major international, academic and professional journal that we publish with Routledge, covering public sector finance, policy and management.

News and commentary

CIPFA has convened the Public Finance International Advisory Panel (IAP), which comprises 32 public finance professionals from academia, international bodies and professional accounting organisations. The panel facilitates professional and academic discussion and thought leadership on pan-public sector finance issues, including anti-corruption, internal control, budgetary management, accounting, auditing and performance reporting.

We are also co-founders of Public Finance Focus, a website featuring the latest public financial management news, along with Public Finance magazine.

Contact us

Tel: +44 (0)20 7543 5600