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Harvard Kennedy School

Public Financial Management in a Changing World

Public Financial Management in a Changing World
Jan 12—17, 2020
6 days
Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
USD 9100
USD 1516 per day

How it works


Every country around the world has embraced public financial management reforms over the last two decades. Many have not met expectations.

Yet the demand for reform is great, particularly after 2008, as countries came under greater pressure to pursue austerity measures but still deliver government services.

Public Financial Management in a Changing World is an executive program providing a rigorous, evidence-based approach to public financial management. It brings together officials in charge of implementing reforms in their countries along with leading experts from multilateral organizations to examine the challenges associated with successful systemic reform.

Going Beyond the Numbers

This one-week public finance management executive program goes far beyond traditional approaches that have yielded decidedly mixed results. Harvard faculty and expert practitioners will lead you through a deep examination of what constitutes effective reform. They will also focus on political and organizational change, with an emphasis on national traditions, capacities and needs.

Public Financial Management will provide you with:

  • an empirical understanding of the elements of reform agendas that typically succeed versus those that do not, and an analytical framework for interpreting how and why this differs by country;
  • evidence-based insights about the connection between the quality and the outputs of systems in functional areas such as budgeting, accounting, auditing, and procurement;
  • approaches for strategic engagement of stakeholders in reforms and change management; and
  • a lasting global network of colleagues who share a common understanding of the challenges of reforming public financial management systems.


Public Financial Management is a one-week program that offers an intensive look at the current landscape of this field.

The curriculum will explore key aspects of budget reform, accounting and internal audit reform—as well as how these parts come together to facilitate effective public financial management systems. Lectures, case studies, interactive exercises and classroom discussions will illuminate theory and enable you to work through real-life challenges.

The program also makes extensive use of PEFA (Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability) data, which will enable you and your peers to draw meaningful conclusions about the quality of financial management systems in various countries.

Public Financial Management will provide you with an enhanced understanding of:

  • Approaches to balance the demands on public financial management systems, including common calls for austerity and the simultaneous pressures for increased spending
  • The options available to improve public financial management performance in a wide variety of countries
  • Strategies to adapt common reform options to local contextual challenges; and
  • Ways of facilitating the implementation of reforms by distributed agents across governments

Who should attend

Public Financial Management in a Changing World is designed to bring together senior officials tasked with designing and implementing reform initiatives in their countries. Leaders with responsibility for budgets, internal or external audits, and financial controls in Ministries of Finance and line agencies, as well as legislative branches of government, will benefit from this program.

Participants may include senior officials working in the following areas of government:

  • Budget Directors
  • Budget Officers
  • Treasury Specialists
  • Government Accounting Officers
  • Planners
  • Internal/External Auditors
  • Procurement Specialists
  • Parliamentarians involved in budget processes

Private sector consultants and members of international organizations working in these areas also should consider applying. Diverse perspectives and interactive class sessions will enhance the learning experience for all participants, providing a unique opportunity to build lasting professional networks.


Matt Andrews is Senior Lecturer in Public Policy. His research focuses on public sector reform, particularly budgeting and financial management reform, and participatory governance in developing and transitional governments. Recent articles focus on forging a theoretical understanding of the nont...


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