Are the public financial systems in France in a state of emergency ?

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Jean-Jacques FRANÇOIS

Treasurer, Central Government Accounting Office; in charge of the mission concerning patrimonial accounting

Seminar Business life | Friday July 2, 1999

In 1997, at the demand of the French government, the Finance ministry undertook a complete audit of the State financial system. The first few months brought to light the lack of unanimity between departments. As a result of this, the study decided on a more pragmatic approach, starting with practical problems. Is financial information available to the State as and when it needs it ? Are financial processes efficient, in other words, optimum, in terms of deadlines, costs and results ? Is public money spent in the best possible way ? After a year's work which included comparisons made with other countries, the diagnosis is alarming : the French public financial system is archaic, and is in the process of missing out on attempts at convergence made by foreign systems. It is a matter of urgency. The study group also suggests practical methods to modernise the management of public finances while maintaining some of those methods which underlie the system and are sound. In July 1999, the most important proposals were accepted by the directors of the Budget and Public Finance ministry who committed themselves to its implementation. Now it just remains to overcome a great deal of opposition to the system…

The entire article was written by:

Thomas PARIS

This session was published in issue n°21 of the Journal de l'École de Paris du management, entitled Vous avez dit burlesque ? .

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