May 12, 2023

CEF-CIPFA Conference Explores the Role of Digitalization in Public Financial Management in South East Europe

Hosted by the CEF and Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA), this international conference provided an opportunity to explore the roles of public financial management (PFM) professionals in public sector digital transformation. The conference's primary focus was on the specific issues and examples in South East Europe.

This year’s conference also marked 20 years of the successful and strong partnership between CEF and CIPFA in delivering internationally recognized professional qualification programs for public sector accountants and internal auditors. “My team has consistently spoken about how professional, collaborative, and respectful their counterparts at the CEF are, and how they really feel like the work our two organizations do together makes a difference. I could not be happier to support that type of working relationship and working environment,” said CIPFA President Ms. Jayne Owen. 

CEF Director Ms. Jana Reanšek also expressed her appreciation to CIPFA colleagues for their commitment and support in strengthening the partnership between CEF and CIPFA. Ms. Repanšek also explained how the CEF has been investing in the digitalization of its own processes. The digitalization of the CEF proved to be vital when the pandemic struck, and the organization had to switch to remote work for an extended period and shift its face-to-face learning programs onto an online platform. Ms. Repanšek used her personal experience to emphasize to conference participants that digitalization is an essential requirement in today's world. “Digitalization is an absolute necessity. It is a necessity for sound public financial management. The public sector is facing immense pressure to become more efficient, transparent, and accountable. Digitalization is the key to achieving these objectives.” concluded Ms. Repanšek. 

In the keynote address, Deputy Prime Minister of Kosovo Mr. Besnik Bislimi emphasized the advancements Kosovo has made in managing public finances, specifically in the areas of public sector asset management and digitalization. Mr. Bislimi also expressed his belief that Kosovo can make significant steps in improving its PFM capabilities and promoting economic growth by continuing to invest in digitalization. He further outlined the government's plans to enhance the management of public finances to achieve this goal.

In her speech, H.E. Ms. Minca Benedejčič, Ambassador of Slovenia to Kosovo, also highlighted the significance of digitalization in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Ambassador explained that the Slovenian Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, through Slovenian Aid focuses its efforts primarily on the Western Balkans, where it has been making a significant impact.

The conference provided an opportunity for sharing specialized knowledge and experience but also enabled participants to establish professional relationships and valuable connections with peers from different parts of the region. It took place on May 11, 2023, in Prishtina, Kosovo.