Apr 15, 2021

My Personal Gains from Learning about Different Experiences in Advancing Public Sector Asset Management

We were happy to discuss with Ms. Dijana Dejanoska Petkovska, Senior Auditor at the State Audit Office in North Macedonia, the key lessons learned she has taken away from participating in our recent learning events that provided practical insights and suggestions for setting up a clear regulatory framework concerning the establishment, development, and maintenance of a public asset register.

“I attended two learning activities: “Managing Public Sector Assets: Current Status, Ongoing Reforms and Further Challenges” and “Building a Public Sector Asset Register: Challenges and Recommendations”.

The first online course was highly participatory and was delivered in three learning units consisting of webinars, video recordings of lectures and presentations, supplementing reading materials, written assignments and peer review of the submitted assignments. These activities enabled active participation in the training and I appreciated there was a possibility to read everyone’s assignments, ask questions and share comments to get further insights into addressed subject matters.

The last task at the end of the course was for the participants from the same country to make a presentation and share their experiences. We had to make a summary of the results, current conditions and further expectations regarding public sector asset management (PSAM) in each participant country. We concluded that both the developed countries and developing countries are improving their public sector asset management to ensure better and more efficient public governance.

This training enabled me better understand the goals and significance of PSAM. It is a useful tool for achieving strategic development goals in regional, infrastructural, cultural, health, and other development policies. It is important for preserving public funds and strengthening economic growth until the implementation of optimal solutions, ensuring control over natural resources, cultural and other heritage, vital companies, and other resources in the government portfolio, and securing revenues that can be used for ordinary goods.

We also learned about the barriers and risks faced by every country that wants to establish PSAM: lack of a central policy framework; scarcity of information needed for managing property portfolios; insufficient accounting reforms; lack of transparency and accountability.

From my personal and professional experience, I can say that capacity building is very important for every country who wants to establish an effective and efficient PSAM. Having successfully completed the Public Accountants Certification Training (PACT) for certified public sector accountants, this online course confirmed my opinion that accrual accounting and accounting standards bring greater clarity to how property-related costs and property values are recognized and measured over time and that their adoption requires more than a simple change in the reporting procedures.

As a state auditor involved in performance audits related to PSAM, comparative analyses and the shared experience of lecturers and participants upgraded my knowledge to make well-informed recommendations in audit reports, enabling their implementation to provide added value in state assets management.

The second webinar addressed the challenges of and recommendations for setting up, developing, and maintaining a public sector asset register. I learned that there are some obstacles and challenges in establishing such a register in terms of allocating the necessary financial resources for PSAM reforms, IT equipment, and software. From the experience of the lecturers, I understood that the path that every country has to take to establish a register for effective and efficient management of state property is long, requires commitment and, most importantly, political will.

The webinars were carried out by professional lecturers with great experience in the subject matter. They widened my knowledge, which I will share with my colleagues. In addition, I would like to thank them for their great presentation style with lots of opportunities to ask questions and talk about real examples, which made these learning events really enjoyable and informative.

In the end, I would like to thank the CEF for the great organization of these wonderfully practical courses, both personally and professionally.