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Three key themes from Government Finance Function Conference that any organisation can learn from

Updated: Jul 7, 2022

Written by Ed Potter, Senior HR and Finance Transformation Consultant at Veran Performance

With the last Government Finance Function (GFF) conference held two years ago, there was excitement and elation in the Mancunian air earlier this week. Finance colleagues from across the country who all support government finance gathered to realign on goals and visions of the GFF, and simply catch up after a rocky two years of uncertainty. Naturally, some of our government Finance Transformation team couldn’t resist a trip up to Manchester to meet and collaborate with conference attendees, many of whom we have worked with to deliver well needed Transformation and have been repeatedly asking each other to come off mute over the past two years.

Through conversations with attendees and high-quality talks and keynote speeches throughout the event, our team picked up on three key themes that are in the hearts and minds of our GFF colleagues to deliver the best possible finance service to government departments and organisations. They are considered critical to ensuring taxpayer money is being well spent and government departments can be adaptive and decisive in uncertain times, including macro trends such as inflation, rising costs of living and the Ukraine-Russia conflict.

The move to leading practice

To provide the most efficient, least costly finance service to departments, it has been recognised that a leading practice service design is required across government. This involves a service design that leverages Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) technology and automation, reduces manual touchpoints, streamlines processes and uses shared service functions wherever possible. This reduces transaction processing time, decreases technology and people costs, whilst supporting better decision making through enhanced insights from data.

Because adopting leading practice is challenging for organisations, especially GFFs who often have worked in set ways for many years, we have developed a tried and tested methodology to help government departments successfully deliver this change. Using our 7S TM (7 Step) methodology, we have helped several departments design an optimal future service design, for both Finance and HR.

We first ensure the vision of the future service, in terms of business outcomes and desired benefits of moving to SaaS technology and the new ways of working, are fully understood and communicated across the programme. This gives a strategic focus to the subsequent design of the future service, where we work backwards from standard SaaS and leading government finance global design, rather than bottom up from suboptimal requirements. This has allowed us to design the most efficient possible Finance and HR services with minimal total cost of ownership for our clients, balanced between standard SaaS and department-specific needs, and covering the end-to-end service including on- and off- system processes. We have ensured our clients are in the best position possible to achieve their desired benefits from their optimisation, whilst still meeting all their service needs.

Enhancing people and capability

Our team also noticed the prioritisation of the capability and development of GFF staff. There is a push to ensure the right talent with needed skills are hired and those employed have opportunities to develop. This helps support correct and timely decision making within GFFs and ensures the workforce is happy, engaged and is best placed to add value to the department.

Throughout the design phase of the future service within our 7S TM methodology, we also capture the people and organisational changes required to move to the optimal future service for the department. These changes often take form in required training to upskill employees on new technology and updated processes, hiring new talent to support these new systems and processes, and reshaping and reorganising teams across business units to ensure each team is delivering the required value to the department, and then some. This allows us to focus on people and capability in the optimisation of the Finance service.

Ensuring rapid and quality risk management

The third theme noticed was a push to ensure financial risks are managed with as much control and efficiency as possible. This supports GFFs in making sure taxpayer money is well spent and not lost to inefficiency and miss-spending, ultimately freeing up funds for additional initiatives and providing an enhanced impact to the taxpayer.

Through 7S TM, we help GFFs standardise processes across business units, move processes/data off Excel and bolt-on systems and onto core SaaS systems, and reduce system customisations where possible. This leads to less time and effort to view and control an accurate picture of spend and budgets in real-time and from one singular source, enhancing understanding of and the ability to react to financial risks when they arise. Moreover, by pushing toward standard SaaS functionality where possible, we ensure our clients can best leverage system functionality that supports efficient risk management.

Want to find out more?

If you have found this blog post interesting and want to find out more about the insights from the conference or Veran’s optimal future service design and how we support government departments across Finance and HR, please email and we’ll put you in touch with one of the team that attended.


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