Fears raised over supply of public sector accountants

Bob Black, speaking at public sector accountancy body’s annual Scottish conference, said the market for Cipfa-qualified staff had to be examined to avoid peaks and troughs in supply.

‘In Scotland we need to address this issue of managing the market and avoiding situations where the tap is turned on and off in sectors.’

Black also raised concerns about the status of finance officers in local authorities while emphasising the need for strong finance functions in public sector bodies.

His concern is that finance officers’ authority should not be undermined as public sector bodies prepare for modernisation.

He told gathered Cipfa members that he feared many of the problems faced by Westminster in introducing resource accounting was due to a shortage of qualified staff.

He sad: ‘Perhaps some of the problems the government is having in bringing in resource accounting may be due in part to the fact that there are not that many qualified finance staff in central government.’

Emphasising his concerns for local authorities, he said: ‘It is important that when elected members are considering budgets and involvement in new projects that they are clearly advised of the financial implications. Public finance is getting increasing complex because of PFI and PPP.

‘The financial structure can be very complex and there must be a concern to ensure that the risk exposure is adequately reported before decisions are taken.’

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