Or if you're already a SSON member, sign in below to download. Sign In Join
Shared Services Helps UN Align with New Public Sector Accounting Standards
The United Nations Development Programme complies with stringent new accounting standards through its Malaysian Shared Services Center. Interview with John Kidd, UNDP
When the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) was challenged with adopting the brand-new International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS*) in the preparation of financial statements, it was clear that it would have to evolve its accounting practices. The UN’s 177 country-based offices had, until then, each managed their own revenues and donations, with little visibility or consistency. All this was about to change.
To support the transition of the revenue process to a central shared services, the UNDP chose Malaysia, and put John Kidd in charge. The Cyberjaya-based office (in Kuala Lumpur) has been running for a year now.
With most of the staff in effect new to the UN, as well as unfamiliar with IPSAS and the Development Programme’s work, the challenge was not just to immerse them into the existing UN culture, but to build a brand new, "can-do" mind-set. This mind-set has resulted in a team that has been internally recognized for its speed, efficiency, and responsiveness – important when you are processing 5 billion dollars worth of revenues a year.
Virtual work practices and technology are an important element of the SSO’s work. With so many of its revenues originating in unstable regions of the world, the UNDP wanted to minimize any risk associated with business discontinuity. To ensure security, it has avoided any local infrastructure and is leveraging the cloud by having its ERP and CRM systems hosted in Geneva. Also significant: Microsoft’s SharePoint document management system safeguards against any regional fallouts and assures 24/7 access from anywhere.
John talks about how the UNDP is offering career progression through the shared services center, and how it is building a brand that is valued for its work experience and diversity.
Listen to the interview.
* IPSAS aims to improve the quality of general purpose financial reporting by public sector entities, leading to better informed assessments of the resource allocation decisions made by governments, and thereby increasing transparency and accountability.