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DepED convenes 5th Monthly Accountants Meeting for Data Cleansing Activities

PFMP encourages participants to embrace a new way of working by “breaking out of the cycle”

29 May 2015
 
 
Accountants from the DepED Central Office, Regional Office and Division Offices attend the monthly accountants meeting and give updates on their data cleansing activities.
 

BATANGAS CITY - Accountants and bookkeepers from the Department of Education (DepED) came together for their 5th Monthly Accountants Meeting in Laiya, Batangas to share updates and their progress on their data cleansing activities. The participants were comprised of Central Office (CO), one Regional Office (RO) and seven Division Offices (DO). The DOs were from the National Capital Region or NCR, Muntinlupa, Makati, Mandaluyong, Pasay, Manila and Navotas. 

The Philippines-Australia Public Financial Management Program (PFMP) is providing technical assistance to DepED in its data cleansing activities. High quality data is critical for the effective management of DepED, the government’s largest spending agency. The monthly meetings are an opportunity for the different offices to share experiences and challenges in terms of using the prescribed systems, implementing new, improved practices, and improving the general quality of their data and information being reported. 

“We want to break out of the cycle of constant arrears month in and month out,” said PFMP Adviser Paul Seeds. “We need to change the way we approach our work by looking at our data, and making sure it’s of good quality. Are we processing the data on a daily basis? To preserve the idea of data integrity and reconciliation, we need to make it our goal to use the eFRS (enhanced Financial Reporting System) and eBMS (enhanced Budget Monitoring System) fully, to process transactions  on a daily basis and undertake reporting through the systems if we are to realise the full benefits,” he added. 

Seeds added that using eFRS and eBMS aims to eliminate mistakes and redundancy in the data capture.  Currently, eFRs and eBMS are only used partially throughout DepED. Many offices are still using manual spreadsheets which can be both time consuming and inefficient.  Furthermore, where the systems are being used, in their current state, consolidation of data is undertaken using labour intensive "cut and paste" methods in manual spreadsheets, and combined reports such as the Budget and Financial Accountability Reports (BFARs) have to be produced manually as there are no system linkages currently.  

For most of the DOs, there has been incremental progress, as they noted some challenges like delayed bank statements and unresolved e-banking issues as hampering their efforts to produce clean and reliable data. However, the Navotas Division Office has been a consistent good performer, as it does a daily capture of its transactions.

Navotas and Makati Division accountants highlighted how by using the systems fully and adopting the incremental process and practice improvements, they were now realising the efficiency benefits (as well as improved quality of reporting) and actually saving time each month in terms of their transaction processing. This in turn has allowed them more time to devote to analytical tasks to further improve the quality of reporting. 

PFMP IT Advisor Ulrich Uy urged the participants to do a daily backup of their financial reports, and a weekly backup of their databases. “It only takes 20 seconds to back up your data. You need to do this because you will have to rebuild your database again once it’s lost. You need to take ownership of the data,” he said. 

PFMP is working closely with DepED to enhance the architecture of existing Financial Management Systems, and rolling out data cleansing activities to all remaining regions, along with upgrading business processes. 

 

 

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