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Tzvetan Tzvetkov, Bulgaria

Tzvetan Tzvetkov, Bulgaria

In his book “Public Internal financial Control” Robert de Koning has managed to present the overall process of transformation of the national control systems of the European countries in compliance with the PIFC concept. By following chronologically the stages in the development of the concept and by analyzing the factors and the reasons for this fundamental change, Robert de Koning demonstrates that the PIFC implementation is a process and not a single act. This is a process related not only to the harmonisation of the legislation and the institution building, but also to a mentality change and continuous training of the people involved in it. I definitely believe this is one of the outstanding merits of this book. I’m also convinced that this work will undoubtedly contribute to a better understanding and implementation of the concept in the EU. It will be most useful to the new members of the EU and also to the applicant countries as many of them are trying hard to carry out the transition from financial inspection to internal audit. At the same time, the book is a good basis for the evaluation and reconsideration of some of the PIFC elements with regard to their future development and strengthening. For me as a participant in this process, it was a real pleasure to go trough this book and to re-examine the process of adopting the PIFC concept inBulgaria. It was a process accompanied with crucial decisions and dramatic changes in its implementation especially in relation to the internal auditing. The support of Robert de Koning in this process was extremely important for us and that is why the internal auditors inBulgariarecognise Robert as one of the founders of public internal auditing.   By Tzvetan Tzvetkov Chairman of the Governing Board of the IIA-Bulgaria and Head of Internal Audit Unit of the Bulgarian National Audit Office December...

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by Bob Bonwitt

by Bob Bonwitt

Robert de Koning, Team Leader for PIFC in Unit B3 of the Directorate-General Budget of the European Commission, is very well known amongst those working alongside the EU accession process in the area of public finance, most specifically in the field of the so-called “public internal financial control (PIFC)”. The book that he has just released benefits from his now long and first-hand experience of raising awareness and negotiating this now classical concept in public administration policies with applicant countries to the EU. In many respects this book can be regarded as the “magnum opus” dedicated to this important topic. Thanks indeed to Robert de Koning (and to others in the European Commission), financial control became a strategic issue in this wave of accession. A new acronym has been created, but more important, the substance behind it has become a classic in the financial area of public administration. We are proud that Sigma was probably the first institution outside the European Commission to recognise it by publishing Robert de Koning’s seminal article in Sigma’s Public Management Forum in 1999 Thus Robert de Koning helped build a doctrine, which found its place amongst the various public administration and accountability models. It progressively filled a need that was not so obvious at the outset, since “financial control” had not been a topic as such in previous EU accession processes. Amongst the evident achievements of this doctrine, in the course of the development process that is thoroughly described in this book, it is possible to mention: The fact that semantic issues have been clarified in order to reach a common understanding of public finance terminology across country administrations of EU Member States, candidate countries, the European Commission and other European bodies, as well as the “donor community” in general. The organisation of networking activities amongst candidate countries with inputs from Member States. In that respect, the importance of the website maintained by DG-Budget as an efficient and transparent way of spreading information throughout the “PIFC community” cannot be stressed enough. The full recognition of the role of external audit. While respecting each institution’s independence and specific role, external audit is promoted as an important actor in any effective financial control system. Robert de Koning has been an engine for change, instigating various ways of promoting exchange and facilitating development and networking activities as a forum for exchange of ideas and methods in the field of government control for EU funds but also for general control of government state budgets. The only thing missing was a detailed description of the concept.  Robert de Koning’s book meets this need. It is a longitudinal survey of the development of the...

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by Darius Matusevicius, Lithuania

by Darius Matusevicius, Lithuania

I have read Mr de Koning’s book on PIFC with great interest due to its highly important topicality, harmonised approach and my working experience in the Lithuanian MoF during the entire negotiation process on Chapter 28: ‘Financial Control’ as well as in the CHU after it  was established in 2002. My general impressions include the following: It is vital that the intention of the book is not only to present the coherent historical view on the development of PIFC during 1996-2005 and to further the understanding of this enormously important subject, but also to make specific recommendations to countries that face the PIFC establishment issues and to countries that endeavour further development of the existing harmonised PIFC structures. It is particularly important to note that the issues discussed are referred to and discussed in view of the newest global developments in the best advanced practice and international standards likewise the issues that are relative to governance, internal control, internal audit, sound financial management, etc. Even more than that, the book provides tools for analysis aimed at understanding and achieving the PIFC that can be of use to all the Member States of the European Union, European institutions as well as to countries that are still in the process of PIFC development, determining the validity of the relevant reforms and promoting a harmonised approach of the best practice of public governance through the PIFC structure. The broader definition of PIFC discussed is indeed an important one, as it captures the heart of the best modern practices of governance, control and other PIFC vital issues; those that have evolved through much professional and other controversies to their current position, as a basic principle of best advanced practice and theory. This conceptualisation speaks well of the approach of the author and the insights he has developed. Darius Matusevicius, Director CHU, Ministry of Finance, Lithuania November...

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