Cardno’s trusted leadership in funds management
Some of our first clients in the 1980s and 90s were the World Bank and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), for which we conducted worldwide efforts to implement and adopt international accounting and auditing standards and improve financial management practices of governments and their enterprises.
Cardno PFM manages a portfolio of more than US $6 billion in providing fiduciary services for: the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund), Gavi the Vaccine Alliance, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and sovereign government entities.
We have implemented nearly 400 PFM and governance activities for USAID and other donors.
In the early stages, Cardno helped Bosnia modernize the country’s accounting system by implementing a financial management information system (FIMS), done under USAID’s Public Sector Accounting Reform Project funded. In Macedonia, Cardno helped build a formal legal framework and institution, which introduced systematized accountability for accounting practices.
In Pakistan, Cardno set up a chart of accounts for the Central Bank in late 90s. Similarly, in Russia, under the World Bank, Cardno helped the newly privatized Russian enterprises in developing financial management expertise.
From the mid-90s to 2005, Cardno managed several iterations of a USAID project in the West Bank/Gaza.
The project improved three ministries’ use of accounting and auditing standards and strengthened internal controls, procurement processes, and their internal audit capacity. It also modernized the customs and excise departments.
Cardno’s efforts to improve accountability and transparency within the Palestinian Authority contributed to the Israeli Government’s decision to release more than US $600 million in frozen Palestinian tax revenues.
PFM reforms were launched in isolation without proper sequencing, and focused on implementing reforms without political will and behavioral changes. Although new reforms were implemented in 1990, they did not go far enough and eventually took a back seat due to the major economic trends unfolding in those days.
But PFM reforms began moving in a coordinated and integrated approach, owned and led by country’s government. This was the result of lessons learned and the introduction of tools that included the World Bank’s Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA), World Bank’s Reports on the Observance of Standards and Codes (ROSC) on the Accounting and Auditing, USAID’s Public Financial Management Risk Assessment Framework (PFMRAP), and country level strategy.
As more countries’ private sectors were successfully adopting international accounting and auditing standards, there were then increased efforts in improving those standards in the public sector. Cardno has also helped strengthen the accounting and auditing professions and their regulations all over the world.
On USAID’s National Capacity Development Project or “Tatweer,” in Iraq, Cardno’s PFM team helped build Iraq’s crucial Ministries of Finance, Electricity, Health, Water, and Oil by designing, developing and delivering targeted training to 5,800 civil servants on topics such as budget preparation, budget execution, medium term expenditure framework (MTEF). This was conducted during the war and recovery from 2006-2011.
Cardno provided support to the Syrian Ministry of Finance (MoF) in the field of taxation, strengthened customs rules and operations, set up new budget classification system, introduced double entry accrual bookkeeping system and performance-based budgeting, designed an Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) and provided training to the MoF staff in those areas. Cardno assisted in IFMIS implementation to modernize the financial management systems of 35 small, medium and large municipalities in the West Bank and at the Budgeting Department of the Ministry of Local Government.
Furthering our PFM diversification, Cardno started providing fiduciary services to the Global Fund and Millennium Challenge Corporation since their inception. Since 2003, Cardno has served as a Local Fund Agent (LFA) for the Global Fund in 18 countries and regions to assess grantees’ organizational capacity and oversee, verify, and report on grant performance. Cardno has served as a Procurement Agent and/or Fiscal Agent for MCC-funded Compacts in 20 countries for total value exceeding US$5 billion, since 2005.
As the Procurement Agent and Fiscal Agent, Cardno manages procurement and financial activities of the Program to ensure independence, transparency, accountability, compliance and effective implementation of MCC-funded Compacts. In 2013, Cardno was the first organization, to provide Fiduciary / Fiscal Agent services to the Global Fund. Cardno provided these services in six countries, where our teams oversaw accounting and financial management functions for multiple grant programs.
Over the years, Cardno has expanded providing similar services to grants/projects funded by Gavi, Unitaid, CDC, the World Bank, and sovereign governments. Today, Cardno is a leading and trusted provider of procurement and fiscal agent services for international agencies, minimizing the risk of fraud and corruption and making most efficient use of their funding. Building capacity of our local counterparts is an integral part of our approach and critical task in provision of fiduciary services.
“Our approach and its resulting tools have not only saved billions of dollars from fraudulent procurements and disbursements, but also enhanced the confidence and trust of the general public and contractor communities,” said Parag Shiswawala, Cardno Public Finance Management Practice Director, “thereby providing better value for money in public procurement.”
In recent years, most governments and international agencies have recognized that robust PFM systems from national to local government level are essential for the effective delivery of basic public services and that increased domestic resource mobilization is critical for achieving self-reliance and sustainable solution.
Cardno has recently completed a successful three-year program of strengthening budgeting and financial management capacity of 70 local self-government units in Georgia. Cardno generated an 80% increase in local government revenues across 68 districts by building PFM capacity, enhancing accountability and governance, and improving service delivery under the USA/Uganda’s Strengthening Decentralization for Sustainability (SDS) Program.
As a major sub-contractor on USAID’s PFM IDIQ I and II, Cardno has implemented targeted interventions in public procurement and program-based budgeting in Sri Lanka and Uganda, and recently began efforts to improve tax administration and outreach aspects in Uganda. Funded by DFAT, Cardno is currently implementing the Australian-Indonesia Partnership for Economic Development (PROSPERA) project. One of the objectives of the PROSPERA project is to increase tax revenues through improved tax administration and policy, improve public spending through better budget systems, and increase government transparency and accountability.
“We do see increased ownership and participation from each country’s government in recent years, with more engagement and genuine interest to improve their PFM systems,” Mr. Shiswawala said. “As a result, our partnership with them has resulted in more immediate and sustained results with tightened financial practices.”