MSH’s Financial Management Assessment Tool Helps Strengthen Organizations
Strong financial management is critical for organizational sustainability. Specifically, efficient and effective financial management requires clear, policies and procedures that trained staff can follow in a timely manner to not only accurately record and report all financial transactions but also make sound decisions about the use of resources.
Management Sciences for Health (MSH), with funding from the US Agency for International Development, developed the Financial Management Assessment Tool (FinMAT) to meet these needs. The tool help managers assess the current financial management competence of their organizations and identify the steps they can take to improve their organizations' financial management capacity. FinMAT was upgraded in 2010 to combine elements of the original tool with QuickStart, a pre-award or pre-audit assessment tool also designed by MSH.
FinMAT helps managers of NGOs, private sector organizations or public institutions to: assess which stages of development (levels of competence) the organization has reached in managing its finances; identify changes that can be made to manage finances more effectively; make a specific action plan to implement these changes; and monitor resulting improvements.
The FinMAT tool has been applied successfully in several countries, most recently in Ethiopia in April 2010 with the HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Offices (HAPCOs) in the Amhara and Oromia regions.
Over a period of four days, multidisciplinary teams from each region examined their unit's financial management processes and capacity. Participants included not only Finance Managers and other finance personnel, but human resources staff, administration staff, program staff and Senior Managers. The two teams each identified three priority areas for capacity building. In Oromia, the areas of cash management, accounting and recordkeeping, and use of information were prioritized. In Amhara, budgeting, stock inventory and assets, and purchasing and procurement were prioritized. The HAPCO staff was pleased to have an objective tool help them identify and assess areas that need improvement.
Managing resources properly is essential to providing efficient and quality health services. When a health system and health facilities properly manage their finances they can save more lives and have a greater health impact.