Bridging the Digital Divide

22 Nov 23

Mark Dewell, senior vice president at Advanced, outlines the role digital technology can play in the work of public finance professionals ahead of a summit for those professionals who want to learn more.

With falling real-term budgets in the public sector, professionals working in finance and spend management are tasked with a seemingly impossible challenge – to provide more, with less. The government has recognised that adopting digital solutions can enable more efficiency, greater productivity, and allow finance and spend management professionals to be more involved in strategic decisions based on accurate data. 

At Advanced, we believe that digital is the key to maintaining the delivery of key public services. Our finance and procurement summit, Powering the World of Work in Government is aimed at helping people understand the importance of adopting digital solutions within their own organisations.

The findings of our report  ‘Bridging the Digital Divide’ will be the subject of our live summit, and will explore some of the challenges faced by finance and procurement professionals working in local and central government organisations. The report shows that over 50% of public sector finance and spend management professionals are still carrying out manual budgeting processes – there is clearly much scope for improvement in this area.

Recognising that the sector faces an anticipated £3.2bn budget shortfall for local authorities in 2023 alongside rising energy prices and the soaring cost of doing business, our one-day summit will investigate the ways that digital transformation can help ensure continued delivery of key frontline services.

Free to public sector employees, the summit will consider the impact of the UK government’s roadmap for digital and data, ‘Transforming for a Digital Future’, published in June 2022. Its stated aim is to accelerate digital transformation of public services and to enable better data-based decision making and accountability, improving quality, timeliness and accessibility of financial data and reporting across government.

The report found that:

  •  26% of finance teams in the public sector are not using digital spend management solutions effectively, hindering their ability to deliver value for money to the taxpayer.

  •  32.3% are still using manual processes for the often-complex activity of supplier management, limiting the power of their spending budgets.

  • 47.7% are doing manual forecasting and 41.5% are still producing reports manually, taking up valuable time that could be spent on higher-value tasks.

  •  32.3% are not confident that their finance and spend data is up to date, demonstrating the need for Cloud-based solutions that provide access to accurate data in real time.

  • 35.4% have trouble accessing data when they need it, putting up barriers to efficiency and productivity while also creating a frustrating working environment for professionals.

The summit will look at ways to align finance and procurement strategies with organisational goals. Experts will give their views on how to foster innovation and collaboration, with key points of consideration and experience of lessons learnt when developing a cultural shift. 

Chaired by journalist and former BBC presenter Denise Mahoney, the day will start with a panel of experts from CIPFA, the National Audit Office, and SOCITM. In the afternoon there will be a number of roundtable sessions.

Powering the World of Work in Government will be held on Thuesday, 29 November in the State Rooms & Rooftop Terrace at 30 Euston Square, London, NW1 2FB. Registration is now open.

  • Mark Dewell

    Senior vice president, education, government & social housing at Advanced

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