inancial management encompasses all the activities within an organisation that are concerned with the use of resources and that have a financial impact. The discipline is essential for effective corporate governance and fundamental to achieving the organisation's objectives and improving its services. Recent development orientation and administrative reforms are designed to shift the system of governance from a centralized planning political system, to one that would involve the participation of all stakeholders at the area where development takes place. Sub national governments are therefore viewed as the most important facilitator of economic and social development at the grassroots. Their responsibilities hinges on sound financial resource capacity.
Financial management is not just the job of the finance executive and subordinates at the sub national level. Indeed, all functionaries and managers within a local authority are responsible for their financial circumstances, individually and collectively. Senior managers at the sub national level have to be conversant with the requirements for the efficient management of the entity’s resources.
The Msc in Local Government Financial Management is designed to stimulate creative financial management thinking and to meet the needs of participants lacking the theoretical underpinning and training required to apply financial management knowledge in practice. Its uniqueness stems from the fact that, apart from generally equipping participants with financial management principles and strategies just like any other Masters programme in financial management, it again seeks to emphasize local government issues which requires a special expertise but has been down played for a very long time in most programmes. The Institute of Local Government Studies (ILGS) as a management development institution and established under Act 647 of 2003, exists to provide management science education, training and research in local governance. This degree from ILGS is to fill the gap and produce mangers who are able to identify, analyse and derive solutions to the challenges of local authorities as well as provide implementable actions in response to emerging challenges.
Graduates of the programme should be able to initiate as well as implement policy and administrative reforms to improve local government finance, and stimulate economic and social development. This curriculum has been developed for training of senior management staff at the sub national level. It is intended to provide the candidates with the necessary skills required to plan, organize and coordinate the financial resources of the local authorities as well as execute financial policies effectively and efficiently. With the introduction of this curriculum, it is hoped that the knowledge and skills of candidates on financial management systems will be enhanced to make them more efficient in financial management practice within the scope of their operations.
Key features of the programme include ILGS’ outstanding reputation in management education in the sub region, comprehensive curriculum, diverse student body, dedicated faculty, globally networked knowledge community and the four segment programme to be covered in two (2) years.
The socioeconomic challenges of today needs executives who recognize emerging trends and respond successfully to them. The programme raises the standards of financial management knowledge and practice based on empirical research in the local government context. Candidates are equipped with the multi-disciplinary competencies required to respond effectively to the requirements of these trends and challenges.
6.0 Aims and Objectives
The aim of the programme is to provide participants with the requisite knowledge, skills and attitudes to effectively and efficiently plan, organize and coordinate the financial resources of local authorities. A holder of the Msc in Local Government Financial Management qualification will be expected to offer professional advice for good local governance.
The objectives of the programme are to equip candidates with:
- An understanding of the legal and administrative environment required to efficiently manage financial resources of local governments;
- Skills to effectively participate in the preparation of business and investment plans as well as advise the Local Government authority on appropriate methods of raising funds for capital projects;
- knowledge of strategic policy analysis and evaluation in line with financial regulations and other guidelines;
- skills to account for financial resources in cost-effective and efficient manner that facilitates effective accomplishment of the local government mandate;
- Skills to produce valuable financial information to assist decision makers in a decentralized environment as well as raising awareness on practicable and sound internal control techniques;
- To equip candidates with proficiency in Management Accounting techniques.
Entry Requirements and Target Group
Minimum entry qualification shall be as follows:
- Either a good First Degree in Accountancy, Finance, and Commerce or in any relevant discipline from any recognized university and accredited by the National Accreditation Board. OR A person with the final examination certificate of the following professional bodies: ICA (Ghana), ACCA, CIMA, CIPFA, etc.
- Subject to passing a selection interview with other lower qualifications not below the equivalent of Post Graduate Certificate in Finance with not less than three (3) years experience in management position within a local government environment.
This programme is primarily targeted at the middle and senior level management staff of sub national governments. Young professionals and mid career executives from various establishments including private companies, governmental and non-governmental organisations could be candidates for the programme.
8.0 Job Opportunities
It is envisaged that graduates of this programme shall return to their respective organisations with promising career prospects and greater confidence. Those without previous working engagements would have developed competencies to take on new professional challenges in the following capacities:
- Financial Management Policy Advisor
- Local Government Financial Expert/ Consultant
- Head of Public Finance in any financial institution
- Head of Finance in a Local Authority
- Chief Executive and Manager of a Local Authority
- Local Economic Development Advisors
Mode of Assessment
The teaching methodology shall include lectures; problem-solving exercises, case study analyses, student participation in seminars, discussions as well as independent studies. Case studies culled from current academic and business publications have been carefully selected to stimulate learning and will be used extensively. The entire programme and individual courses will also be assessed through a combination of:
- Graded Examinations
- Student Project Report and Case Studies
- Individual Study and Seminars
- Internships and Practical Attachments
- Masters Thesis
Requirements for Graduation
- Candidates shall pass all courses and obtain a minimum total credits of 43
- Candidates shall report a minimum of 4 weeks of internship duly assessed.
- Candidates shall attend and pass an oral examination on their thesis
- To pass a course, a student must obtain a minimum of 50% of the marks available and an average of 55% for all courses.
The programme is designed for completion within a period of two (2) years. There are four (4) main segments namely foundation, integration, specialization and performance segments. Each segment shall last for an average of 16 weeks and the course structure is presented in the table below.