Each year in the third week of June, the government takes Public Service Week as an opportunity to celebrate the importance of the public service. While that is no less true this year than in years past, it is increasingly difficult to hear that the public service is valued when many of us are still not being compensated properly.
We at ACFO know that FIs continue to feel the direct impacts of the Phoenix pay system debacle. We also know that we are entering a new phase of Phoenix-related challenges as the government begins to reckon with the havoc the pay system has wreaked on its financial information. Our community will have an integral role to play in reconciling and resolving these issues.
In one of the spring 2018 reports, the Auditor General noted that because of the issues with Phoenix, his office could not rely on existing internal controls to audit pay expenses and had to examine a much larger sample of transactions than in previous years, resulting in additional effort and costs.
These remarks echo some of my own concerns about undermining the integrity of government financial controls and the increased workload FIs are experiencing as a result of Phoenix.
In the months and years to come, the government will need to untangle the financial snarl created by Phoenix and it will rely on the integrity and professionalism of the FI Community to do so. This will be a challenge for our community, but it will also be an irrefutable demonstration of the tremendous value of having skilled financial management professionals within the public service.
As I said, I know this is a difficult time and that it can feel hard to celebrate, but I do hope you use Public Service Week as an opportunity to reflect on the importance of the work you do and the values you bring to it, day in and day out.
I personally am grateful to be a part of the FI Community and proud to represent you as you do incredible work in extremely challenging situations. ACFO will do our best to support and advocate for you as you navigate this new hurdle in the coming months.
Dany Richard, MBA, CPA, CMA
President and Chair of the Board of Directors
Association of Canadian Financial Officers