ABOUT: HISTORY: The TAAME initiative
Accounting and Accountability
Monitoring and Evaluation
Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) is widely used in the international relief
and development sector. It is, however, only a small part of what is needed to provide
an effective system that ensures adequate operational performance and control.
provides a somewhat broader framework for this, and
Community Impact Accountancy (CIA)
is a further logical extension of the fundamental concepts.
THE WORLD IS A MESS ... WE SHOULD BE ASHAMED!
The environment is often challenging ... but poor people operating under adversity can make very good use of modest incremental help.
The informal trading sector ... small enterprises ... represent most of the sustainable economy of Uganda and benefit substantially from increased economic activity in the community.
This child in Eastern Sudan is severely malnourished. In good times this is a harsh
environment, but with conflict the situation is made dramatically worse.
|Civil War |
Monrovia, Liberia around 1989. UN troops were too late to stop horrendous killings. The buildings in the background were occupied by the US company, Continental Seafoods in the 1970s. Whatever happened to the idea of NEVER AGAIN?
There are things we can do. Meaningful metrics about performance ... for accountability ... is
Introduction to the TVM system
People at the center of everything
The Basic Concepts of TVM ... in book format
About the old Tr-Ac-Net
About Community Accountancy from 2008
About the TAAME initiative from 2006
Tr-Ac-Net and Members from 2007
Some old text from 2000 to 2008 The old CCSD webpage from around 2006
Transparency, Accounting and Accountability, and Monitoring and Evaluation are
critical elements for performance excellence
If the reason for having an international official relief and development assistance
sector is to have development excellence, then it is very clear that there has been
a failure. There are massive amounts of data that show that poverty remains a global
crisis, and with it hunger, lack of education and opportunity and catastrophic ill-health.
The reason for transparency, accounting and accountability, and monitoring and evaluation
is to have a working framework so that scarce resources are used in the optimal way ... but
that is not what has been achieved ... at any rate up to this point.
Since the beginning of the industrial revolution there have been many improvements in
the practice of management. Some would say that in fact we should look further back to the
beginning of the mercantile era when double entry accounting made it much easier for merchant
adventurers to account to their sponsors and investors. Central to management has been a strong
core of accounting that kept financial control and provided a framework for holding the people
Certainly in the early days of the industrial revolution. science and engineering was one of the
key drivers, but there was also investment and there was accounting so that investors got their
payback, and the investments worked in large part because workers got paid. The role of accounting
and accountability was central to the success of the early industrial revolution.
While there has been a lot of excellent accountancy over the past 150 years or so, there have also
been great frauds. Accountancy can help to minimise fraud, but it will not stop fraud when everyone
wants a fraud to succeed. Good accountancy can reduce fraud a lot, but it cannot completely eliminate
fraud when there is evil intent on the part of most of the people involved.
But accountancy is only part of a complete management system. Other components are needed. The most
important component is management ... the people that are responsible for making decisions, and the
evaluation of performance. A good accounting system has little value when there is no management, or
poor management. Accounting should be objective, and accounting should be passive. The information
derived from the accounts can be useful, but its value is only realized when good decisions are made
based on this information.
Most fraud takes place in the shadows where there is little information and no transparency. With
transparency the source of use of resources is visible and the decision making can be seen. With
transparency there can be accountability, and people can be hel accountable for their performance
and the decisions being made. This is largely absent from the official relief and development
assistance (ORDA) sector, and it looks as if far too much of the global scarce resources for
ORDA initiatives have been diverted without people being held accountable.
Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E)
Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) is widely used to provide the material needed to report to
donors. It is also used instead of good accounting and management as a technique for operational
M&E does not have the elements needed to serve as a management and oversight tool. Generally M&E
is too little and too late. It may help to answere questions about how and why things went wrong,
but does not serve to stop themn going wrong in the first place.
Community Impact Accountancy (CIA)
One of Tr-Ac-Net's goals is to improve transparency, accountability and management ... and to see
a material improvement in relief and development performance. With the right leadership, this will
be relatively easy ... but even without leadership from inside the major organizations, it will
still be done, but from the outside ... by the public using performance information derived from
visible performance and records, albeit incomplete records already in the public domain.
Community Impact Accountancy (CIA) is based on a similar conceptual framework as normal corporate
accounting with its Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). The big difference is that in
the case of CIA there is accounting for all value flows rather than merely those value flows that
are based on money expenditures and money income.
There have been initiatives by economists to make some of the macro-economic data reflect more of
the human indicators, notably UNDP's Human Development Report (HDR). There have also been efforts to
incorporate some accountancy concepts into national accounts, notably the work that formed the
foundation for the UN's System of National Accounts (SNA). There have not been similar efforts
to make accountancy more relevant to society, merely an evolution of accountancy that seems, more
than anything else to serve the interests of corporate stakeholders.
CIA has a community focus, and has the structure to help understand the association in the community
between economic activities and the impact on the quality of life in the community.
The techniques used for building a framework of understanding about the community have much in
common with the techniques associated with "incomplete records" in general accountancy.
Some of the techniques that have been developed have their origin in the techniques used in
engineering to measure thermodynamic efficiency. Some of the techniques originated in process
control and hydraulics!
The goal of CIA above all else ... is for people with control of resources to be held accountable
for their decisions ... and especially, for these people to know that there is a system in place
that routinely observes performance and is showing it to the public stakeholders.
CIA certification makes it possible for investors, donors, grant-makers, and others to have
a high level of confidence the information provided by a CIA Certified organization. Reliable
information about organizations is a key element for successful investment and allocation of
resources into value adding programs in international relief and development.
CIA Certification is a response to demand for better and reliable information at low cost
and a response to performance and management issues in relief and development. The CIA
program combines the advantages of old fashioned manual accounting with the capabilities
of modern technology.
The Certification program is implemented using local professionals, business partners
and agents (“Tr-Ac-Net CIA Network”). Internet database technology and an oversight team of
accounting and M&E experts makes it possible to have excellent reliable work done at low cost.
The work is routinely subject to local peer review and the results are made a part of the Tr-Ac-Net
information database that is subject to ongoing international peer review. The Tr-Ac-Net CIA
Network also provides internal check so that all the information is systemically validated.
The Network makes it possible for small organizations to have respected financial
reporting and M&E reports that are affordable. Small and informal organizations can use
a Network service to have the needed information prepared.
Large organizations can have respected financial reporting and effective M&E for much
less cost. The CIA process makes it possible for every organization that wants to,
to meet very high information transparency standards at low cost. Tr-Ac-Net Certification
includes some elements of accounting audit to ensure the financial information is
realistic as well as addressing the issue of results achieved, and the related cost
of producing the results.
The Tr-Ac-Net database makes it possible for interested parties to find out about many
organizations very easily and identify those with high performance.
In order to expand and maintain the Tr-Ac-Net CIA Network, a training program has been
developed and is now available for qualified professionals and potential business partners
in the global south. The program uses distance education techniques as well as periodic