Case Study – FMS SunSystems
- Flexible reporting and accounting structure
- Cash and accrual accounting
- Multi-currency, multi-lingual capabilities
- Worldwide support
- Ease of use
Founded in 1944, the World Bank’s primary role is the provision of funding to projects in developing countries around the world. Today the World Bank is the world’s largest source of development assistance. Its loans are used to help developing countries to achieve stable, sustainable, and equitable growth, and to strengthen the fundamental conditions they need to attract and retain private investment.
The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and International Development Association (IDA) arms of the Bank provide funds to projects around the world. Their fundamental role is to channel the World Bank funds effectively and properly to achieve the stated purpose of the project. Critical to achieving this, and a primary condition of World Bank funding, is that a Financial Management System (FMS) is in place for every project.
The Function of the Financial Management System (FMS)
Described simply, the FMS has two primary functions for a World Bank funded project:
- to record the funds provided (or ‘disbursed’) by the Bank to the project
- to report on project expenditure in line with a pre-determined structure.
Aside from these primary functions there are a host of other requirements, which together provide a project with the same level of financial and accounting capability as most public or commercial organizations. These may include planning, budgeting, accounting, financial reporting, internal control, auditing, procurement and physical performance of the project.
Financial reporting is an essential ingredient of World Bank funded projects. In particular, project managers are required to provide periodic evidence that funds have been expended in pursuit of the project’s objectives. In addition, a regular flow of accurate reports can improve confidence and help secure the next disbursement of funding from the Bank
World Bank Project Reporting
Every World Bank project is now governed by procedures, including the standardization of the method and format of project reporting. This makes it easier for the Bank to ensure that funding is accounted for in an accurate and timely manner and is being used effectively to help those that need it most. Consequently it is essential that financial monitoring reports (FMRs) are generated by any FMS used in all new and existing World Bank projects. Without effective FMRs, the World Bank may refuse disbursement of further funds to the project concerned.
Infor FMS SunSystems and the World Bank
It is against this background that Infor FMS SunSystems worked with the World Bank to design its FMRs solution based on Infor FMS SunSystems financial management solution. Infor FMS SunSystems is already used by dozens of international World Bank projects for their financial management needs and it is also the ideal foundation on which to build a FMRs solution.
The FMRs solution comprises financial, progress and procurement reports. These reports contain a wide variety of information such as actual revenues and expenditure, planned revenues and expenditure, forecast revenues and expenditure, current and prior year data, and physical data as well as financial data. The reports, and hence the underlying accounting structure, also need to analyze the information based on World Bank defined categories of goods or services purchased, on project components and activities, on the source of funds and on the nature of expenditure. In addition, the FMRs must handle multi-currency reporting and be able to produce all this under both cash accounting and accrual accounting methods.
As a result, any Financial Management System that is used to produce the FMRs needs a powerful and flexible reporting tool, and yet must be easy to use as most World Bank projects are in developing countries where staff may not be familiar with advanced computerized systems.
This combination of qualities is embodied in the Infor FMS SunSystems reporting and information management tool, Vision Executive. Vision Executive has been developed and designed specifically for use with Infor FMS SunSystems and is fully integrated with the other Infor FMS SunSystems modules. It allows users complete flexibility to define what data is included in the report and how the report will look.
While World Bank policy prevents it from endorsing any one solution for FMRs, Infor FMS SunSystems’ close working relationship with the Bank resulted in an invitation to present its solution for Project Management Reports (PMRs), the forerunner of FMRs, at the World Bank HQ in Washington, USA. The audience comprised the members of the World Bank team responsible for devising PMRs and many Bank project financial specialists who work in the field. Reaction to the solution was overwhelmingly positive and has resulted in many follow-up communications from project staff eager to find out more
SunSystems and World Bank Projects
World Bank projects using Infor FMS SunSystems as the basis for its FMS and for the production of FMRs can expect to benefit from the following features:
- A proven software package that is already used successfully by many World Bank projects;
- A system that is available in 30 different languages, and is supported by a network of offices in more than 70 countries around the world;
- Full support for multi-currency processing, including the euro where applicable;
- A powerful, yet user friendly reporting tool with FMRs provided as standard;
- Using Vision Executive the ability to drilldown in FMRs to analyze project data from many different views, all the way down to transaction level;
- Using the ODBC capability of Vision Executive, the ability to combine data from other sources as well as Infor FMS SunSystems. This would prove useful if project staff wish to hold specialized procurement or contract data in another system such as spreadsheets or user maintained databases;
- Using Vision Executive, the ability to output FMRs in a variety of formats including hard copy printouts, as an Excel spreadsheet or as an HTML file, making electronic submission of FMRs to the Bank a straightforward process.
Overall, the real benefit for World Bank projects using the Infor FMS SunSystems ‘prepackaged’ FMRs solution is that all the hard work involved in designing the underlying accounting structure and the reporting pack has been done for you, thereby saving time and money, and leaving staff to focus on making the project a success