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Meet the team

It is no exaggeration to say that financial statements provide a crucial source of information for any organisation in the public, private and non-profit sectors alike.

A financial statement can tell us how well or badly an organisation is managed: for example, we can see whether the organisation is thriving or shrinking, whether it generates or attracts new financial resources for development or barely struggles to pay the bills.

As well as directing the Public Policy and Management and Public Financial Management programmes at SOAS, I am qualified as a chartered accountant and accounting auditor, and have worked for both public and private sector organisations over many years. And, as I’ve learned from my early studies in Economics in Italy, my home country, through to postgraduate studies in London, financial statements are just a small part of any examination of financial management, pointing to much broader issues around how financial policy is implemented.

To help us go a little deeper in our journey into financial management, we’ve brought together an experienced team from our Centre for Financial and Management Studies, all adept at making sense of the world of public finance. Along with me, Alberto Asquer, we’ll be joined by:

  • Prof Pasquale Scaramozzino - Professor of Economics
  • Dr Ben Hardy - Senior Lecturer in Public Policy and Management
  • Dr Gary Schwarz - Senior Lecturer in Public Policy and Management

To keep track of my own comments and advice, do follow me on my profile page by clicking the ‘Follow’ button next to my name.

We also have a team of mentors from SOAS who’ll be accompanying you on the course, explaining key concepts and guiding you in your discussions, and you can follow them in the same way. This makes it easier to find advice they have given in response to queries:

How the course works

As you progress through each step, we invite you to share your thoughts and responses in the comments area. To see all the comments and to add your own on a particular step, click the pink speech bubble icon and the comments will be revealed.

You might also like to follow other course participants who have similar interests to yours so that you can learn together and share experiences. Just click the ‘Follow’ button next to their name on their profile page.

Remember you can ‘like’ other learners’ comments or reply to them to initiate a conversation. If you want to see whether anyone has replied to a comment you’ve made, just open the ‘Replies’ tab at the top of the page.

When you reach the end of a step and have understood everything, click the pink ‘Mark as Complete’ button at the bottom. This will update your progress page, and will help you to keep track of which steps you’ve done.

Meet your fellow learners

So, what brings you to this course? Have you ever seen the financial statements of the company where you work or those of a competitor? How about those of the local government where you live, or even those of the school or university where you’ve studied? Most are available to the general public online. If so, what did you find there? The devil is often in the detail.

As you think back to your own experience of financial management, or perhaps reflect on your motivations for taking this course, take a few moments to introduce yourself in the comments area. Share with your fellow learners why you think that knowing how public finance is managed is important to you.

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This article is from the free online course:

Understanding Public Financial Management: How Is Your Money Spent?

SOAS University of London

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