1. Introduction to the Finance Management Manual

1.1 Introduction

The Financial Management and Accountability (FMA) Act and Regulations set out the fundamental principles underpinning public sector financial management and accountability.  The FMA Act and Regulations apply to all officials who perform financial tasks for the department, including people employed under the Public Service Act, locally engaged staff and contractors.

Chapter 2 of the Criminal Code applies to all offences against the Act. The FMA Act is also extra-territorial.  Copies of the FMA Act and Regulations are available in the Finance Policies and Legislation section. The Secretary’s financial delegations are available under “Delegations” on the Corporate Information Database (CID).

The FMA Act and Regulations allow agency Chief Executives to issue instructions to officials on any matter covered by the legislation and in particular for ensuring or promoting:

1.2 The Chief Executive Instructions

The Chief Executive Instructions (CEIs) outline, in broad terms, the duties and responsibilities of all officials involved in financial management in the department.  More specific detail regarding financial management is included in subordinate instructions contained in the Finance Management Manual (FMM), issued under the authority of the CEIs.

All departmental officials are required to comply with these instructions in the performance of their duties.

Other agency CEIs

The DFAT CEIs and FMM do not apply to financial tasks undertaken by other agencies. In these cases the other agency’s CEIs apply. For example, DIAC is responsible for appointing and issuing instructions to its employee to collect visa fees.

1.3 The Chief Finance Officer

The FMA Act and Regulations allow most powers and functions to be delegated by the Finance Minister, the Finance Chief Executive or the DFAT Secretary to appropriate officials.

The Secretary has delegated some responsibility for the oversight of the department's obligations under the FMA Act to the Chief Finance Officer (CFO).  These responsibilities and obligations are outlined in Part 7 of the Act and include:

The Secretary has also delegated some of these responsibilities and obligations to appropriate officials.  See Chapter 2, Delegations, Authorisations and Appointments.

1.4 The Finance Manager

The term ‘Finance Manager’ is used by the department to describe positions located at overseas missions, State and Territory Offices (STOs) and Canberra that have functional responsibility for ensuring the application of the FMA Act and Regulations at the location concerned.

The Secretary’s delegations designate various positions as Finance Managers.

Overseas Finance Managers are officials who occupy positions designated as Senior Administrative Officer in the position job description. This includes HOMs/HOPs at one A-based posts, unless the Secretary has designated that an SAO at another post to be the Finance Manager.

Australian Finance Managers include:

1.5 The Finance Management Manual

The CEIs require the CFO to issue the Finance Management Manual (FMM). The manual contains:

The manual provides guidance on the minimum level of controls and procedures required by the FMA Act and Regulations and departmental instructions and policy.

The manual contains specific instructions on a wide range of financial matters and outlines the appropriate procedures to implement these.  In other cases it is the responsibility of the Finance Manager to set in place procedures applicable to their area.  In implementing and maintaining such procedures reference should be made to other documentation relevant to the operating environment, such as the SAP Instructions and Help Cards and the DFAT Procurement Manual.

1.6 Further Advice or Assistance

If further advice or clarification is required on any matters relating to financial management, assistance should be sought from Finance Management Branch (FMB).

Any suggestions or comments on this manual are welcomed and should be emailed to Finance Management Branch (FMB) Financial Management inbox.

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