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					To paint a picture
Sketching a Classic
  Foreword
   • The First Stroke (PS)                                  2
   • The Right Touches (AG)                                 4
  About AGD                                                 6
  Our Mission                                               8
  Our Vision
  Our Values
  Our Quality Policy                                         9

A Base of Competencies
  Leading People                                            14
  Managing Systems                                          24
  Delighting Customers                                      30
  Accolades for Our Efforts                                 37

Building Vibrant Colour
  Expanding into Asset & Liability Management               40
  Ensuring the Integrity of Government Accounting Systems   43
  Presenting the Facts                                      46
  Championing Benchmarks for Financial Processes            50

Adding Individual Strokes
  Breaking New Ground                                       58
  Where Love Abounds                                        60
  Learning All Around                                       62

A Future of Highlights
  Lead                                                      67
  Speed                                                     68
  Differentiate                                             69
          Sketching a Classic
   A true master paints a classic that transcends time.

We are motivated to paint a legacy, inspired by our vision
            and a tested palette of values.
    Foreword by The Permanent Secretary (Finance)
    Mr Lim Siong Guan



    The First Stroke
    AGD has aptly likened its organisational excellence journey to
    the creation of a classic. A classic endures the test of time.
    AGD therefore takes meticulous care to build and maintain a
    strong foundation for the long term. It also seizes opportunities
    and carves niches to move up the value curve. Taken together,
    these propel AGD to spin success from success.

    AGD has journeyed from a plain canvas to a painting of
    highlights. In its journey, it sketched its vision, laid its foundation
    and delivered vibrant colours. To realise its vision, AGD built a
    foundation of good work systems and committed, competent
    people. The vibrant colours can be seen in the expansion of
    its portfolio – from a focus on traditional and statutory roles to
    a wide repertoire of value-adding and unconventional roles.

                                         On the surface, AGD’s choice of an art theme seems out
                                         of place. After all, few would associate the free flowing
                                         expression and disorderly nature of art with accounting, a rules-
                                         based profession that focuses on sure numbers and facts.
                                         Yet, look beneath the first layer of paint and you will find that
                                         they have much in common. Like creating art, AGD demands
                                         of its people, mastery of techniques, inspiration, an ability to
                                         conceptualise, attention to details, experimentation, personal
                                         flair and graciousness to accept constructive criticism.




2
Like early Impressionists who were radicals that broke the
rules of academic painting, AGD dares to be different and is
ever willing to experiment with the unknown. This adds vitality
to the AGD composition. AGD also successfully married
innovative and softer touches to an otherwise rules-driven
profession, which allowed it to lead and stand out.

AGD’s journey to being a classical masterpiece is not quite
finished. Yet, with a strong foundation of people, systems and
processes and a good track record of vibrant colours, I am
confident of AGD achieving that final masterful outcome. It is
a confidence that springs from what I have seen of AGD on
its journey, a journey of people filled with energy, enthusiasm,
pride, determination and inspiration to be the best they can be
in all they do, and all they can do.




                                                                   3
    Foreword by The Accountant-General
    Ms Chua Geok Wah



    The Right Touches
    This work of art is dedicated to our PS, Mr Lim Siong Guan,



                                                                      ”
    on his retirement. We, in AGD, are greatly indebted to him
    for his continual guidance and for the many opportunities
    he has created for the Department. In this special work of
    art, we have tried to capture the spirit of the lessons Mr Lim
    has taught us, the opportunities he has created for us and
    the challenges he has inspired us to meet. It does not do
    justice to what Mr Lim has done for us in the past eight years.
    However, the alternative of not making an attempt at it would
    have meant that we have failed at learning from Mr Lim.

    Mr Lim is a great teacher. He teaches by telling engaging,
    wide-ranging stories from children’s tales, lyrics of



                                                                                           ”
    contemporary songs and poems to personal anecdotes.
    These are not mere ordinary tales: they embody lessons
    on governance, leadership and management. You will find
    some of these enriching stories in this tribute.

                                     We have also benefited greatly from Mr Lim, who is the
                                     principal architect of Public Service for the 21st Century
                                     (PS 21), in our quest for organisational excellence. Mr Lim has
                                     shown us the way to develop organisational and people capacity,
                                     where the creativity of the people may be unleashed and
                                     their energy harnessed, so that the Public Service will always
                                     be in time for the future. AGD today is vastly different and
                                     much richer in terms of People, Systems and Customers. Our
                                     strong base of competencies is affirmed by various accolades
                                     – ISO9001:2000, People Developer Standard, Singapore Quality
                                     Class, Singapore Service Class, HEALTH Award (Gold) and MOF
                                     Special Achievement Award.




4
The AGD portfolio has also grown in both depth and breadth.
We owe this to Mr Lim’s encouragement to take on new
challenges, be it in the implementation of Resource
Accounting, the setting of accounting standards for statutory
boards, the adoption of the ’Central Landlord’ role, or the
fulfilling of the seemingly conflicting role of internal auditor.
Even in our statutory role areas, he exhorts us to question the
status quo and outdated practices. Each journey is different
but we can always count on him for support when we need
it, and for uplifting celebrations when there are successes.
AGD’s roles have been dramatically transformed, making us
a choice employer with exciting job challenges that keep our
people engaged.

                                  Mr Lim, thank you for helping us to achieve so much, to
                                  accomplish the unimaginable and for leaving us stronger.
                                  You can count on us to continue to fuel the fires you have
                                  started and to make this work of art a classical masterpiece
                                  that endures the test of time.




                                                                                                 5
    About AGD
    AGD is a department under the Ministry of Finance (MOF). The
    Department supports the Accountant-General to fulfil statutory
    duties under the Constitution, the Financial Procedure Act and
    other legislative statutes. It also works in close cooperation with
    MOF and public sector agencies to raise the quality of financial
    administration in the Public Sector. The functions of AGD include:




                                                         Setting Accounting Standards, Policies
                                                         & Practices
                                                         The Department sets accounting standards,
                                                         policies and practices for compliance by
                                                         ministries and statutory boards.


    Formulating Accounting, Financial &
    Reserves Policies
    The Department formulates, reviews and
    advises on financial, accounting and reserves
    related policies and principles.




                                                         Protecting the Reserves
                                                         The Accountant-General reports on the
                                                         reserves position to the President and
                                                         informs the President of any proposed
                                                         transaction that is likely to draw on past
    Preparing Government Financial Statements            reserves.
    The Department prepares the Government
    Financial Statements for auditing and
    presentation to the Parliament by the
    Minister for Finance, and spearheads the
    implementation of Resource Accounting in
    the Government.



6
Ensuring the Integrity of Government
Accounting Systems
We design and implement policies and
controls for the Government’s financial and
accounting systems, for example, NFS@Gov,
which provides budgeting, accounting
and financial management services, and
PaC@Gov, which handles payroll and claims,
to ensure the integrity of government
accounting systems.




                                              Monitoring Government Borrowings
                                              We monitor the Government’s borrowings,
                                              through the Singapore Government
Monitoring Financial Returns from
                                              Securities (SGS) and Special Singapore
Government Assets
                                              Government Securities (SSGS), and the
We monitor financial returns from the
                                              cost of the borrowings.
Government’s financial investments and from
the Government’s Land & Buildings portfolio
in our role as ‘Central Landlord’.




                                              Building Financial Competencies
                                              We help to build up financial competencies
                                              in the Public Sector by providing training,
                                              assistance and support.
Managing Government Funds & Cashflow
We manage the Government’s cash, receipts
and payments to suppliers, employees and
pensioners.




                                              Developing Leadership for the Accounting
                                              Profession Scheme of Service
                                              We manage the professional and career
Raising Corporate Governance                  development of accountants in the ministries
We help to raise corporate governance         and statutory boards under the Accounting
in the Public Sector by providing auditing    Profession Scheme of Service.
and assurance services to ministries and
statutory boards.
                                                                                             7
    Our Mission
    To support the Ministry of Finance in advancing the well-
    being and development of Singapore through the delivery of
    excellent accounting and financial services to the Singapore
    Public Service.




    Our Vision
    To be the choice provider of accounting and financial services to
    the Public Service.




                                Our Corporate Values
                                In AGD, we are guided by a common set of values, I-CITE:



                                for Integrity – Honesty, trustworthiness and reliability in all things




                                for Caring – Respecting and caring for each other as persons




                                for Innovative – There is always a better way




                                for Team – Together is better than alone




                                for Excellence – Being the best we can be; doing the best we can




8
Our Quality Policy




  Anticipate change
to always be in time
       for the future
                        AGD
                        Go for service,
                           quality and
                            innovation
                                          Develop our people for
                                          excellence, initiative
                                          and creativity




                                                                   9
       A Base of Competencies
   A base coat of colour forms a masterpiece’s background.

We applied a foundation of colours that equips us to anticipate,
                welcome and execute change.
     Let’s Play Rugby!
     What is the difference between a relay race and a rugby
     match? In both cases, you win only if you work together
     as a team, but the ways the teams win are different.

     In a relay race, the lanes of the teams and running order
     of the sprinters are fixed. The coach chooses the best
     runners who can pass the baton smoothly and play is set.
     Each runner trains to do his best for his part of the relay.
     Until his turn, he is inactive.

     In a rugby match, it is less straightforward. The match is
     constantly changing. A player is active with or without the
     ball. While a coach can try to coordinate the movement of
     his players, he cannot anticipate every event during the
     match. With the coach’s instructions in mind, a player’s
     movement is also dependent on the direction, height and
     speed of the ball and the position of his team-mates and
     opponents. He must further take into consideration the
     relative positions of the touchlines within which he must
     play and the goal line he wants to reach. The player must
     juggle all these factors in his mind, and in a split second,
     make his move. He must be physically fit, skilful and
     mentally alert to be ready for action any time.


                                  Lesson: We should look at ourselves more and more as members of a
                                  rugby team rather than runners in a relay. Know the mission of our
                                  Ministry, just as a rugby player knows the purpose of the game. Be
                                  alert to what goes on around you. Do what you can to achieve the goals.
                                  Attend training courses. Learn by doing. Take initiative. Be creative.
                                  Exercise your imagination. Dare to try. Look for improvements. This
                                  is not a relay of the best runners. It is a rugby game where everyone
                                  works together to score a goal by himself or herself, or by assisting a
                                  team-mate.

                                  Mr Lim Siong Guan,
                                  ‘A Line for You’ in Challenge,
                                  Vol. 6, No. 1, 2000




12
In the face of continuous change and to always be prepared
for the future, AGD manages change to its advantage. Like the
rugby match, events in our fluid and dynamic environment are
difficult to predict. Following clearly-demarcated organisational
lines, adhering strictly to plans, re-cycling tried and tested
ways and relying on management alone for decision-making
no longer work in an unpredictable environment.

We act as proactive rugby players within a team, to manage
and take advantage of unforeseeable events. This puts us
firmly in charge of our destiny. We have built a strong base of
people and systems that not only delights customers, but also
serves as a firm foundation to advance our future ambitions.




             leading      People
                                             managing         Systems
                     delighting       Customers



                                                                        13
     leading   People

      Wear Big Shoes
      Many of us would remember our childhood days when
      our parents could only afford to buy us a new pair of
      shoes that was expected to last for a few years. They
      would buy over-sized shoes and then stuff the front of
      the shoes with cotton wool. The additional space at the
      front of our shoes was for our feet to grow.



                                    Lesson: Over-sized shoes are like big jobs. Big jobs give us room to
                                    grow. They allow us to fulfil our potential. A job that fits perfectly
                                    will prevent us from developing our talent. The more challenges we
                                    undertake, the more our abilities develop and the more we learn. We
                                    should always ask for shoes that are bigger than our feet and use the
                                    challenges of our job to grow!

                                    Lim Siong Guan,
                                    ‘A Line for You’ in Challenge,
                                    Vol. 6, No. 10, 2000




                                  We want everyone to realise his or her full potential in every
                                  situation. To bring out the best in our staff, we offer our people
                                  fitness, challenge and recognition opportunities through our
                                  Staff Well-Being (SWB) and human resource efforts. We also
                                  encourage our staff to actively contribute to the community.
                                  At the same time, we work as a team, improving on the ways
                                  that we interact with one another.

                                  We energise our people to be self-driven and help them to
                                  fully develop their abilities, potential and personal standards
                                  through the continuous learning and development, and
                                  continuous enterprise initiatives.




14
Fitness, Challenge, Recognition
We encourage our people to keep themselves mentally,
physically and emotionally fit. We make it a point to recognise
our staff’s achievements as they achieve each small step.




                                                                    Geared up for a match.


Free eye screening for staff.




Learning the art of fencing.


                                 Game to learn tennis.


                                 •   Fitness: In terms of fitness, we are not only concerned with
                                     our people’s physical but also their mental and emotional
                                     health. The monthly AGD Healthy Activity (AHA) Day is
                                     conducted to encourage staff to engage in healthy and
                                     challenging sport. Health talks and screenings are also
                                     organised regularly to promote a healthy lifestyle.




                                                                                                    15
     Reaching for greater heights.



                                            Ready, get set, go!


                                            •   Challenge: In the office, we test our people with interesting
                                                and meaningful work that has room for personal
                                                development. Out of the office, we challenge our people
                                                through sporting competitions like the JP Morgan Chase
                                                run, public service games and the Singapore Institute of
                                                Management (SIM) National Management Competition.

                                                                          •   Recognition: We say “Thank
                                                                              you for a job well done” in
                                                                              tangible and intangible ways.
                                                                              Staff events like the annual
     Fun and games at the                                                     year-end bash along with
     year-end bash.                                                           birthday gifts are little tokens
                                                                              of appreciation to our people
                                                                              for their dedication. The family
                                                                              members of our staff also
                                                                              get involved in our activities
                                                                              through Family Day.




               Strengthening bonds at the
               corporate retreat.




16
Community Involvement
We like to see our people take on an active role in the community
and provide avenues for them to lend their expertise to community
initiatives.

We support aspirations to contribute towards social causes and help
the less able with the following initiatives:




                           Project iCARE                                     SHARE Programme
                   Where we help fulfil wishes of                   Where staff contribute a portion of their
                 terminally ill children in conjunction                salaries to the Community Chest
                    with Make-A-Wish Foundation




            Partnership                                                                          Giving Help
   Where we join forces with                                                                  Where staff offer
universities to donate spare laptops                                                       accounting services to
          to needy students                                                            Voluntary Welfare Organisations




                                                Environmental Awareness
                                   Where we create an awareness of the need to keep our
                                          environment clean and green by reusing,
                                                 recycling and reducing




                                                                                                                         17
     Team
     Team is one of AGD’s core values. Everyone in the team is
     important and each member’s contributions are valued. We
     celebrate diversity in our people instead of conformity. By
     synergising unique talents and efforts amongst our people,
     we are able to achieve things that cannot be accomplished
     by individuals alone.

     AGD is like an open family, where members are always ready
     to talk to one another and to share information and ideas.
     Our people focus on department-wide interests instead
     of just our own work areas. Our holistic approach enables
     us to overcome challenges that no longer fall neatly along
     organisational lines.




                                    New knowledge, insights and the cross-fertilisation of
                                    ideas can only come about with cross-boundary interaction.
                                    For example, by working together, the Salaries & Pensions
                                    branch found that it could leverage on the Vendors@Gov
                                    portal – already put in place by the Accounts Payable branch
                                    – to reach out to private medical practitioners who render
                                    medical services to civil servants, pensioners and their
                                    dependants without having to develop another system
                                    from scratch. Work Improvement Teams (WITs) and other
                                    SWB activities help to build social friendships, which set
                                    the stage for collaborations at work. Initiatives like cross-
                                    branch WITs projects, ad-hoc project teams and knowledge
                                    sharing forums further reinforce teamwork.




18
Continuous Learning and Development
The learning never stops in AGD. Much emphasis is placed on
personal learning and development. This emphasis ensures
our people are well-equipped to carry out their jobs efficiently
and effectively.

• Induction Course: Covers the basics about AGD, MOF and
  the civil service, essential skills (writing and presentation)   Induction course for new AGD staff.
  and team building.

• Training Road Map: Maps out basic, intermediate and
  advanced training for every staff at each point of his or
  her career.

• Accountants’ Exchange: Regular sessions are conducted
  for ministry accountants to keep abreast of the latest
  developments in the accounting and finance industry.
                                                                   Accountants’ Exchange.
• ALL Day: Monthly AGD Learning day for all staff.

• AGD Staff Meeting: Covers competency tests, group-
  based discussions on financial reporting standards, and
  discussions on case studies and journal articles over a
  wide spectrum.

• Self-Improvement: Learning Sessions (via lunch-time
  talks or emails) on proficiency skills, such as information
  technology (for example, Microsoft Excel, Lotus Notes
  and Audit Command Language) and English tips, which              AGD ALL Day.
  are led by our in-house subject matter experts.




                                                                                                         19
     Keeping abreast of international accounting standards.            Auditing the London High Commission.

     To bring out the versatility of our staff, we have initiated a
     job rotation scheme and continuously encourage our people
     to spend 15 per cent of their time on matters not related
     to their core work. To this end, our staff invest their time in
     Public Service (PS 21) Committees, ad-hoc project teams
     and various committees, short-term project assignments,
     and in professional upgrading. We are proud to say that our
     people welcome such exposures as opportunities to grow
     and develop.

     For organisational learning, we maintain close connectivity
     with our stakeholders and constantly analyse our environment
     to adapt and incorporate best practices from local and world-
     class organisations. Besides learning from the local and
                                                                       Encouraging staff to explore their
     international contexts, we also diligently identify potential
                                                                       creativity.
     opportunities and threats. Our stakeholders’ feedback,
     competitive intelligence and comparative studies ensure
     that we remain relevant and constantly upgrade ourselves to
     exceed expectations.




20
Continuous Enterprise
In AGD, our people always seek better ways of doing things.
Change is seen as an opportunity for growth and new ideas
are embraced with enthusiasm. We often act as change
agents, making changes in areas that count. We believe that
the greatest failure is the failure to try. As such, we promote
a culture that encourages experimentation with new ideas
and at the same time, provide staff with resources to do so.
To reinforce this message, Learning Err-wards are given out
                                                                       Our Idea-Box, where staff suggestions
to the best efforts that were unfortunately unsuccessful. As           are stored.
the Chinese proverb“失败乃是成功之母”goes, we treat
every mistake as a learning opportunity.

Our people are empowered to initiate change through WITs
and the Staff Suggestion Scheme (SSS). We have responded
particularly well to these initiatives. With full staff involvement,
AGD harnesses the collective energy, wisdom and creativity
to drive the Department forward.
                                                                       Giving out the Best Staff Suggestion
                                                                       Award for the month.
Staff Suggestion Scheme
In AGD, no idea is too small. Everyone is encouraged to
question the status quo as many of the practices, rules
and processes, which were sound at the time they were
introduced, might have become outdated and irrelevant.
SSS empowers everyone in AGD, irrespective of rank, to
contribute ideas for a better Public Service.

AGD believes people contribute ideas in the hope of seeing
them being implemented. Rejected suggestions are sent
to senior management to reassess if they can be modified.
In the rare instances where ideas are rejected because
they are ahead of their time, the reasons are explained to
the staff. These ideas are then stored in the Idea-Box for
future sponsorship.




                                                                                                               21
                                                                        Best WITs Project Award given out
                                                                        during MOF Productivity Day, 2004.




     Work Improvement Teams
     When people get together, ideas grow, people learn, things
     happen and good results come out of teamwork. WITs
     provide our people with the opportunity to contribute ideas
     and take necessary action that they believe will improve the
     performance of their branch, department, ministry or the
     public sector. Our people try to find cheaper, better and faster   Winning the Best Department for SSS
     ways to do things.                                                 and WITs Award in MOF, in 2001.

     Awards
     Awards are given to recognise staff for their efforts in WITs
     and SSS:
     • Best Staff Suggestion Award
     • Most Creative Idea Award
     • High Savings Award                                               Winning the Best Department for SSS
                                                                        and WITs Award in MOF, in 2004.
     • SSS King/Queen Award for the individual with the highest
       number of SSS contributions for the year
     • Best WITs Project Award
     • Best WITs Leader and Facilitator Award.
     • Overseas Learning Journey Award for the most outstanding
       WITs

                                                                        Receiving the Special Achievement
                                                                        Award for winning the Best Department
                                                                        for SSS and WITs Award in MOF for ten
                                                                        consecutive years, in 2005



22
                               SSS Statistics for FY2005



9                       6                                  0.85
10.38                   7.08                               0.92



        SSS Ratio                   Quality SSS Ratio             SSS Implementation Ratio

                                                                                       Target
                                                                                       Actual

                               WITs Statistics for FY2005



           4                                  3
           4.9                                4.9



                    Project Ratio                       Quality Project Ratio
                                                                                       Target
                                                                                       Actual




                          Exceeding targets for WITs and SSS.




                                                                                                23
     managing     Systems

      Look. No Fence.
      Some travellers in Holland noticed that there were many cows in open unfenced fields.
      Surprisingly, the cows did not try to move out of the fields. A Dutchman explained that
      when a cow is young, the farmer puts its legs into cold water. The cow does not like
      it, and remembers from that time on not to walk into cold water. The travellers looked
      at the fields again and this time, they noticed that the fields had water around them.
      However, the water was very shallow and the cows could easily walk through them.
      Yet, because of their experience with cold water when young, the cows kept away.




                                     Lesson: When we first started work, we were told to do things in
                                     certain ways. We were also told not to do certain things. We should
                                     re-visit those instructions. Do not simply accept rules without asking
                                     for their reason. If the reason is no longer sound, change the rules or
                                     even better, get rid of the rules. Think about the way we do our work.
                                     Is the method still good for today? Is there a better approach? Are
                                     there better ways to use our time and energy?

                                     Mr Lim Siong Guan,
                                     ‘A Line for You’ in Challenge,
                                     Vol. 9, No. 6, 2003




24
Setbacks or unpleasant experiences do not stop our people
from crossing open fields. We engage in step improvement
efforts, cut red tape solutions, harness information technology
initiatives and economy improvements to make significant
leaps in our work processes.

We build robust systems that move us ahead of the value
curve, respond proactively to changes and attain high
standards. We constantly refine and manage our systems and
procedures to anticipate changes. Once we set our sights, we
move strategically towards it, seizing each new opportunity
along the way.



Step Improvement Efforts
How do we make our processes faster, smoother and better?
These are questions that constantly occupy our minds. With
each improved work process, we move a notch up to higher
levels of work efficiency. AGD adopts a two-tiered approach
to process improvements – bottom-up through WITs and SSS;
and top-down through organisational review initiatives.




                          9001:200                                One of the first steps
                      ISO          0                              taken was to simplify,
                                                                  standardise and improve
                                                                  the documentation of our
                                                                  processes. We achieved
                         Organisational                           the ISO 9001 certification
                              Review                              (a family of standards
                            • Six Sigma
                          • Cut Red Tape                          and quality management
                           • Harness IT                           systems) in 2000, and ISO
                       • Step Improvement                         9001 certification again
                                                                  in 2005. This laid the
                       Operational Review
                          • WITs, SSS                             ground work for future
                                                                  improvements.




                                                                                               25
     Six Sigma Projects
     Six Sigma is a methodology used to manage process variations
     that cause defects, defined as unacceptable deviation from
     the desired quality; and to systematically work towards the
     elimination of those defects. We introduced Six Sigma to
     achieve our goal of zero defects in important areas.

     To date, we have one certified black belt staff, who
     oversees the execution of Six Sigma projects in AGD by our
     four certified green belts staff. Assisted by subject matter
     experts in various branches, we have completed a total of
     15 projects, with 12 projects in progress. We highlight two
     completed projects:

                                    • Improving the Response Time of Helpdesk Queries:
                                      AGD maintains an online website, AGD Helpdesk-ONE,
                                      where our customers can submit queries on AGD systems
                                      or policies. Previously, AGD could only resolve 80 per cent
                                      of logged queries within three days. We used the Six Sigma
                                      methodology to isolate and work out the key root causes
                                      for the delayed responses. As a result, we are now able
                                      to resolve more than 90 per cent of the queries within
                                      three days, and this includes the time taken to seek further
                                      clarification where queries are unclear, and to check with
                                      our IT vendors on system issues.

                                    • Reducing the Rejection Rate of E-mail Notifications of
                                      Pay Advice: Civil servants can access their monthly pay
                                      advice by logging into PaC@Gov, or opting for e-mail and
                                      SMS notifications. In the past, 10 per cent of the pay advice
                                      sent via e-mail was unsuccessfully delivered. This could be
                                      due to reasons such as incorrect e-mail addresses or e-mail
                                      boxes being full. After applying the Six Sigma methodology,
                                      the causes leading to unsuccessful deliveries were identified
                                      and the rejection rate was reduced to 3 per cent.




26
Cut Red Tape Solutions
The Cut Red Tape movement aims to cut bureaucratic rules
and regulations.

To signal top management’s commitment to the Cut Red Tape
movement, POWER (Public Officers Working on Eliminating
Red Tape) sessions are held periodically by the Permanent
Secretary (Finance) and the Accountant-General, to provide a
channel for our staff to surface red tape situations to senior
management for prompt resolution.

We also have various on-going initiatives, such as TRIM (To
Review Instruction Manual) and Rules Review, to periodically
review all our rules and internal guidelines to ensure that they
are pro-business and allow for greater operational flexibility.
Our guiding principle is to cut down on the volume of rules
to focus on critical ones, while at the same time, re-work the
rules to be less prescriptive in nature.




                                 We always look for innovative ways to cut red tape for
                                 businesses by exploring means to simplify rules and form
                                 filling. The major businesses that we target are the vendors
                                 who supply goods and services to the Government. To make
                                 our interfaces with them more business friendly, we leverage
                                 technology as well as adopt a risk-based approach.

                                 The move towards electronic payments, electronic invoices,
                                 automated bank account validation for Inter-Bank Giro
                                 applications, and the launch of the Vendors@Gov website (a
                                 one-stop, centralised vendor website for government-vendor
                                 transactions) have reduced form filling, payment processing
                                 time and manual paper flows.

                                 Another avenue to cut red tape is through tie-ups with other
                                 government agencies to obtain data. This cuts down on form
                                 filling and the need for businesses to submit supporting
                                 documents to multiple government agencies.



                                                                                                27
     Harnessing Information Technology Initiatives
     We leverage information technology and the Internet to make
     our processes increasingly paperless, accurate and efficient,
     improve the availability of our systems and achieve a higher
     electronic payment rate. Our initiatives include:




                                                      Cashless
     Paperless                                        All payments are made
     Electronic Invoice (e-Invoice)                   electronically to our vendors.
     System – moving towards
     electronic, rather than hard
     copy invoices from our
     vendors.



                                                                      24/7 Access
                  Do More with Less                                   View pay records and make
                  Computer-based exception                            claims anytime, anywhere
                  rules that comb through                             with PaC@Gov on the
                  all transactions to surface                         Internet.
                  anomalous non-compliances as
                  opposed to manual reviews.




                                                                      Block Billing System
                                                                      Consolidation and straight-
                Improved Accuracy & Efficiency                        through processing of high-
                Validation of bank account details before             volume utilities and medical
                payment to build a robust and efficient               bills from all government
                payment system.                                       agencies.




28
Economy Improvements
We manage our systems for standards, innovation and
economy. Standards of service must be clearly defined
in terms of quantity, quality and time. Innovation refers to
a new way of seeing and doing. Economy is cost, benefit,
effectiveness and efficiency all rolled into the question: “What
is the most that I can get out from these resources?”

To drive economy improvements, MOF has introduced
various financial initiatives such as:

•   Block budgeting to grant ministries maximal discretion
    within pre-determined spending limits to achieve their
    desired outcomes. This is complemented with the
    Re-investment Fund to re-allocate fiscal resources to
    meet evolving priorities across the Government.

•   Economy Drive and Best Sourcing practices promote
    active sourcing for cost efficiency savings.

•   Resource Management to raise ministries’ awareness
    of their total costs to achieve optimal management
    and utilisation of resources. Being a member of the
    Resource Management Working Group, AGD provides
    policy inputs to shape the standards and the policies. In
    addition, AGD also drives one of the three pillars of the
    Resource Management framework, namely Resource
    Accounting.

AGD is an organisation that embraces positive change. By
being an early adopter of initiatives such as those listed
above, we are able to reap the rewards early and move
swiftly ahead.




                                                                   29
     delighting      Customers

      Does the Suit Fit?
      A man walked into a store and tried on a suit. Though he
      generally liked the way the suit looked on him in the mirror,
      it appeared to be longer on one side. The tailor reassured
      him, “Just hold the shorter end down with your left hand
      and no one will ever notice.” When the man did this, he
      found that the other side of the coat curled up. The tailor
      then said, “That’s nothing. Just turn your head a little and
      you will find that it will flatten out.” As he did this, the man
      found one of his pants’ legs a little short. The tailor then
      said, “Just pull the pants down a little with your right hand,
      and everything will be perfect.”

      The customer liked the suit a lot so he bought it even though
      he could only wear it properly by using his left hand, head
      and right hand as the tailor had advised. Can you imagine
      how he looked? He would have to walk as though he is
      crippled. People may say he has a beautiful suit, but there is
      something wrong with either his body or his brain.


                                          Lesson: Do we treat our customers like the way the tailor treated
                                          his customer? Our customers have a need. We say this is what
                                          our rules allow. This is all that he can get – no more and no
                                          less. He leaves disappointed. We say he does not understand our
                                          problems. He says we are unreasonable, unthinking and mindless
                                          bureaucrats. Let us re-write the story. The customer is the man in
                                          the story. We are the tailor. Let us re-do the suit to meet his needs
                                          as much as possible.

                                          Mr Lim Siong Guan,
                                          ‘Permanent Secretary’s Message’
                                          in News@MOF, No. 6, 2002




30
At AGD, we go beyond satisfying our customers. We seek
to delight our customers. We actively seek feedback and
consult our customers on the style and type of suits that they
would like to have. With their views in mind, we try to tailor-
make our customers’ suits to fit them perfectly and introduce
new designs and touches to exceed their expectations. As an
affirmation of our dedication to customer service, AGD was
recently awarded the Singapore Service Class award.

In AGD, we aim to nurture an attitude of service excellence
by increasing quality service awareness, fostering an
environment of service orientation and instilling a greater
sense of service excellence.



Increasing Quality Service Awareness
To raise quality service awareness, e-mails, log-on screens,
games and quizzes are used. We seek to promote CARE
values in our people:




for Courtesy: Not only what you do, but how you do it.



for Accessibility: Where and when the service is available.




for Responsiveness: When you do it, and do it in time.



for Effectiveness: Whether you meet the customer’s
needs and expectations – reliable, predictable and
helpful.




                                                                  31
     Fostering an Environment of Service Orientation

     Service Guaranteed!
     Service standards are set for both internal and external customers
     to motivate our people to uphold high performance standards and
     be service oriented. As a statement of our commitment to deliver
     excellent service where it matters, we have gone beyond service
     standards and set service guarantees for the services that we provide
     to our customers.

     Complaints Resolved!
     Upon receipt, complaints are promptly sent to our Quality Service
     Manager for immediate attention and resolution. In addition to making
     an apology, rectifying the problem and ensuring follow-up to achieve
     proper closure, internally, we document all incidents and share the
     learning points amongst all staff.

                             Customers Satisfied!
                             Our customers used to have to call the relevant officers-in-charge
                             to make an inquiry. With staff movement and the speed with which
                             new policies are being introduced, we needed a better way to handle
                             inquiries so that our customers would not be unnecessarily redirected
                             and inconvenienced.

                             AGD Helpdesk-ONE, a centralised helpdesk system, was introduced
                             in 2003 to better serve our customers’ queries, suggestions and
                             complaints. Behind the scenes, transparent to our customers, is a
                             built-in automated work flow that monitors and facilitates the routing
                             and resolution of customer queries in a speedy and effective manner
                             to ensure service standards are met.




                                                                      Our centralised helpdesk system,
                                                                      AGD Helpdesk-ONE.


32
   The speed with which I received a reply is world-class. Good show!
                                                                  Jimmy Chua
                                                        Ministry of Foreign Affairs




   I must compliment all who worked very hard behind the scene for this
   feedback system. All my queries were answered within the same day, if
   not, the next day. Really appreciate it! :-)
                                                                     Keith Koh
                                                             Ministry of Education




Satisfaction Level with Helpdesk Services



        7%                                  13%
        Very Satisfied                      Very Satisfied



        87%                                 82%
        Satisfied                           Satisfied




 2004                               2005




                                                                                      33
     Feedback Acted Upon!
     To provide better service, we need to better understand our
     customers’ needs and expectations, which may change over
     time. As such, we engage them through various channels
     – surveys, focus groups, site visits and meetings – to
     gather feedback.

     Customer satisfaction surveys are regularly carried out to
     poll our customers on how they feel about AGD’s policies,
     systems and services. Additionally, every customer who logs
     into the AGD Helpdesk will be asked to rate the quality of the
     service rendered.

     The feedback has helped us to improve our systems and
     provide quality customer service. To thank our customers
     who provided good feedback, we extend tokens along with
     letters of appreciation from our Quality Service Manager.


           Satisfaction Level with NFS@Gov                  Satisfaction Level with PaC@Gov


                   3%
                   Very Satisfied          12%
                                           Very Satisfied
                                                                   25%                     34%
                                                                   Very Satisfied          Very Satisfied
                   93%                     86%
                   Satisfied               Satisfied



                                                                   62%                     61%
                                                                   Satisfied               Satisfied




            2004                    2005                    2004                    2005




34
                                            Our surveys are complemented with site visits from our
                                            management team to ministries and statutory boards. We try
                                            to build rapport and obtain first-hand customer comments.
                                            There is active consultation with our customers on policies,
                                            rules, system changes and services, through focus groups
                                            and discussion forums.

                                            The same goes for our regulatory policies. We actively
                                            consult our customers and stakeholders to ensure that
                                            our policies would be more robust and well received. Draft
                                            circulars are issued for consultation first, before the formal
                                            issuance of policies, which would have benefited from
                                            constructive feedback.

Site visits to our customers.               When ministries and statutory boards write in to request
                                            for waivers or deviations from the rules, we look at how
                                            best their objectives can be met, without compromising on
                                            controls. Reflectively, we also review whether our rules need
                                            to be changed. If we are unable to accede to the request, we
                                            will explain the rationale to them. We want our customers to
                                            know that we are trying to delight them within the bounds of
                                            our authority and mission.



                                            Instilling a Greater Sense of
                                            Service Excellence
                                            To guide our people in providing excellent service, targets are
                                            set to translate intangible objectives into tangible objectives
                                            On top of this, to motivate our people to strive towards
                                            greater heights in service excellence, stretch targets are set.
                                            We give due credit and recognition to those who go beyond
                                            their job scope and have provided exemplary service to their
                                            customers through the quarterly AGD Quality Service Award
                                            and the Star Award. Compliments received are shared during
                                            monthly staff meetings.


Recognising quality service in our staff.




                                                                                                              35
     Delighted Customers
     Great service comes from the heart. We serve our
     customers with professionalism and passion. It takes a
     little effort to go that extra mile and to give our customers
     a personalised touch.
                                     Dear Wei Ren and team, thanks for your understanding and assistance in
                                     retrieving the information for us on a short notice. I really appreciate it.
                                                                                                      Francis Tan
                                                                                         National University Hospital



                                     I would like to commend Ms Patricia Chiang for her great sense of
                                     professionalism and excellent customer service in her work. She was
                                     very patient and showed positive attitude in helping me with my queries.

                                                                                                          Jeff Lau
                                                                                              Changi Seasports Club



                                     I would like to take this opportunity to praise Mrs Hoo Koon Lee for her
                                     commendable performance in helping us to resolve an issue to clear our
                                     payments during the year-end peak. She went the extra mile to identify the
                                     source of the problem for us and worked late to process the change after
                                     we had sent the request to her.
                                                                                                  Low Sock Fen
                                                                                            Ministry of Home Affairs


     Great service is also found internally. One of the ways that
     we encourage and show appreciation to our colleagues is
     by posting compliments on the Compliment Tree, our online
     notice board.
                                     I was trying to scan a document but just could not get the light-coloured
                                     images to appear in the scanned document. While I was trying out all the
                                     options available, Bernard walked by and helped me. Thanks a lot for your
                                     assistance, Bernard.
                                                                                       Faridah Abdul Rahman,
                                                                                              Security Administrator


                                     Valencia always helps me in all areas of my work. Whenever I need advice
                                     or a listening ear, sometimes on work that is beyond her call of duty, she
                                     would still try to understand and assist me. She’s a valuable team member
                                     in the company and I’m proud to have her as my colleague.
                                                                                                      Kirby Chua
                                                                                       Customer Relationship Officer


                                     I was unable to log on to my secure mail and it was after office hours.
                                     Although Margaret was about to leave, she helped me solve the problem
                                     even though it was not within her work scope. I was really grateful for
                                     her help.
                                                                                                  Lim Sze Hwee
                                                                                                   Finance Executive




36
Accolades For Our Efforts
In 2001, we won the Public Service Award for Organisational
Excellence, an award that is extended to organisations that
attain key milestones in organisational excellence, namely
ISO 9001, People Developer Standard and Singapore Quality
Class certifications. In 2005, AGD received the MOF Special
Achievement Award. More recently, in 2006, we won the
Singapore Service Class award and Helping Employees
Achieve Lifetime Health (HEALTH) (Gold) award.

Even with all these awards and certifications, we will venture
into more vibrant pastures as we keep on growing and
developing. For the coming year, we will continue to strive for
organisational excellence and will be applying for Singapore
Innovation Class certification.




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                                                                                                                              37
         Building Vibrant Colours
     Vibrant colours bring depth and character to an art piece.

As we move up the value curve, our roles are enriched with vibrant,
                value-added touches and scope.
     Our base of competencies serves as firm ground to take on a broader spectrum of roles and
     responsibilities. We try to move away from red oceans, or saturated markets. Instead, we
     swim towards blue oceans, or undiscovered and uncontested market space with tremendous
     growth opportunities.

     We are no longer a traditional accounting department steeped in regulatory roles. We have
     transformed ourselves by taking on new roles, and reinvented how we fulfil our existing roles.




     Expanding into Asset &
     Liability Management
     The tight fiscal environment compels public sector agencies to be
     more astute in financial management. As such, we strive to extract
     optimal value from Government’s assets and to keep a close watch
     on liabilities. Increasingly, our role has expanded from financial asset
     management to encompass physical asset management, and from
     being an administrator to an asset manager.



     Gaining Healthy Returns on Assets
     There are three major asset classes under our care – Financial
     Investments, Cash and Land & Buildings. We constantly seek ways
     to improve their returns to the Government.

     We help oversee financial investments and manage the Government‘s
     funds and cash balances. The Government’s cash balances are
     centrally pooled to achieve economies of scale in management. Over
     the years, we have worked with ministries to reduce their petty cash
     balances through innovative payment procedures, such as weekly
     reimbursements of staff claims and just-in-time cash transfers.
     Base interest charges have been imposed since 2002 to encourage
     ministries to reduce petty cash balances.




40
Role Expansion from Financial Asset to Physical
Asset Management
AGD’s asset management portfolio has expanded beyond financial
assets to encompass physical assets – Land & Buildings (L&B).

In 2004, AGD formed a project team to look into how ministries and
statutory boards could optimise space usage and how the Government
could optimise returns from its huge portfolio of L&B. As a layman
with limited exposure in the area of real estate, AGD was the unlikely
candidate for the job. However, the excitement of the project spurred
us to take on the challenge to assume the ‘Central Landlord’ role.

The number of AGD staff who expressed interest in the project
surprised us, as this was a project with no clear directions. It was like
piecing together a jigsaw puzzle, except that the final picture was not
known to any one of us.

With our ‘can-do’ attitude and willingness to wear over-sized shoes,
we accepted the challenge. We have learnt so much. The new role is
a welcomed addition to our colourful portfolio in the blue ocean.

                         As we continue to learn on-the-job and grow in our ‘Central Landlord’
                         role, we proactively seek new ways to work towards our mandate, to
                         improve resource management in the Public Sector.

                         We are evaluating space proposals for office and community facilities
                         for ministries and statutory boards through our involvement in the
                         Committee on Office Relocation and the Community Facilities
                         Co-ordination Committee.




                                                                                                 41
     We are considering the use of other fiscal tools, such as reservation
     charges for the safeguarding of sites and a framework to govern
     surplus properties returned to the State for land banking. We are also
     refining imputed rentals, and cost and space norms.

     Concurrently, we are working with the Singapore Land Authority
     (SLA) to develop a centralised L&B database system to support
     effective property management – space, vacancy and building
     cost management.



     Keeping a Close Watch on Liabilities
     Government liabilities mainly comprise borrowings through Singapore
     Government Securities, Central Provident Fund (CPF) borrowings and
     pension liability.

     For Singapore Government Securities, we take on a number of tasks,
     including the administration of the Government Securities Act and
     making sure that the issuance of securities is within approved limits.
     At the same time, the funds raised are also assets which need to be
     managed.

     Increasingly, we view ourselves as an asset manager to question
     how best to ensure adequate returns on the funds raised through the
     issuance of securities.




42
Ensuring the Integrity of
Government Accounting
Systems
The Accountant-General is responsible for the supervision and
administration of the Government’s accounting system, including
financial and accounting records and procedures for the receipt,
custody, investment, safe-keeping and payment of public moneys (as
stipulated by Section 2B of the Financial Procedure Act), as well as
the administration of several legislative statutes and sections of the
Government Instruction Manual. The importance of this role is often
taken for granted but must never be understated. As the custodian of
the nation’s finances, adherence to the highest standards of integrity
provides the basis of trust.




                        A Change in Focus: Less Regulator, More Facilitator
                        Over the years, AGD has re-invented how we perform our regulatory
                        role. Our focus is no longer on transaction processing for the
                        Government’s accounting system. Instead, we examined the fences,
                        or the old rules and ways of doing things and redesigned them to
                        focus more on macro management.

                        Increasingly, instead of being a controller or regulator, we now act
                        more as a facilitator and nurturer. We macro-manage by focusing on
                        critical control points – setting rules and standards, building controls
                        into system design, administering security access and maintaining
                        shared databases.

                        We also provide tools to ministries to help them to better manage
                        control issues. For example, computer-based tools are used to develop
                        a full suite of exception reports that surface possible anomalous
                        transactions. The finance directors of the various ministries can now
                        follow up on these reports and investigate marked transactions.




                                                                                                   43
     People can potentially be the weakest link in financial management.
     Therefore, we decided to nurture and improve the financial
     competencies of finance officers. Since 2002, all financial system
     users are required to pass the e-Learning proficiency tests before they
     are granted system User-IDs. In 2005, we updated the e-Learning
     course materials and raised the passing bar for the proficiency test
     from 75 per cent to 80 per cent.

     To complement the e-Learning course, the ministries’ finance officers
     have to rate their self-compliance against the controls spelt out in
     the Government Instruction Manual annually via the SAS@Gov (Self-
     Assessment System). This serves not only as a refresher of the control
     provisions to officers but also provides channels for self-critique and
     examination, so that gap closure plans can be undertaken.

     Going forward, we will act more as a convenor and aggregator, with
     ministries taking charge of control issues by creating forums for them
     to share best practices with one another.



                             Providing Assurance: From Recruitment Services to
                             Assurance Services
                             As the Public Service pushes ahead with rapid changes, encourages
                             innovation and experimentation and is under pressure to do more with
                             less resources, we need to be vigilant about the risks and threats to
                             our financial systems.

                             Ministries maintain and develop corporate governance primarily
                             through their internal audit functions. Therefore, we helped ministries
                             to recruit key personnel to head the internal audit functions, and
                             organised roundtable sessions for them to share best practices.
                             Today, all ministries have established internal audit functions.

                             The ministries’ internal auditors actively interact with senior
                             management,        providing     constructive    and   value-adding
                             recommendations on a wide range of issues. They are also increasingly
                             focused on ‘preventive audit’ measures like risk management as part
                             of strategic planning, control self-assessment and user awareness
                             and training. Such measures encourage officers to assimilate risk and
                             control considerations into policy-making and operations.




44
The previous ‘business model’ to recruit good staff for the ministries’
internal audit functions worked well when the internal audit functions
were primarily focused on financial compliance audits. Over time,
the scope of internal audit functions broadened to cover business
re-engineering, value-for-money, post-mortem, policy implementation
and information technology security reviews. Such a myriad of reviews
demand people with multiple and diverse competencies.

Today, we have therefore embraced a services model where
subject matter experts are assigned on a project basis for complex
reviews for ministries. This model not only results in better job-
matches and greater flexibility to the ministries, it also provides
AGD officers with job variety and exposure, which our officers
enthusiastically embrace.


                                                 In fact, the entire process of providing
                                                 auditing and assurance services for each
                                                 client was akin to setting up a business. In
                                                 addition to our accustomed professional
                                                 work, we also have to undertake account
                                                 management – knowing our client’s business,
                                                 billing and accounts, customer relationship
                                                 management, etc.

                                                 The initial learning curve was steep, but we
                                                 now have the infrastructure and a ready pool of
                                                 people to take on more clients, assignments
                                                 and consultancy services beyond assurance
                                                 services.

                                                 Our service model has received positive
                                                 feedback. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs
                                                 first approached us in September 2004 for
                                                 internal audit services. Our good work has
                                                 spread by word of mouth, and our clientele
                                                 has expanded to include the Ministry
                                                 of Transport (July 2005), Public Service
                                                 Division (December 2005) and Workforce
                                                 Development Agency (April 2006).




                                                                                                   45
     Presenting the Facts
     Where financial reporting is concerned, accuracy and timeliness are
     the key basics. The question is: how can we go beyond these basics
     and exceed expectations?

     AGD prepares various financial reports regularly. The reports include
     the Government Financial Statements for Parliament and fiscal sector
     statistics for local and international agencies, such as the International
     Monetary Fund.

     In addition, the Accountant-General is entrusted with the duty under
     Article 148G of the Constitution to inform the President of any
     proposed transaction by the Government that would likely draw on
     past reserves.

     We also help to shape the principles and administrative guidelines for
     the reserves framework, and provide advice on reserves implications
     of various government initiatives.


                                                     Focusing on Financial Analysis
                                                     We have shifted our emphasis from financial
                                                     reporting to financial analysis. AGD has a wealth
                                                     of financial and transactional data on hand. Our
                                                     people also have an affinity for seeing patterns
                                                     and issues in details. By marrying these two
                                                     core assets together, we are able to devise new
                                                     value-adding reports and financial analyses that
                                                     support MOF and ministries.




46
                        By integrating financial information from various sources, such as
                        the Government Financial Statements, reserves statement and
                        resource accounts across public sector agencies, more holistic
                        information and analyses are made available to support prompt
                        decision-making.

                        Beyond the ministries, we also analyse the financial statements of
                        statutory boards to help MOF right size their capital structures. We
                        also help statutory boards to derive higher yields from their cash
                        holdings and financial investments by recommending ways to better
                        manage their accumulated surpluses.

                        Additionally, we analyse transactional data to highlight possible
                        control issues, such as timeliness in accounting for collections and
                        cheque payments. AGD also performs targeted analyses to address
                        control lapses highlighted by the Public Accounts Committee, such as
                        unclaimed monies and late payments.



Reflecting Full Costs & Full Resources
Since 1999, in addition to cash accounting, which focuses on the
inflow and outflow of cash, the ministries have started preparing
resource accounts.

Resource Accounting applies accrual accounting principles and full
cost adjustments to reflect the full cost of operations and the full
resources of an organisation. Ministries are then able to manage their
resources better and make more informed decisions.

AGD formulated the Resource Accounting standards and
policies for the ministries. With the implementation of Resource
Accounting in the ministries, we have acquired considerable
expertise in accrual accounting.




                                                                                               47
     The journey to get the ministries’ resource accounts to a ‘true and
     fair’ state was an arduous process. Undaunted, we supported the
     ministries by beefing up their accounting expertise through the
     provision of accountants, helpdesk support and assistance. Our
     financial system, NFS@Gov was also upgraded to support the dual
     bases of accounting – cash and resource. Automations are constantly
     sought and implemented to reduce manual effort.

     Public accounting firms are also commissioned to undertake audits
     to provide independent and expert review of the ministries’ resource
     accounts.




                            Becoming the Standards Setter for Statutory Boards
                            To position Singapore as a key business and financial centre, the
                            Council on Corporate Disclosure and Governance (CCDG) was formed
                            in August 2002 to prescribe accounting standards. This gives investors
                            the confidence that the financial statements of local companies are in
                            accordance with internationally accepted accounting standards.

                            Given the public interest and accountability owed by the Public
                            Sector to the people, AGD strives to ensure that public sector
                            standards keep pace with private sector developments. We actively
                            monitor developments in commercial standards and the accounting
                            environment of countries at the forefront of public sector accounting
                            for ideas.

                            In January 2003, Financial Reporting Standards (FRS) superseded the
                            Statement of Accounting Standards (SAS) in the private sector for
                            accounting standards. This presented two questions for the statutory
                            boards: who should set the standards, and what standards should be
                            adopted?




48
AGD has therefore stepped in to fill this void to play the role of
standards setter for statutory boards. This role has been fraught
with challenges. First, we had to match the rapid pace in which
exposure drafts on the FRS were issued. The time challenges were
further complicated by the fact that FRS were issued primarily for
profit-oriented entities and thus could not be adopted wholesale.

In response to the demands, we accelerated our competency
building. We sought advice from universities and the profession.
We continually monitor pronouncements by the CCDG and the
International Accounting Standards Boards (IASB) to ensure
that we are constantly updated on the latest developments in
accounting standards.


                       As timeliness is of the essence, we have developed a consultation
                       process akin to that adopted by the CCDG, such as a website to invite
                       comments to exposure drafts and pro-active consultation with key
                       stakeholders. The public sector standards are issued at about the
                       same time as the corresponding issuance by the CCDG.

                       Being the standards setter for statutory boards has not only expanded
                       our roles, but also added accrual accounting expertise to our portfolio
                       of competencies. Our people are now dexterous at both public and
                       private sector accounting standards.




                                                                                                 49
     Championing Benchmarks
     for Financial Processes
     AGD strives to set the national standard for financial processes.
     The Department’s initiatives are implemented throughout the
     Government, the largest employer and corporate customer in Singapore.

     We have bucked the trend of decentralisation and kept to a
     centralised model to achieve economies of scale and to mobilise
     the civil service to move swiftly to industry-breaking standards. We
     have harnessed information technology to bring about quantum
     leap improvements, and created a single public interface for
     external parties interacting across various government agencies.
     Like a master tailor, we restructured a better suit, to achieve a
     better fit for our customers.

     Although our financial systems were developed for ministries,
     statutory boards have opted to use them too. The statutory boards are
     the National Environment Agency, Civil Service College, Workforce
     Development Agency, School Examinations & Assessment Board,
     Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority, and Competition
     Commission of Singapore.



                             Cashless, Paperless
                             Ministries have attained a high electronic payments rate even though
                             cash and cheque payments are still widely used by other private sector
                             agencies. All staff payrolls and 99.5 per cent of vendor payments are
                             made electronically.

                             We are also moving towards a paperless environment. The
                             Government processes thousands of invoices that amount to millions
                             of dollars every month. As far back as 1999, AGD streamlined
                             financial processes to enable online payment approval.

                             AGD has now taken the bold and innovative move to further cut paper
                             flow by introducing electronic invoices to replace hard copies. The
                             e-Invoice system is expected to bring about great benefits in terms
                             of time and effort saved in payment processing as well as greater
                             accuracy, transparency and convenience for all parties involved.




50
Anytime, Anywhere
In 2000, AGD moved ambitiously to
implement Do-It-Yourself staff claims in
PaC@Gov (Pay and Claims system), as
well as sample checking for claims. It led
to quantum improvements in efficiency
gains and customer satisfaction. After
that massive exercise, we did not take a
hiatus, but continued to search within our
department for the next breakthrough.

                                               Our Internet-enabled Pay and Claims System, PaC@Gov.

                      We searched for our next target and zoomed in on hard copy
                      pay slips. We used to dispatch more than 60,000 hard copy pay
                      advices to government agencies monthly. Payslips are now sent
                      electronically via e-mail and SMS notification.

                      In line with the e-Government initiative and to cater to civil servants
                      who might not be able to access the Government’s Intranet, we
                      moved PaC@Gov onto the Internet in 2006. PaC@Gov was enhanced
                      to allow officers to log in to check their pay details and submit claims
                      when travelling overseas and in the comfort of their own homes
                      anytime, anywhere.




                                                                                                      51
     Hassle-Free
     The Do-It-Yourself mode was extended to
     other AGD services to speed up processing
     time and improve access to information.

     AGD’s effort in this regard is epitomised by
     our user-friendly Vendors@Gov website for
     vendors to interact and transact with the
     Government. More than 30,000 government
     vendors can enjoy great convenience in using
     its various e-services – from the enquiry of
     payment status to the updating of particulars
     such as bank account information.
                                                      Vendors@Gov - One-stop website for government vendors.

                             Embedded in Vendors@Gov are two value-adding innovations:

                             • Bank Account Validation System: Previously, vendors had to
                               make a personal trip to their banks for the banks to verify that their
                               bank accounts’ details are correct in their GIRO application forms.
                               To make it hassle-free, we worked with banks and government
                               agencies such as the Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority
                               (ACRA) and the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) to
                               automate the validation of vendors’ bank accounts. This win-
                               win solution has saved much time and effort for multiple parties
                               – vendors, banks, ministries and AGD. More than 95 per cent of
                               the government vendors make use of this facility.

                             • Updating of Vendor Particulars Automated: Previously, whenever
                               vendors changed addresses, they had to notify an AGD officer, who
                               would then update the records accordingly in NFS@Gov. This was
                               in addition to notifying ACRA of their change of address. To make
                               it hassle-free, starting from 2006, we have established interfaces
                               with ACRA’s records so vendors need not have to notify multiple
                               agencies.




52
Delegate to Concentrate
AGD is its worst critic. We relentlessly and rigorously scrutinise our
processes to see where we can fare better. Acknowledging that we
should focus on the core processes, and tap on external expertise
for the non-core areas, we embarked on a best sourcing initiative,
critically examining whether the outsourcing of certain processes
would give us the best value-for-money without compromising our
core abilities.

The downstream benefit of outsourcing non-core related work is
that our people are able to progress onto higher value-adding jobs.
Application maintenance, facility management, end-user support
and data centre services have been outsourced. We will continue to
evaluate our workflows and processes to identify non-core areas that
can be outsourced so that we may concentrate on delivering more
value in our core processes to our stakeholders.




                                                                         53
Adding Individual Strokes
    Fine, select brush strokes bring detail and
           sophistication to a painting.

The individual strokes of AGD’s people bring depth
         and character to the Department.
     AGD is truly alive because of its people – us.

     We, the staff, are not just instrumental to the successful
     realisation of AGD’s vision and goals. We actively help to set
     goals and build its – and our – character. In this section, we
     present you with our views on what it means to be part of
     the Department.

     As we expand into new areas of work, we need to be, and are,
     increasingly diverse. Looking around the workplace, it is easy
     to observe our many contributions to the Department, from
     our enthusiastic participation in improving work processes
     to our initiatives in giving back to the less fortunate in
     the community.




56
Breaking      New Ground
                      Where     Love Abounds
      Learning All Around
We clearly leave our beautiful and elegant individual strokes
on the Department. We use talent and a can-do attitude to
overcome challenges, show care and concern from the heart,
and share and exchange knowledge freely. When we come
together, it is a hotbed of infectious energy, creative ideas,
passionate research and spirited teamwork. We take on tasks
committed to make a difference where it matters.

It is comforting to know that we can always rely on each other
for support yesterday, today and tomorrow. Each individual’s
personal touch is meaningful to us.




                                                                 57
     Breaking New Ground
     Working in AGD is exciting and full of surprises, and is not for
     the faint-hearted. We brim with energy, passion and enterprise.
     There is never a dull moment for us – we constantly break
     new ground. There are job rotations, and opportunities for
     involvement in projects outside of our core job functions. The
     workplace and the Department constantly undergo renewal
     and change.




     Due to the variety of our job assignments,         AGD – A Great Department packed with
     every internal auditor in AGD is not only an       challenges and innovative spirit has made
     audit specialist, but also a deep generalist       me grow each day. Every day begins with
     familiar with various projects and policy          an adventurous ride that motivates me to
     issues across the entire Public Service. The       strive for improvements. AGD is indeed a
     standards expected are sky-high but AGD-           challenging place that keeps me going.
     Internal Audit always manages to rise to the
     occasion!                                          Seow Xiu Zhen
                                                        Statutory Accounts Officer

     Koh Kian Hon
     Internal Auditor




58
                              One of the most challenging projects that I did was the
                              organisation of the annual Corporate Retreat. The fact that
                              this was not in my normal scope of work presented an
                              even bigger challenge for me. However, with support and
                              guidance from my supervisors and colleagues, I was able
                              to pull it off.

                              Leow Chee Khiang
                              Manager (Finance & Office Services)




Being new to the civil service, I had not              The main challenge I faced was adapting to
been exposed to the public sector’s                    the working conditions here. In my previous
accounting systems. I had to grapple                   job I managed a few subordinates of similar
with two, instead of one ledger – cash                 background. Here though, I manage several
and accrual. Such a unique accounting                  staff with different educational levels and
environment has enriched my knowledge                  backgrounds. Fortunately, I am able to talk
and work experience.                                   to more experienced supervisors who are
                                                       always willing to guide me.
Colin Sim
Management Accounts Officer
                                                       Cheryln Han
                                                       Head (Advisory Services)




                                                                                                     59
     Where Love Abounds
     It is true that we set exacting work standards. It is equally true
     that we reach these exacting standards with a lot of heart and
     by supporting one another with care and concern. Beyond
     work, we also help one another realise personal aspirations
     and support one another when we are feeling down and out.




     There's lots of care shown among                    I had a minor surgery sometime
     colleagues. My colleagues and                       back and before my operation, my
     supervisors are always willing to                   colleagues kept sms-ing me jokes
     give me a helping hand whenever                     and encouragement to put me at
     they see that I am overwhelmed                      ease. After I returned to work two
     with work. This means a lot to me.                  weeks later, many of my colleagues
                                                         showed care and concern by asking
     June Lee
     Manager (Human Resource)                            me about my operation. I was
                                                         extremely touched to know that so
                                                         many people cared.

                                                         Faridah Abdul Rahman
                                                         Security Administrator




60
There was an occasion when I                               Knowing that I’ll be getting married
fell sick and had to fly off to New                        in a few months, a few of my
York to work the following day. My                         colleagues volunteered to help me
colleagues showed their concern                            with my wedding preparations! It
by asking if I had seen a doctor and                       is amazing how helpful the people
even ‘chased’ me home to have                              here can be.
a good rest. I was very touched
and felt that AGD really built                             Daniel Kuan
                                                           Accountant (Payment/Policies/Systems)
relationships that bring out cheer
when we’re down and out.

He Qitian
Assistant Director (Assets)




                                       My buddy offered informal and friendly support
                                       and advice on numerous occasions. My new
                                       colleagues are always ready to provide their
                                       kind assistance whenever I need them, and
                                       help me settle and adjust to my new working
                                       environment. I am grateful to everybody for
                                       their care and concern during my first few
                                       days at work.

                                       Poon Wai Kwok
                                       Financial Analyst




                                                                                                   61
     Learning All Around
     Staying stagnant is something that is alien to us. Our culture
     actively promotes the growth and development of individuals.
     We are presented with diverse opportunities to learn and
     stretch our wings. Lessons are taught in many ways, ranging
     from structured training courses to casual conversations with
     our leaders, who are ever so willing to teach. There are also
     ample training opportunities. With each new lesson that we
     learn, we grow stronger and stand taller.




        I cherish the invaluable opportunity             In the few months since I joined AGD,
        to learn from key leaders like                   I have learnt more things than I ever
        Permanent Secretary of Finance,                  did in school. The work environment
        Mr Lim and Accountant-General,                   in AGD emphasises both quality and
        Ms Chua. They provide newcomers                  speed, and to deliver on both counts
        like me with wide exposure and                   for the numerous projects that I have
        learned perspectives.                            worked on was not easy. But the fruits
                                                         of labour are always more gratifying,
        Aileen Tay                                       the harder you have to work for it. I
        Internal Auditor
                                                         tasted them, so I know.

                                                         Jeremy Low
                                                         Accountant (Payment/Policies/Systems)




62
Over the years, I have had the                   The Chinese proverb, 活到老, 学到老
opportunity to experience the                    really applies here. AGD emphasises
development and implementation                   continuous learning, be it professional
of systems which are used                        competency, systems knowledge or
across various ministries. Such                  managerial skills. The Department
exposure has certainly expanded                  invests generously in the training of our
my technical knowledge.                          people, which also contributes towards
                                                 our lifelong learning and employability.
Hoo Koon Lee
Security Administrator
                                                 Betty Tan
                                                 Director (Treasury)




                                  I am definitely proud to be part of the AGD
                                  family where cross-team learning opportunities
                                  are ample. When I was posted to another
                                  branch, fellow colleagues were very willing
                                  to share their knowledge and help me quickly
                                  adapt to the changes in the environment.

                                  Ng Leng Leng
                                  Customer Relationship Executive




                                                                                             63
          A Future of Highlights
          The final touches bring light to a masterpiece to
                      realise its full tonal value.

        The journey to excellence is a never-ending quest.
We are confident that a future of highlights awaits over the horizon.
      Jean-Henri Fabre, the French naturalist, brought together a group of
      caterpillars onto a rim of a large flowerpot. He managed to get the first
      caterpillar connected to the last caterpillar to form a complete circle
      round the rim. To his amazement, the caterpillars slowly crawled round
      in a circle for seven days. They did not eat. They simply kept walking.
      There was a good supply of food nearby. But the food was not part of
      the circle. They refused to break out of the circle to get the food.

      Lesson: The caterpillar story emphasises the need to break out of an established
      mould to search for better fruit. Always ask: Am I doing something useful? Can I
      do better? Is there something better I can do?

      Mr Lim Siong Guan,
      ‘A Line for You’ in Challenge,
      Vol. 8, No.8, 2002




     Our strong base of competencies and good track record of vibrant
     colours embolden us to venture into and establish ourselves in more
     areas. With much accomplished and with the various transformations
     in our roles to encompass related value-adding areas, we are examining
     our vision and mission statements to more accurately inspire and
     propel us into the next lap of AGD’s history.

     Indeed, our journey does not stop and the strategic direction that we
     have chosen is to Lead, Speed & Differentiate.




66
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                                            In AGD, we lead by being prepared to
                                            capture opportunities. We lead by moving
                                            up the value curve to take on value-added
                                            roles. We lead by breaking out of the mould
                                            of a traditional accounting department
                                            to take on unconventional roles. We
                                            lead by experimenting with new ways of
                                            doing things, new technologies and new
                                            regulations. We lead by changing in good
                                            times and in good time.




                        AGD has the spirit of a daredevil: Dare to Dream, Dare to Change. I’m proud
                        to be part of that spirit.

                                                                                          Valencia Poh
                                                                                          Accounts Officer


                        AGD is always prepared and ready to venture into new areas to create
                        value for the civil service. There is no better example than the appointment
                        of AGD as the Government's ‘Central Landlord’. This is a totally new area
                        that we have never ventured into.

                                                                                           Lim Han Yee
                                                                 Assistant Director (Liabilities & Reserves)


                        I have seen many positive changes in my 34 years. Through the years, the
                        Department has consistently provided the civil service with progressive
                        accounting systems. Today, most transactions can be done online.

                                                                                       Shio Chew Yan
                                                                                  Office Services Assistant




                                                                                                               67
         �����
        �����
         �����
                        We need to always be ready to swiftly seize the first mover
                        advantage. Rather than ready, aim and fire, we need to fire
                        first and then continuously refine our initial actions according
                        to the result of our test shot.



            ����
                        Our environment is fraught with uncertainties. It is difficult to
                        get it right the first time. But, we need to seize the opportunity
                        first and then rise to the occasion as we try to establish
                        ourselves in a new area.
                 ����
                        Our strategy to move quickly is to break a seemingly
                 ����   insurmountable challenge into chunks of small tasks. The
          ����   ����   ���� then becomes less intimidating. We leverage our
                        challenge
                        network of staff in AGD and ministries and our partners,
     ���� ����   ����   who are ����
                        ���� experts in their respective fields, for information
     ���� ����   ����   ���� ����have and will continue to promote a strong
                        and advice. We
                        culture of innovation and enterprise as a base for action
     ���� ����   ����   ���� ����
                        and experimentation. To manage the risks involved in
                        speed and experimentation, our people have also learnt to
                        be more risk-savvy.




                        In AGD, speed is of the essence and the need for perfection has to be
                        accompanied by speed.
                                                                                   Ho Chang Mun
                                                                            Assistant Director (Assets)


                        Every assignment is a challenge because you deal with a new subject
                        matter every time. Hit the ground, run at full speed and aim to reach your
                        final destination.
                                                                                        Stacey Tee
                                                                           Head (Assurance Services)




68
    �����
    �����
   �����



       ����
                     We need to move out of red oceans of existing saturated
            ����
                     space to blue oceans of uncontested space with new value
            ����
                     and markets. This will keep us ahead of the competition and
     ����   ����   ����
                     be clear of markets with decreasing margins. In blue oceans,
���� ����   ����          ����
                   ���� can command a premium and find our inflexion point
                     we
���� ����   ����   ���� ���� potential and lots of room to grow. We are on a
                     with value
���� ����   ����   ���� ���� quest to find new fruit by seizing opportunities and
                     relentless
                     carving niches. We will also work towards Singapore’s blue
                     ocean – ‘World•Singapore’:

                     • Trust: Build on our strengths as a trusted reference for
                       credibility, reliability, trustworthiness, integrity, quality and
                       productivity.

                     • Knowledge: Develop our strengths as a knowledge hub
                       and networking node which is open, thought-leading,
                       enterprising and creative.

                     • Connected: Be connected in heart and mind with
                       Singaporeans – fans, family and friends.


                     In AGD, we are always pushing frontiers, exploring new grounds and
                     creating new moulds. This stems from our drive to be forward-looking and
                     different from the run-of-the-mill crowd.
                                                                                 Benjamin Tan
                                                                Organisational Excellence Executive


                     With change as a constant, the challenge is to be ready for changes and
                     seize opportunities. At AGD, one question we always ask ourselves is:
                     How can we be better and distinguish ourselves from the playing field?
                                                                                         Ivy Lim
                                                                  Director (Corporate Development)




                                                                                                      69
In our future of highlights,
every one of us sees AGD as



A
Great
Department

				
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