Indonesia: New System to Improve Financial Spending and Accountability

February 22, 2016

  • Indonesia has launched a new government financial management information system to better manage the country’s finances, known by its Indonesian language acronym, SPAN.
  • SPAN now manages the financial transactions of over 24,000 government spending units across the country.
  • The new system improves efficiency, transparency and accountability, and has helped improve budget planning and spending.

Jakarta, Indonesia, February 22, 2016 – What cannot be measured, cannot be managed – so the saying goes.  This motto for management also applies, and is even more critical, to a country’s finances. Eager to strengthen its public sector infrastructure, in April 2015 Indonesia launched a new financial management system that it hopes can usher in more efficiency, transparency and accountability. 

Known by its Indonesian acronym SPAN, the new system is being touted as “sophisticated and modern for the future” by Said Askolani, Director General for Budgeting at the Ministry of Finance.

SPAN is an automated treasury payment and budget preparation information system. The system’s functionality is impressive: it can validate government financial transaction data, control government commitments, support the implementation of accrual-based accounting, and help produce real-time financial reports.

President Joko Widodo endorses the initiative launched at the Presidential Palace last year. 

“We can now monitor budgeting activities and cash flows of all ministries. We must account for every single Rupiah,” said the President, echoing Indonesia’s commitment to improved government accountability. 

SPAN is now also linked to the country’s commercial banking IT infrastructure, which modernizes the government’s cash management process. It is expected not only to facilitate the preparation of a unified national budget and control budget execution, but also provide timely information on the government’s financial position.

" We can now monitor budgeting activities and cash flows of all ministries. We must account for every single Rupiah. "

President Joko Widodo

Public financial management reform journey

The development of SPAN started in 2009, under the World Bank-financed Government Financial Management and Revenue Administration Project, with complementary support from a multi-donor trust fund established at the World Bank with funds contributed by the European Union and governments of Canada, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the US. The Ministry of Finance then spent four years developing the system. It is now fully integrated, replacing more rudimentary, stand-alone systems that were often developed in-house. 

Since piloting in 2014, SPAN has rolled out to 222 locations, including 181 treasury branch offices, 33 provincial treasury offices, and eight treasury headquarter directorate units across Indonesia. The roll-out was completed in February 2015. SPAN now manages 100% of all financial transactions of over 24,000 government spending units across Indonesia.

With the system now in place, results can be seen nationally. During an international conference in November 2015, Minister of Finance Bambang Brodjonegoro said, “There has been improvements in the quality of budget preparations by ministries, with the help from a now unified budget.” Broader results are anticipated in the coming months. 

A key milestone for the strengthening of Indonesia’s public financial management, SPAN takes Indonesia one step closer to achieving its target of collecting more and spending better.