News about increasing in public spending in Brazil rarely questions the quality of expenditure, i.e. there is no debate about how much of it meets the needs of citizens. Lack of data transparency in the public sector explains why this debate is commonly limited. In other terms, low quality data and unreliable information provided by public agencies lead to a poor, or partial, debate about the increase of public expenditure.
In the last 15 years, the legal framework has been strengthened. New federal laws establishing reporting calendars and better defining the scope of reports have been approved, together with other important tools to improve data transparency in the government sector in Brazil. On the other hand, handbooks providing guidelines for a uniform accounting method applied to a uniform chart of accounts for the entire federation also play a major role in improving transparency.
In Brazil, as in other democratic societies, the aspiration for more transparency in public administration reflects the growing social demand for accounting and financial information of the public sector. That demand has been exercised not only by academia but also by public and private institutions in Brazil and abroad.
The National Treasury inaugurates Siconfi, Public Sector Accounting Information System, aiming on data collection from States e Municipalities in order to promote Data Consolidation on public sector with better data quality. The context for launching this system is highly appropriate, since it is an efficient and effective tool in the collection, processing and dissemination of government data based on a standardized and open format structure. Therefore, the launch of the system on April 2nd, 2014 opened an important channel of communication between units of the federal government and the central government, even when considering that the project, as it is today, represents only a fraction of what is yet to come.
The Siconfi design plan provides for data to be collected at a level of detail that allows the National Treasury, and also any user of the information available there, preparing reports, statements and KPIs on public finances of the various units of the federal government, aggregated or individually. In the medium term, with the proliferation of database accesses, we expect a significant improvement in the accuracy of analyses of the public sector in Brazil, and of course XBRL and XBRL GL are the key for Siconfi’s success.