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Public Administration and Budgeting



Introduction

Public budgeting is closely related to the entire aspect of public administration. It is very intricate especially in the contemporary society to separate the two aspects. In an article, “Reforms for Improved Efficiency in Public Budgeting and Finance”, Mikesell & Mullins (2011) describe the diverse ways in which public finances ought to be ethically used to bring a complete overhaul in the modern society. This paper discusses the application of public budgeting in public administration activities. Besides, it relates the concept to public service organizations.

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Significance of Public Budgeting

Public budgeting is an imperative component in any country’s financial transactions. It is a process by which the scarce resources are allocated to multiple sectors of developing the society. Just like any other field, public budgeting requires inculcating ethical norms. Technical expertise, professionalism, and neutral competence are some of budgeting norms. However, there have been heightened expectations due to over budgeting over the last half-century. The biggest challenge is how the budget will be delivered to the public. Implementation of budget faces challenges such as gross misappropriation of funds as well as being susceptible to theft (Mikesell & Mullins, 2011). Nonetheless, public budgets have been made tools that help in yielding better public returns after being directed by lawmakers into the best investment options.

Public budgeting is used as a tool that helps managers utilize efficiently resources that they control. Fiscal systems of governments have opted to develop classifications of expenditures that are essential. There has been a miniature achievement in terms of the aid provision or explaining the wide expectations. Furthermore, budget systems have been marred hence being unable to transform governance’s essential elements (Mikesell & Mullins, 2011).

Public administration in countries like the United States have very complex systems that use checks and balances to ensure that resources are used in the right way. For instance, the president and the congress must make sure that they know how much resources are required to run all the systems, where the resources to be allocated to specific projects will come from and how much will be allocated to each system. It is therefore paramount that every administrator puts down each plan not only through written words but also through factual figures. Through budgeting, financial resources are utilized well via political processes to offer improved lives for humans within the society (Mikesell & Mullins, 2011). The government is not expected to tax more than is required. From this perspective, the resources will just be enough to facilitate activities to be undertaken to develop the society. Public administration systems will be required to give a holistic breakdown of all the activities that will be taking place and the respective costs for transparency to be seen.

Through budgeting, political development will be prioritized to avoid wasting resources on unnecessary projects (Karkatsoulis, 2010). The budget entails both revenue and expenditure. The public will therefore be able to know the degree of transparency because they will be able to know the amount of revenue and expenditure. Individuals can evaluate the level of commitment of public servants to improve their lives, which is one of the methods the society uses to elect the leaders. Public budgeting is one of the political instruments that can assist public administrators in achieving political mileages in their political advancements. With a budgeting system, ways and means of providing public programmes will be known. In addition, it establishes a criterion upon which these processes will be achieved with efficiency and effectiveness. A budget normally reflects political decisions with a high degree of precision.

Robert W. Smith and Thomas D. Lynch see a budget as a multidimensional device. They describe a budget in four ways. First, the politicians view it as a political tool in the political field that is used to advance their interests. Economists see budgeting as a process of allocating resources in terms of opportunity cost. In this case, one consumer is denied resources at the expense of another. In this view, economists provide the decision-makers with the best possible information they require to make appropriate decisions (Smith & Lynch, 2004). An accountant, on the other hand, views a budget as a tool that describes the accountability value where they analyze the amount budgeted to the actual expenditure. According to the authors, the public managers view the budget as a tool that describes how policies should be implemented.

Application of Public Budgeting Policies in Various Professions or Personal Lives

Traditionally, the government collected revenue and used it in a manner that it deemed fit. Objectives and implications to the larger goals of the society were ignored. With the modern systems in place, the government is expected to design strategies that will be aimed at explaining how they will collect taxes and how these taxes will be used. The public or government budgeting is a significant process in administrative processes, and it influences many processes throughout the year (Anessi-Pessina, Sicilia, & Steccolini, 2012). Legislative bodies, for instance, are normally used to ensure discipline in the use of public funds through a system of checks and balances. There are different ethical parameters that must be involved in making of public budgets. It is a resource allocation process. Public leaders must aim at refraining from public conflicts and at achieving interests of the populace through the public budgets.

Public budgeting is an activity that always strives to deliver quality services to the public. For public administrators, the biggest task involved is coming up with a proposition, implementing and ensuring that the budget is strategically executed. The most technical areas of the budgeting are when the public administrators are expected to forecast, account, report and audit streams of revenue and expenditure. In fact, public administration focuses on certain aspects of budgeting, or it might indulge in a detailed focus to budgeting. It relates very closely with political science in generating a comprehensive budgeting structure (Anessi-Pessina, Sicilia, & Steccolini, 2012). This is because the framework involved in forming a budget requires a holistic approach that heavily leans on the way the public administrators view their society systems. It also depends on the ideas that are relevant and that must be integrated to develop budgetary solutions, the aim of which is to solve the existing felt needs of the population within the society.

According to Mikesell and Mullins (2011), public financing and budgeting in the United States of America act as evidence against the expectations of the society. The authors further reiterate that functions in the public budgeting sector have remained the same over several decades. Processes and structures that make up the budgeting should render some functions; fiscal discipline insurance, responsibility, fiscal sustainability, and control are some of them (Mikesell & Mullins, 2011). This means that functions of the budget can be highly applicable in the cases where financial impropriety is to be mitigated. Upholding of financial discipline can be realized through proper budgetary allocation. Financial managers should allocate a sizeable amount of their budgetary resources towards worthwhile courses where there are optimal returns. A person should also aim at optimizing his resource allocations to ensure that they are efficiently used. It should be the responsibility of finance managers and the public to ensure that transparency prevails at the onset and during the implementation of finance programs.

American government, local, federal, and state, has come up with modified ways of implementing various budgetary processes (Smith & Lynch, 2004). The public budgeting concept has remained unchanged for a couple of years. The process of budgeting entails a detailed procedure that must be followed up to the end in order to attain the correct deliverables (Smith & Lynch, 2004). This means that financial professionals have to develop their budgetary allocation in order to get the desirable results. The scenario gives an impression that there are some critical steps that must be followed in order to realize better delivery of services by the necessary financial authority. A financial professional should be able to develop financial plans that can act as a guideline for the implementation of work. Secondly, he should aim at getting approval of these plans before embarking on executing them. Moreover, any person must know that budgeting does not end up there; there should be immediate evaluation as well as auditing of the whole process.

Adoption of the national budgetary procedures by any financial profession means that the professions’ operations will always be acting within the desired limits. Budgeting from scratch should be totally discouraged as it will be hard to estimate the final deliverables. As a financial professional, one should understand that improvement in efficiency of public finance and budgeting could be highly applicable in their career development and success. Nonetheless, there are strategies of resource allocation that one has to adhere to in order to realize better deliverables. Any professional in financial matters must be able to measure his or her financial performance. They must use superior technology when communicating. The professional must also be ready to measure the financial performance through integration of the process of budgeting and converting it into a strategy. Therefore, this would mean that proper adherence of the prescribed procedures by the financial professionals would lead into improved performance in terms of financial gain.

Application of Public Budgeting in Improving Efficiency of Non-Government Organizations

Public budgeting and administration is a collective decision. Indulging of public administration in public budgets depends partially on the way institutions that provide public services are organized. In addition, it depends on policy analysis that usually gives the green light to know the areas that need more resources as compared to others. This works on the premise that not all issues can be handled at once. In addition, there are scarce resources, and their usage to ameliorate the challenges facing the society must be based upon prioritization (Karkatsoulis, 2010). The most felt needs coming first, and the other needs can wait.

Public administrators understand very well that they do not make decisions on their own (Arellano-Gault & Gil-Garcia, 2004). The amounts of money used to address various activities in the society do not come from them either. The funds are raised from the society. They must know how to raise these funds. It forms an important part of the budget, which is the revenue. Public administration systems must find amicable ways through which they can be able to gather and use resources for the benefit of the whole society. Sometimes, the process entails getting resources from some fortunate agencies and using these resources for the benefit of all people within the society, including the less fortunate. Responsibilities to use the public funds in the most suitable manner in most cases are put into law and public servants must adhere to them through open budgetary allocations (Anessi-Pessina, Sicilia, & Steccolini, 2012). From this point of view, public budgeting becomes a significant factor in all aspects of governance in the society. Largely, public budgeting forms an integral factor that assures the community of the collective responsibilities towards the well-being of the citizens.

One of the observations that are made in the public budgeting is that major citizen participation is a prevalent feature in the United States. Citizens are informed of major fiscal resolutions that are made in order to give their views (Mikesell & Mullins, 2011). There is an aspect of “democratization.” Here, the aim of the budget process is to incorporate direct input from the public, an aspect that is viewed as significant towards proper budget development (Smith & Lynch, 2004). This principle can be of sound help if put into practice especially in the non-governmental organization. Such organizations aim at making the lives of people better in terms of welfare improvement as well as improving their living standards. The intended purpose of such organizations makes it imperative for them to disclose the budgetary process. This will create equal ground to the public to give their views on which areas should the budget prioritize. After all, the main goal of this organization is to improve their public’s living standards. Therefore, it would serve better by letting the general public participate since people are well conversant with the adversities that they experience on the ground. Thus, they will tend to be good at budget prioritization.

Conclusion

Activities carried out by public administration should ensure the larger public interests are fulfilled. There are multiple competing visions or interests that must be satisfied hence the budget normally serves as a tool that harmonizes such interests through allocating resources in specific programmes that will be deemed to serve larger public interests (Arellano-Gault & Gil-Garcia, 2004). This is opposed to when resources are taken and used in random projects which at last might end up assisting a small population in the society. Many public administrators would consider a budget as a mechanism that would help to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the programmes designed for the wellbeing of the society.

Transparency in budgeting ensures that the public can easily access any budgetary information (Mikesell & Mullins, 2011). This ensures that fairness prevails to both the state and the general public. Democratic governance is the critical ingredient towards realization of precondition. Precondition is the state whereby there is effective governance, prudent fiscal plans, economic performance improvement, as well as lower debts and deficit accumulation. The resultant effect is that the economic growth proliferates as a result of increased public participation. Using the same budgeting model in organization such as the NGOs will serve as a replica that can help them realize similar preconditions. Consequently, these organizations will have helped to serve the purpose for which they were intended.

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