Management of financial records in selected public institutions in Botswana
This article focuses on the challenges faced by public institutions in Botswana in managing financial records for accountability. It also looks at strategies that can be employed to improve the management of financial records in these institutions. As has been found out by the International Records Management Trust (IRMT), a number of countries especially those in the sub-Saharan region are facing critical problems in areas of budgeting and auditing, which in most cases results in poor financial controls. In most instances, organisations in those countries are failing to comply with financial and audit legislation and this lack of compliance has led to poor financial accountability and corporate governance. This has subsequently led to fraud and corrupt practices. In discussing the challenges and possible strategies for improvement, raw data was collected from selected public institutions that have a national responsibility for ensuring public finances are accounted for and well managed. The review of literature also identified challenges in other public institutions that are discussed in this study. It was found that, while most organisations have implemented Financial Management Systems (FMS) as a solution to enhancing financial operations, without them being audited, computerisation of accounting system alone does not solve the problem. The paper contends that financial records play an important role in ensuring organisations are accountable; they support decision-making and help in auditing processes. In making suggestions for improved financial accountability, the paper recommends that it is important to have proper records management systems in both the manual and electronic environments which will ensure availability of authentic and reliable financial records.