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Introduction to public financial management

The overall purpose of this course is to provide users with a basic understanding of the concepts and importance of public financial management.

Target Group

This course was originally developed for posted and locally employed staff at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of Denmark and Danida Advisors. It has later been made available to staff from other donor organisations and other external users.

The e-learning course is designed for users with little or no previous knowledge of PFM, but who may have some exposure to it in their job functions related to development cooperation. 


  1. Although this course has not been updated since it was rolled out in 2008, it is still considered relevant in its basic substantive contents. There are no current plans for updating the course.
  2. The course was developed by “Danida’s Centre for Competence Development (DCCD)”, whose logo and graphical expression are used in the course. The competence development team in the MFA corporate HR Department now administers this course.
  3. Areas where users may benefit from other learning in addition to this course include: PFM reform implementation issues and how to move the reform agenda forward in practice; strengths and weaknesses of the different PFM instruments; potential pitfalls in practice concerning MTEFs, PER and PEFA; operational guidance on audits; latest developments on the aid and development effectiveness agenda, including the developments at the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan in 2011.
  4. Since the course has not been updated since 2008, links to web-resources may in a few cases be inactive. Where there are links to Denmark’s policies, strategies and tools for development cooperation, please note that the latest, current versions will always be found at: and
  5. Please disregard the evaluation section of the PFM course and the links to the UMKC E-learning Portal, which has been closed.



After completing the course, participants will be aware of the background for increased policy attention to PFM and understand the principles and importance of the PFM tools and processes covered in the course. 



Possible learning with colleagues in a group Introduction to Public Financial Management (and Danish Development Assistance).

  • Module 1: The budget – general framework and policy relevance
  • Module 2: The budget – phases and parts
  • Module 3: Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF)
  • Module 4: Public Expenditure Review (PER)
  • Module 5: Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA)
  • Module 6: National Audit
  • Module 7: Anglophone and Francophone PFM Systems
  • Evaluation and Follow-up

The course includes generic case exercises from selected countries for the modules on PER and PEFA.

HR Development cannot offer facilitation, support to organising group activities or follow-up learning activities. However, learning may be enhanced if users join up with other participants at the work place. Group discussions could be organised to prepare answers to the questions formulated in the assignments. A local focal point could be appointed for the duration of the course with the aim of assisting course participants, for facilitating group discussions and for providing feedback on the results of the internal group discussions.

At the end of the course, it could be considered to prepare a joint follow-up note describing how the group of course participants (e.g. at an embassy) would like to follow-up on this e-learning course. Follow-up activities for further learning could be organised locally, with more focus on country specific PFM features, concrete examples, and operational experience with PFM tools in practice.





15-20 hours 

Access and signup

The course does not require registration, but can be accessed directly from the link below.


Start the course.

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Please click 'Open' to start the course.


Should you experience difficulties with accessing this course, please contact