Unravelling the mysteries of finance…

By Frank Bolger - Last update

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December is always a two-edged blade: we spend most of it celebrating the bedlam of Christmas, and a lot more time than we’d like complaining about the burdens

of the latest budget (though according to Brendan Howlin, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, December budgets will likely become things of the past. Future budgets will be held in October instead, perhaps owing to the fact that Halloween represents a much more suitable holiday period for terrifying public announcements).

Budgetary discussions are so entrenched in a vocabulary of their own that it’s easy to feel removed from the topic until you find yourself haplessly faced with an unwelcome assault of additional taxes, levies, and entitlement cuts. It is a confusing, sometimes disorienting, topic of conversation, and not understanding why certain measures have been taken can lead to a sense of outrage that is often justifiable.

However, there are measures we can take to help mitigate the anxiety and confusion. One of them is to become informed. Part-time and evening courses in finance can help us negotiate the jungle of financial terms and educate us in the basics of budgetary planning and credit control. Courses can be relatively brief (lasting for a matter of weeks) or can be attended over the course of several years (for degrees and diplomas). These not only clue us in on matters of national finance, but, more importantly, help us keep our own finances in check.

The Institute of Public Administration also runs a year-long Certificate in Civil Service and State Agency Studies. This is specifically dedicated to teaching participants about the roles and functions of various government sectors and processes such as budgeting, legislation and decision making. It represents an excellent opportunity for anyone working in the civil service or in management to develop a very worthwhile understanding of the way things run on a macro scale.

Frank Bolger

Part-time study, full-time rewards
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