Rome, November 18, 2017 - 22.26
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  • SICOGE and Financial Budget Formation and Management

SICOGE

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SICOGE AND FINANCIAL BUDGET FORMATION AND MANAGEMENT

In the field of public finance, the term budget is used to refer to the annual budget, i.e. the recording of revenue and expenditure related to the public body's managerial activities. As regards operations to acquire revenue and perform spending, the budget is referred to as the "planned budget" during checking of appropriations and "cash budget" at the moment when receipts or payments are made.

The legislation regulating budget structure can be found in Article 6 of Law No. 468 of 1978, amended by Article 4 of Law No. 94 of 1997.

The state budget comprises a part related to receipts and a part related to expenditure; specifically SICOGE manages the part related to expenditure.

The same legislation provides for expenditure to be split into:

- target functions, for the purpose of defining public sector policies;

- basic estimate units, split into units related to current expenditure and units related to capital expenditure;

- items, according to the purpose, the economic and functional content of expenditure.

The SICOGE (Financial Accounting Management Information System) project is part of the advanced technological process aimed at improving the quality of work, both in terms of optimizing the time spent working and of updating the working tools available to central and local public administrations and decentralized offices.

SICOGE is the instrument which allows both central administrations and decentralized offices to acquire a technologically advanced system which supports them throughout the whole administrative process related to state budget forecasting and management and expenditure planning and performance in full compliance with current legislation.

The project, in its basic version, was designed to support budget and expenditure management activities. It was subsequently integrated with S.I.R.G.S. (State General Accounting Department Information System) and hence developed in order to allow for integration into S.I.P.A. (Central Public Administration Payment System). SICOGE ensures the future implementation of amendments to legislation regarding budget and expenditure management processes.

The aim is to provide administrations with a financial accounting system integrated with the State General Accounting Department's information system and open to dialogue with other information systems. Specifically SICOGE is:

- able to promote easy interaction with administration offices, allowing all offices to use the information recorded by other offices and sent to the State General Accounting Department on the basis of their own skills and know-how;

- integrated via its flows with the State General Accounting Department, both with regard to Computerized Orders for the stage regarding appropriation and for the stage regarding ordering, and with regard to state budget forecasting and management;

- backed up by digital signature;

- equipped with functions to manage delegated expenditure and the assignment of budgetary funds to decentralized offices;

- open to interaction with external systems and/or ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems, with specific reference to Management Control and Economic Accounting modules;

- open to future developments.

The computerization guaranteed by use of the application goes to facilitate activities related to automation of all the preparation, management and adjustment stages concerning state budgets, using the exchange of personal and accounting data between public administrations and the State General Accounting Department (budget structure, financial availability of items, etc.), in other words the automation of expenditure management-related processes.

Specifically, the automation of expenditure management-related processes allows for:

- automatic production of copies of appropriation decrees and payment orders, in keeping with the analytical information entered into the system by SICOGE users;

- management of the information flow exchanging data between the public administrations and State General Accounting Department;

- digital signature upon expenditure by authorized user;

- forwarding of signed document via computer to the State General Accounting Department's information system;

- management of computer flow concerning the outcome of processing by the State General Accounting Department of expenditure documents generated by the public administration and of expenditure documents generated by the State General Accounting Department.

Generally speaking, the flow is organized so as to ensure the security and integrity of the exchanged data through the use of digital signatures by authorized public administration users and the use, via EAS (System Access Entity), of the RUPA (Public Administration Unitary Network) to transmit data through interconnection with the RNI (National Interbanking Network) as part of the S.I.P.A. (Central Public Administration Payment System).

The use of digital signatures within the SICOGE application is split into two separate phases:

- use of the signature with regard to data viewed with the aid of a smart card;

- checking of the signature and integrity of the signed data.

Enablement of use of the digital signature process must be requested by the user by employing a function inside the SICOGE application.

Said process, characterized by user-system interaction, comprises the following phases:

  1. viewing of signature date (since the signature is applied on the client side, users are warned that the signature date is that of the date set on the client PC);
  2. request to enter PIN code;
  3. checking of PIN code;
  4. extraction of user information from SmartCard (e.g. TIN, for the purpose of checking that the user connected to the application corresponds to the owner of the SmartCard);
  5. placement of digital signature to the data string shown on the monitor together with the signature date, with return of signed data.

Digital signatures are checked by checking the validity of the certificate issued by the CA (Certification Authority) with regard to the content of the relevant CRL (Certificate Revocation List).

Complete interaction between the State Accounting Department and public administrations has been achieved in order to manage SICOGE. Specifically, the public administrations must perform the following:

- acquisition of technological infrastructure;

- preparation of logistics;

- technical-operational control;

- acquisition of digital signature devices.

The State General Accounting Department guarantees the following services:

- support services for the start-up, to ensure pre-installation and system installation assistance as well as flanking and training activities for office staff;

- support services for the use, as first-level and functional assistance, as well as changes and/or extensions of functions.

In compliance with the most up-to-date technological standards of the IT market, SICOGE is an application for Internet and Intranet, created on a multi-level architecture.

The first level (presentation) is responsible for interaction between users and the graphic interface found on the desktop, using a browser (Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.x), as well as communication with following levels. This level allows for the acquisition of data to be processed by performing formal preliminary checks on said data.

The second level (functional logic) contains the mechanisms for processing requests, acting as a link between users and data.

The following levels comprise both data management logic and saving of data in the information base.

The levels described communicate with each other exclusively via the use of XML (Extensible Markup Language), the universal format for web data exchange.

This technology makes it possible to describe the structured data of an application in a standard manner, permitting cooperation between SICOGE and other external applications intending to interface with the application in question.

The type of architecture identified allows for a specific usefulness and reliability of information as well as for user transparency with regard to any operations to update the software provided.

SICOGE users are identified via an ID which enables them to use the application.

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