The Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA) program provides a framework for assessing and reporting on the strengths and weaknesses of public financial management (PFM). A PEFA assessment incorporates a PFM performance report for the government at a given point in time but the methodology can be replicated in successive assessments, giving a summary of changes over time. The PEFA report includes an overview of the PFM system and evidence-based measurement of performance against 31 indicators. The report also includes an analysis of the findings with respect to the overall system performance and for the desirable budgetary and fiscal outcomes – aggregate fiscal discipline, strategic allocation of resources and efficient delivery of public services.


The PEFA methodology draws on PFM international standards and good practices as identified by experienced practitioners and academics and provides a foundation for reform planning, dialogue on strategy and priorities, and progress monitoring. It is built around the principles of a ‘strengthened approach’ to PFM which centers on a country-led PFM reform program, reflecting country priorities implemented through government structures.

The PEFA program also provides support, monitoring, and analysis of PEFA assessments. A key task of the Secretariat is to also ensure the quality of PEFA reports which is done by in-depth reviews of draft reports and anchoring of the PEFA Check requirements. Please visit for more information about the program and the PEFA Check requirements.

The purpose of the PEFA handbook is to provide users, including government officials, assessors, development partners and other interested stakeholders, with comprehensive guidance on planning, implementing, reporting and using PEFA 2016.

The handbook is presented in four separate volumes:

  •  Volume I: The PEFA assessment process: planning, managing and using PEFA, provides guidance to PEFA users and other stakeholders on the key phases and steps in the PEFA assessment process.
  • Volume II: PEFA assessment Fieldguide, is a detailed technical guidance on scoring the 31 performance indicators and 94 dimensions of PEFA 2016, including data requirements and sources, calculation and definitions. The Fieldguide also includes a glossary of terms.
  • Volume III: Preparing the PEFA report, contains advice on writing the report and a template and instructions for each section and annex of a standard PEFA report.
  • Volume IV: Using PEFA to support PFM reform provides guidance on how to utilize PEFA assessments to support PFM reform initiatives.

Each volume of the handbook is intended to a be a dynamic document that will be updated in response to common issues, good practices, suggestions and frequently-asked questions from PEFA users. Periodic updates to the handbook volumes are announced and published on the PEFA website (