Manager's Guide to Financial Officer Competency-Based Management

Office of the Comptroller General
Financial Management Sector
Capacity Building and Community Development

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

The Office of the Comptroller General (OCG), in consultation with the financial management (FM) community, has developed the Financial Management Human Resources Management Framework (see Figure 1). The framework is designed to support the community in maintaining a self-sustaining, professional workforce and is a competency-based management system which provides a set of common tools designed according to best practices in both the private and public sectors.

Figure 1: Financial Management Human Resources Management Framework
Financial Management Human Resources Management Framework. Text version below:
Figure 1 - Text version

The financial management human resources management framework is broken down into four sections, controlling; planning; leading and organizing. There is a continuous circle around community outreach that includes aspects such as business and HR planning which feeds into functional models and generic work descriptions which feeds into competency profiles which feeds into resourcing which feeds into learning and professional development which feeds into performance management and community outreach which feeds into business outreach including business and HR planning and the circle continues.

The framework represents a holistic approach to talent management that facilitates hiring the right people, helps focus on learning and training at all levels of the community, clarifies roles and responsibilities, and increases retention.

This guide is one element of the competency profiles in the FM Human Resources Management Framework. As this guide will demonstrate, competency-based management standardizes and integrates human resources (HR) functions by applying established criteria, i.e., competencies, to all HR functions. A competency-based approach can be applied as follows:

  • In recruitment, selection and promotion, candidates' suitability is assessed against defined competencies and criteria.
  • Competencies are used as a basis for the developing employee learning plans. They are used to help employees understand what skills and behaviours they need to work on to improve performance in their current position and what areas they need to focus on for career growth.
  • In performance management, competencies can be used to state performance objectives clearly for employees. They can also serve as benchmarks against which employee performance is evaluated.

This guide works interdependently with the FM Competency Profiles and Dictionary, and is supported by a number of tools, which can be found in the appendices to this guide.

The OCG's Financial Management Community Development Division has created this guide, an employee guide, and the Competency Profiles and Dictionary to support the FM competency-based management system and help managers and employees through the process of adopting a competency-based approach to talent management.

Comprehensive related information can be found on the FM community's wiki page.

2. Competency-Based Management Context

Competencies were introduced to the FM community in 1995 with the development of the financial officers' (FIs')competency profile, accompanying guide and automated self-assessment tool. Although the profile and associated tools were endorsed by the FM community, they were not widely used.

In 2007, steps were taken to update the FI Competency Profile to reflect the changes in the FM working environment. Initiatives such as the FI to CFO Career Path (2006), the Financial Management Strategic HR Framework (2006–07), and the launch of a new competency-based development program for financial specialists (2007) all supported this renewed interest in competencies.

The new FI Competency Profile developed by the Financial Management Community Development division consists of two types of competencies: behavioural and functional. The behavioural competency profile was completed in 2010, and the functional competency profile in 2011.

The FI Competency Profile is also aligned with the competency maps of the three professional accounting bodies in Canada (the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants, the Certified General Accountants Association of Canada, and the Society of Management Accountants of Canada) and will be aligned, once established, with the new competency map of the Certified Professional Accountants of Canada. The Deputy Chief Financial Officer Council and the Comptroller General Advisory Committee have endorsed the FI Competency Profile and the Employee Guide to Competency-Based Management.

An employee guide as well as communication and training strategies were developed in 2011 to support the successful integration of competencies within the FM community.

Broad application and use of competencies will provide for common understanding and demonstration of expected behaviours and skills within the FM community.

3. Competency-Based Management: An Overview

The following sections are designed to explain the general principles of competencies. They also provide an explanation of the Competency Dictionary and job competency profiles.

3.1 The Benefits of Competency-Based Management

Competency-based management is recognized as a best practice in community management. It is gradually being adopted within the Government of Canada and is now current practice within the Canadian professional accounting bodies (CA, CGA, CMA and CPA).

For managers, competencies can be used in HR activities to:

  • Facilitate hiring and recruitment;
  • Improve target training and development to support employee performance and career development;
  • Clarify performance objectives for employees; and
  • Substantiate the "right fit" in relation to HR planning decisions by ensuring that the candidate has the right skills and behaviours to do the job.

For employees, competencies can be used to:

  • Verbalize accomplishments and relevant work experience with the use of concrete work examples;
  • Obtain pertinent feedback from managers and mentors on areas for professional development; and
  • Identify experience and knowledge gaps to be addressed in order to reach career objectives.

By supporting the implementation of a competency-based approach to HR activities, the OCG can support building capacity across the FM community and ensure greater consistency for FIs across departments.

3.2 What Are Competencies?

Competencies are measurable and observable skills, abilities or knowledge that enable an employee to perform satisfactorily in a position. They provide a clearly articulated description and common understanding of how an employee is able to successfully complete the work at his or her position level.

Each competency has a progressive range of proficiency levels, and each level has indicators. Competency proficiency indicators are:

  • Measurable;
  • Relevant to the progression scale of the competency;
  • Meaningful; and
  • Significant in that they represent the key skills, knowledge and behaviours needed to undertake financial management work.

3.3 Types of Competencies

There are two types of competencies: behavioural and functional.

Behavioural competencies are generally not function-specific. For example, values and ethics constitute a behavioural competency that is important for all public servants, not just those working in financial management.

The 10 FI behavioural competencies comprise the 3 key skills required by all FM professionals and the 7 key leadership competencies that have been developed by the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer:

  • Communications;
  • Risk management;
  • Negotiation/persuasion;
  • Values and ethics;
  • Strategic thinking: analysis;
  • Strategic thinking: ideas;
  • Engagement;
  • Management excellence: action;
  • Management excellence: people; and
  • Management excellence: finance.

There are four FI functional competencies that are aligned with the key work streams of the FM community and with the functional experience outlined in the FI to CFO Career Path. They are:

  • Accounting operations (includes revenue management, internal controls and reporting);
  • Planning and resource management (includes costing);
  • Financial policy; and
  • Financial systems (includes elements of internal control).

The competency of resource management, for example, is a functional, knowledge-based skill that is developed through training and demonstrated through the execution of procedures.

Excellence in managing people, on the other hand, is a behavioural competency that demonstrates the effective application of behaviours requiring emotional effort

The two types of competencies work in tandem. For example, although planning and resource management is an important functional competency, an individual will be successful only if he or she is also able to master the behaviours related to strategic thinking (a behavioural competency). Planning and resource management, by its nature, also requires an individual to demonstrate strength in strategic thinking in order to identify critical elements of an issue and find innovative solutions to address it.

The fundamental tool for competency-based management is the FI Competency Dictionary, which is explained in more detail in the following.

3.4 Reading the Financial Management FI Competency Profile and Dictionary

The FI Competency Profile and Dictionary is found in Appendix A. It contains the behavioural and functional competencies and outlines the following information:

  • Competency name;
  • A short definition; and
  • Key indicators associated with each proficiency level.

The FI Competency Profile has four levels of proficiency for each competency. Each level is associated with the corresponding level within the FI occupational group (Level 1: FI-01; Level 2: FI-02; Level 3: FI-03; and Level 4: FI-04) (See Table 1).

Table 1. Competencies for FI-01 to FI-04 table note *
Level 1 (FI-01)
Underlying Notion
Level 2 (FI-02)
Underlying Notion
Level 3 (FI-03)
Underlying Notion
Level 4 (FI-04)
Underlying Notion

Table Note

Table Note

The competency title gives the name associated with the competency. The competency definition describes what the competency means.

Return to table note * referrer

Indicators

Relates to basic behaviours

Indicators

Active behaviours reflecting an action, concern or attitude

Indicators

Proactive behaviours that are often initiated based on knowledge or past experience

Indicators

Comprehensive behaviours that relate to actions that have an impact beyond one's immediate team and more on the larger organization

The indicators capture the essential skills that must be demonstrated to meet the proficiency level. Only the key indicators are included in the FI Competency Profile and Dictionary; there can be many others.

The progression across the levels is cumulative. For example, if a person demonstrates proficiency at Level 3, this implies that he or she can successfully demonstrate the behaviours related to Levels 1 and 2.

Each indicator of the FI Competency Profile describes measurable actions and has been written to reflect how an FM specialist who meets expectations would demonstrate his or her level of proficiency in terms of quality, timeliness and responsiveness.

Proficiency can be measured along a spectrum as illustrated in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Competency Proficiency Scale
Competency Proficiency Scale. Text version below:
Figure 2 - Text version

The competency based management cycle is an eight-step self-assessment process that identifies the skills, knowledge and behaviours required to complete the work successfully and identify areas for future development.

The 8 steps are:

  • Step 1: Mapping
  • Step 2: Identify performance indicators
  • Step 3: Situational examples (STAR)
  • Step 4: Assessment
  • Step 5: Identify gaps
  • Step 6: Validation
  • Step 7: Learning plan
  • Step 8: Evergreening

Although competency proficiency levels have been associated with the corresponding level of the FI classification group, an employee's ranking against the FI competency profile has no bearing on the classification level of his or her position. The competency profile simply identifies the knowledge, skills and abilities that are needed to demonstrate effective performance at that level.

The specified proficiency levels describe how work should be performed to ensure reasonable success at a job. A person who exceeds at each competency will not necessarily become eligible for a level upgrade in his or her current position. The FM competency-based management system has no automatic promotion component; an employee's competency level determines only how well he or she performs in the job, and the job level and pay rate are related to the work description for the position the employee occupies.

3.5 Competencies and Other Human Resources Tools

There are many tools used as part of sound HR management practices that provide managers with information regarding what an individual does or is required to accomplish. But only competencies provide the how an employee successfully carries out his or her work by allowing managers to look below the surface and perceive the employee's values, attributes and preferences.

The following provides a brief description of work descriptions, performance objectives and competency proficiency indicators, as well as a summary of the key differences between the three.

Work descriptions describe the key activities, responsibilities and authorities of a position. For example:

  • Analyzes, evaluates and assesses impacts of proposals submitted by client groups on the department's financial position and on related costs and funds for directorate-level activities.
  • Monitors, analyzes and forecasts expenditures and actual program or project results against planned results.

An employee performance agreement describes the deliverables and timelines that the employee must complete for a given year. A performance objective is very specific to what the employee must produce. For example:

  • Deliver advisory and resource management services to the programs branch that are responsive to the needs of clients and meet the established service standards for the function. This activity is ongoing throughout the year.
  • Analyze the implications for the client of the new Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat directives on vote netted revenue and revolving funds and report findings to senior management by .

Competency proficiency indicators capture the essential skills needed to execute the work successfully. They can be used to assess how work is carried out, such as:

  • Independently applying appropriate resource management principles, methodologies and techniques in unique and complex situations;
  • Maintains open and continuous communication with others; and
  • Applies performance service standards, where they exist.

Key Differences between the Three HR Tools

Work descriptions and performance objectives stipulate what an employee will be assessed against (e.g., key activities, tasks, objectives); competency indicators provide a manager with how an employee performed (e.g., description of skills, demonstration of behavioural proficiency) (see Table 2).

Table 2. Examples of Explanations of Work Descriptions, Performance Objectives and Competency Proficiency Profiles
Work Description (What) Performance Objective (What) Competency Proficiency Indicator (How)
Monitors, analyzes and forecasts expenditures and actual program/project results against planned results Delivers advisory and resource management services to the programs branch that are responsive to the client's needs and meets the established service standards for the function
  • Independently applies appropriate resource management principles, methodologies and techniques in unique and complex situations
  • Maintains open and continuous communication with others
  • Applies performance standards where they exist
  • Describes the authorities, responsibilities and scope of work
  • Uses a principles-based approach rather than a task list
  • Written in HR language to enable a classification officer to assess the job level
  • Formal assessment of the ability to complete assigned tasks
  • Linked to the mandate and deliverables of the FM function
  • Used to manage the assignment of work in a group
  • Description of the way in which work is performed
  • Linked to skills, knowledge and behaviours that enable an individual to successfully complete assigned work
  • Written in the language of the profession (financial management)
  • Used to manage an individual's development and career paths

3.6 Creating a Job Competency Profile

A job competency profile is the bridge between the key activities of the work description and the behaviours demonstrated in the successful performance of the work. It is related to the competency proficiency indicators because it provides the competency proficiency levels required for a given job.

In contrast to the FI Competency Profile, which are generic and not limited to a particular role, a job competency profile describes the required proficiency level for each competency for a specific role or position within an organization.

A job competency profile is a combination of position level and work stream.

Appendix B provides sample job competency profiles for each individual FI level. Managers can use them as a starting point in developing of job-specific competency profiles that reflect of the particular needs of the position. The job competency profile is then used as the baseline against which to tailor recruitment and performance management activities.

In order to determine the competencies and proficiency level required of the job, the key activities must first be identified. This is done by reviewing the work description for the position. Other elements that may affect the work (organizational culture, key stakeholders, work environment, etc.) should also be taken into consideration.

For example, if creating a job profile for an FI-02 position in planning and resource management, the required proficiency level for most of the FI competencies will be at Level 2. However, there may be higher or lower levels of proficiency for a few of the competencies. This could be the case, for example, of an FI-02 financial advisor responsible for a large, complex client group. This position may require a high level of diplomacy in communications and client engagement.

The job competency profile for this specific position, as compared with the FI-02 competency profile, would illustrate these requirements by assigning a higher proficiency level, i.e., Level 3 (which is equivalent to FI-03), to the communication and engagement competency. This is illustrated in Table 3 by comparing a partial profile for an FI-02 in planning and resource management with the FI-02 competency profile.

Table 3. Comparison between the FI-02 generic profile and FI-02 Planning and Resource Management job profile
Competency FI-02 Competency Profile FI-02 Planning and Resource Management
Communication Level 2 Level 3
Analytical and strategic thinking Level 2 Level 2
Engagement Level 2 Level 3
Planning and resource management Level 2 Level 2

The job competency profile for the planning and resource management position highlights the need for a candidate who has strong engagement and communication abilities. A manager can emphasize this in his or her recruitment search or in the incumbent's performance assessment and learning plan.

For employees, job competency profiles not only provide information on expectations; they can also be used to assess readiness for promotion or for a move to another FM work stream.

4. Integrating Competencies Into Human Resources Activities

The following sections detail how a manager can integrate competencies into the various HR activities for which he or she is responsible. These include staffing and recruitment, learning and development, and performance management.

4.1 Staffing and Recruitment

Competency-based staffing and selection methods are based on the basis that the better the "fit" between the requirements of a job and the competencies of an incumbent, the higher the job performance and job satisfaction will be.

Competency-based staffing tools and methods are designed to elicit details regarding candidates' critical experiences, based on the premise that past performance is a good predictor of future performance on the job.

The following are some key characteristics of competency-based staffing:

  • Focuses on actual performance rather than what someone might do in a similar situation;
  • Relies on observable behaviours;
  • Draws its requirements from a job competency profile;
  • Can best be assessed using a targeted behavioral interview; and
  • Relies on reference checks for validation where the same behavioural interview techniques are used.

Successful job-person matching therefore depends on:

  • Job competency profiles;
  • Appropriate assessment of individual competencies; and
  • Assessment of the closeness of the fit between a person and a job.

Systematic and community-wide use of the FI Competency Profile in recruitment will help ensure that FIs meet a set of common standards across the federal public service.

Appendix C provides an overview of the staffing process and its related key decision points.

The OCG has developed three main tools to help managers adopt a competency-based approach to staffing and recruitment activities:

  • The Statement of Merit Criteria;
  • The competency-based interview question bank; and
  • Sample reference checks.

These three tools are elaborated on in sections 4.1.1 to 4.1.3.

4.1.1 Statement of Merit Criteria

The Statement of Merit Criteria (SoMC) lists the criteria used to assess candidates when staffing a particular position. Competencies are an integral part of the essential criteria identified in the SoMC, and they should reflect the most critical competencies for that particular role or job.

In 2011–12, the Financial Management Community Development division developed generic finance SoMCs for FI positions to help managers within the FM community with staffing and to provide some level of standardization across the FM community. Particular attention was paid to providing hiring managers with maximum flexibility in using the tool while maintaining structure and commonality within individual criteria elements.

The competencies used in the generic finance SoMC are those identified in the FI Competency Profile and Dictionary. The proficiency level sought for each competency is normally based on the requirements of the position being staffed (as identified in the job competency profile) but at a minimum is based on the competency proficiency for the FI level being staffed. Additional competencies may be added to the list if they are critical to the position.

Notes have been included under the individual criteria elements within each generic SoMC as guidance. The SoMCs also include definitions of the qualifiers that are most commonly used with criteria elements, such as knowledge and experience. It is suggested that managers use the generic finance SoMC with the provided definitions. Used together, the documents help streamline and standardize the development of SoMCs for FI positions across government.

The generic FI SoMCs and its accompanying documentation can be found in Appendix D.

4.1.2 The Interview

There are a number of styles that interviewers can choose in order to assess a candidate. Questions can be situational, informational (job knowledge) and behavioural. For the purposes of this guide, we will focus on the behavioural interview process but will briefly explain what situational and informational type interviews are.

Situational interviews resemble a job "preview" where candidates are placed in simulated scenarios and asked to respond as they would on the job. Questions usually begin with statements such as "Imagine that..." or "What would you do if...?" and describe hypothetical job-related situations that focus on an essential qualification element. Situational interviews are based on the notion that what people say they would do is related to what they actually do in a given situation.

Informational (job knowledge) interviews normally assess the technical knowledge required to perform the duties and responsibilities of the position. This type of question is often presented in written form, but in the interview context, it provides the opportunity for probing more deeply.

A behavioural interview allows an interviewer to explore, in depth, situations in a candidate's past when relevant behaviours have (or have not) been demonstrated. This type of interview is based on the assumption that the way a person has behaved (performed) in the past is a fairly accurate predictor of how he or she will behave in the future and is one of the best methods of assessing competencies.

Behavioural questions are designed to gather information relevant to the qualifications being assessed by having candidates identify what they actually did in similar situations, tasks or contexts in the past. When you ask behavioural questions, you want to learn about:

  • The situation or activity in which the candidate was involved;
  • The task and action that he or she took to complete the activity or address the situation; and
  • The result of his or her action.

Appendix E provides a template of the "STAR" formula ("Situation, Task, Action and Result") that can be provided to candidates before the interview to prepare their responses.

Although each of these styles of interview can be effective in gathering relevant information, it is often more effective to combine them in order to elicit information relevant to the essential qualifications.

An inventory of behavioural interview questions has been developed to support managers in assessing competencies and can be found on the FM community wiki page.

To ensure that candidates are well prepared for the interview, managers are encouraged to provide applicants with sufficient time to prepare. Providing resources such as the STAR formula, the FI Competency Dictionary, as well as a description of what to expect during a behavioural interview, is a best practice that is highly encouraged as it provides candidates with the tools and resources they need to determine and develop ahead of time real-life work examples that best represent the competency being sought. See Appendix F for a sample letter that can be sent to interviewees.

Another best practice within the FM community is to provide a copy of the questions to candidates just before the interview. Participants who are well prepared are better able to demonstrate their breadth and depth of experience. It is also suggested that at the start of the behavioural interview, candidates be instructed to structure their responses using the STAR formula.

As with any interview, detailed notes of candidates' responses are critical to ensuring appropriate assessment of the candidate. A sample assessment guide is provided in Appendix G.

4.1.3 Reference Checks

The same behavioural interview questions can be used to validate a candidate's references. When requesting references from candidates, managers should check that references can confirm some of the responses provided in the interview. Appendix H contains a sample reference check questionnaire.

4.2 Learning and Development

In learning and development, managers use a competency-based approach to identify employee competencies to be developed. When applied systematically across the wider FM community, this approach can help maximize the use of resources in developing learning programs that target common needs.

From an employee perspective, competencies can be used to identify which skills and behaviours need to be developed in order to improve their performance in the current position and what areas employees need to focus on for growth.

Competencies should be used as a basis for developing employee learning plans, and they can help managers focus resources on the learning activities that best correspond to the development needs of their employees.

Individuals should use their departmental learning plan templates for this exercise.

As a best practice, it is suggested that managers encourage their employees to reflect on the following questions when developing their learning plan: Am I performing at my highest ability? What is keeping me back? What other work would I like to perform? Am I ready for a promotion? What else do I need to consider? Answers to these questions will help identify areas to include in the learning plan.

Section 4.3.3 elaborates on how to build a learning plan.

4.3 Performance Management

The annual performance assessment is an important tool for managers and employees. It gives managers the opportunity to set performance standards, goals and objectives that will help their organization deliver on its mandate. For employees, it is an opportunity to confirm the competencies that they have mastered and to learn where they need improvement. This information will help them, not only in their current job but in their career progression as well.

Using competencies in the performance management cycle ensures that employees are evaluated on job-relevant criteria and that they are aware of these criteria. It facilitates communication between managers and employees and serves as a set of benchmarks against which performance can be evaluated. This makes the performance management process transparent and can give employees a greater sense of empowerment.

4.3.1 Competency-Based Management Cycle

The competency-based management cycle helps managers and employees through an eight-step process that identifies the skills, knowledge and behaviours required to complete work successfully and identify areas for future development (see Figure 3).

Figure 3: Competency Based Management Cycle
Competency Based Management Cycle. Text version below:
Figure 3 - Text version

The competency based management cycle is an eight-step self-assessment process that identifies the skills, knowledge and behaviours required to complete the work successfully and identify areas for future development.

The 8 steps are:

  • Step 1: Mapping
  • Step 2: Identify performance indicators
  • Step 3: Situational examples (STAR)
  • Step 4: Assessment
  • Step 5: Identify gaps
  • Step 6: Validation
  • Step 7: Learning plan
  • Step 8: Evergreening

Managers participate in this process for two reasons: first, as part of an annual performance management exercise (comparing employee competency proficiencies against those identified in the job profile), and second, as part of an employee's professional development (determining areas of improvement). Both can be completed for current or future positions.

Steps 1 to 6 are described in section 4.3.2 and steps 7 and 8 are described in section 4.3.3.

4.3.2 Assessing Employee Proficiency Level

The assessment process is straightforward: using the template provided in Appendix I, managers analyze how well employees demonstrate competency proficiency against the job competency profile of their current position. When included as part of the employee performance appraisal, the competency assessment process can help explain any shortcomings in employee performance.

To engage employees in the process, it is recommended that both the manager and the employee complete an assessment. Employees can consult the Employee Guide to Competency-based Management on the FM community's wiki page for guidance.

This process can also be used to help employees determine their readiness for promotion (assessment against future positions), in which case the employee's abilities are mapped against the competencies required for the new position (see Figure 4).

Figure 4: Competency Assessment Options
Competency Assessment Options. Text version below:
Figure 4 - Text version

The assessment process will provide analysis of how well you demonstrate each competency at the required proficiency level; it can be done using the profile of your current position or that of a desired future position. Assessment against existing position demonstrates – if person in job X is being asked to demonstrate a competency such as engagement at a Level 3 proficiency, the objective is to determine to what extent Level 3 proficiency indicators are demonstrated in his or her current work. For assessment against a desired position, if an individual, for example, wants to work in Internal Control in the future, he or she can begin to work on the development of their financial policy competency, as positions in that area may require a higher proficiency level.

Step 1: Mapping—Identify the job profile against which the assessment will be performed and insert the proficiency level requirements for each of the competencies in the column titled "Required Proficiency".

If no job profile exists for the position, refer to Section 3.6, "Creating a Job Competency Profile". Using the assessment template in Appendix I and the FI Competency Profile, identify the proficiency level requirements for each of the competencies in the column titled "Required Proficiency" (see Figure 5).

Figure 5: Section of the Financial Management Competency-Based Assessment Template ("Required Proficiency")
Section of the Financial Management Competency-Based Assessment Template ('Required Proficiency'). Text version below:
Figure 5 - Text version

This figure indicates the different elements of the cycle: Competency Title, Required Proficiency, Situational Examples and includes the different assessment ratings (insufficient, basic, proficient and advanced). In this particular figure, the Required Proficiency box is highlighted. The candidate is required to input into this box the proficiency level of the position (current or future) being assessed (FI-01, FI-02, FI-03 or FI-04).

Step 2: Identify Performance Indicators—Review each of the proficiency indicators for the target proficiency level to ensure that you understand what is being measured. See section 3.5 for details on proficiency indicator characteristics.

Step 3: Situational Examples—In bullet form, list the projects and activities that the employee has completed in the last 6 to 12 months and briefly describe how the employee applied the performance indicators in completing work (see Figure 6).

Figure 6: Section of the Financial Management Competency-Based Assessment Template ("Situational Examples")
Section of the Financial Management Competency-Based Assessment Template ('Situational Examples'). Text version below:
Figure 6 - Text version

This figure indicates the different elements of the cycle: Competency Title, Required Proficiency, Situational Examples and includes the different assessment ratings (insufficient, basic, proficient and advanced). In this particular figure, the Situational Examples box is highlighted. The candidate is required to input into this box information concerning the projects/activities that best demonstrate the proficiency level being assessed.

To help in describing the situational examples, it is suggested that the STAR formula methodology be used. Using this formula, managers highlight an employee's actions and corresponding behaviours that they witnessed in the employee's performance of their duties.

Appendix E contains a sample completed template of the STAR formula.

Step 4 Assessment—This step is vital to the process. The assessment of proficiency is based on the employee's observable and measurable skills and abilities that enable him or her to perform satisfactorily in the position. Managers perform the assessment against the existing position or a future position (see Figure 7).

Figure 7: Section of the Financial Management Competency-Based Assessment Template ("Assessment of Competencies")
Section of the Financial Management Competency-Based Assessment Template ('Assessment of Competencies'). Text version below:
Figure 7 - Text version

This figure indicates the different elements of the cycle: Competency Title, Required Proficiency, Situational Examples and includes the different assessment ratings (insufficient, basic, proficient and advanced). In this particular figure, the assessment rating boxes are highlighted. The candidate is required to tick the appropriate rating box that represents the completed assessment.

The assessment rating scale indicates the extent to which the employee has demonstrated the indicators in his or her work (see Table 4).

Table 4. Rating Scale for Competency Assessments
Incorporate Into Learning Plan Expected Range of Performance
Insufficient: Limited or No Evidence of All Behaviours Basic: Moderate Evidence of Some Behaviours Proficient: Evidence of All or Most Behaviours Advanced: Strong Evidence of All or Most Behaviours
The individual has not yet had an opportunity to demonstrate the behaviour/knowledge, or there is not enough information to make a valid assessment The individual applies this behaviour/knowledge in common situations that present limited problems. Requires guidance to deal with more challenging situations. The individual applies this behaviour/knowledge in a full range of typical challenges with minimal need for guidance. The individual applies this behaviour/knowledge appropriately in unusual or complex situations. Can guide others in dealing with unique and challenging situations.

Managers should use the results of the assessment to discuss with employees those areas for which the rating was basic or insufficient, and how employees can improve.

Step 5: Identifying Gaps—Gaps in learning or competency development may be identified in the assessment process. These gaps will help managers identify concrete learning or developmental actions to improve performance and will feed into the employee's learning plan.

Step 6 Validation—Employees should also complete the competency assessment. This step provides an opportunity to look at different perspectives and come to an agreement on the employee's learning and development priorities. The FI Competency Dictionary provides a common vocabulary to guide the discussion.

For purposes of learning and development, it is suggested that an employee work on no more than two to three competencies over a 6- to 12-month period.

In summary, the results of a competency-based performance assessment will provide managers and employees with information on the following:

  • Behaviours to successfully perform at a given level;
  • Information on areas that require further development in relation to a current or future job; and
  • Information on learning activity objectives that would help close any gaps and address areas for development.

Because they relate to learning and development, Steps 7 and 8 are described in the next section.

4.3.3 Building the Learning Plan

A learning plan is an agreement between the employee and his or her manager that enables the employee to develop the competency proficiency needed to meet the requirements of his or her position or to prepare for a future position. The plan allows individuals to reflect on their current situation and potential career aspirations and to explore available learning and developmental opportunities.

Step 7: Learning Plan—Once the competencies that need to be developed have been identified, the next step is to determine the learning opportunities that are available to staff and that will fit the organization’s training budget.

Learning and development options include the following:

  • Formal classroom training offered by the department or agency, the Canada School of Public Service; the provincial Chartered Accountant association, Certified General Accountant association, Certified Management Accountant association, and the Certified Professional Accountant association; colleges and universities; and private sector organizations;
  • On-the-job training through assignments and projects within the department or agency; and
  • Support provided by experienced colleagues, supervisors or managers and mentors.

Figure 8 provides an overview of how performance assessment activities and results contribute to recognizing gaps and identifying appropriate learning and development activities for employees.

Figure 8: Translation of Performance Into Concrete Learning Activities
Translation of Performance Into Concrete Learning Activities. Text version below:
Figure 8 - Text version

Figure 8 – Translation of Performance into concrete learning activities provides an overview of how performance and competency assessment activities and results and the individual's learning history contribute to recognizing gaps and identifying appropriate learning and development activities to address these gaps. On the left side is a box named Performance Review, a box named Learning History of Individual and a box named competency assessment results. All three boxes feed into the box on the right named Learning and development Plan. This box includes Gap 1 – course 1 functional; Gap 2 – course 2; Gap 3 developmental assignment to work on competencies A and B; and Gap 4 – on the job training.

Managers may also choose to make recommendations within the context of broader organizational needs. The results of discussions are recorded and documented in the departmental learning plan form.

Refer to section 4.2 on learning and development for best practices.

Departmental learning plans should be used, but managers can adapt the template provided in Appendix J.

Step 8: Evergreening—Employees should keep their competency assessment up to date so that it reflects how new experiences, projects and training have improved their proficiency levels.

5. Conclusion

The FM community is a strong element within the federal public service. FM managers are encouraged to adopt a competency-based management approach in order to continue building upon the FM community's many strengths.

During implementation, the Financial Management Community Development division will assist the FM community by providing guidance and training on the use of competencies. The use of competency-based management is promoted throughout the community and the OCG is leading by example by integrating the FM competencies into its recruitment and development initiatives.

For more information, contact the Financial Management Community Development division of the OCG. A list of contacts is provided in Appendix K.

Appendix A: Financial Management FI Competency Profiles and Dictionary

FI Behavioural Competencies

The behavioural competencies can be found in the Financial Officer (FI) Competency Profile - Behavioural Competencies web pages.

FI Functional Competencies

The functional competencies can be found in the Financial Officer (FI) Competency Profile - Functional Competencies web pages.

Appendix B: Sample Job Competency Profile

Job competency profiles are the bridge between the key activities of the work description and the behaviours demonstrated in the successful performance of the work.

Job competency profiles are a combination of position level and work stream.

For the purposes of this exercise, we have limited ourselves to the generic FI role within government, making no distinction in its work stream or its individual role.

Using the FI generic job profile as a starting point, managers can create a job-specific profile that reflects the needs of their organization. The job competency profile is then used as the baseline against which to tailor recruitment and performance management activities.

For employees, job competency profiles not only provide information on expectations but can also be used to assess readiness for promotion or for a move to another financial management (FM) work stream.

There are four FI generic job profiles (FI-01 to FI-04).  Each is associated with its corresponding level within the FI Competency Dictionary (Level 1: FI-01; Level 2: FI-02; Level 3: FI-03; and Level 4: FI-04).

The indicators describe measurable actions and have been written to reflect how an FM specialist who meets expectations would demonstrate his or her level of proficiency in terms of quality, timeliness and responsiveness.

FI-01: Generic Job Profile (Level 1)

Oral and Written Communications

  • Listens and questions effectively
  • Shares information willingly
  • Responds constructively to diverse views
  • Writes clearly and concisely, using appropriate vocabulary and grammar, and message is easily understood
  • Maintains timely communications honestly and respectfully
  • Communication flow is logical and presents a reasonable sequence of thoughts

Risk Management

  • Identifies potential issues, problems and risks related to a situation or activity
  • Participates in the conduct of option analyses associated with risks
  • Understands and uses risk assessment methods and techniques

Negotiation Skills/Integration Function

  • Listens carefully and objectively to others
  • Presents information clearly and confidently
  • Uses concrete examples to make a point
  • Persuades others by appealing to reason
  • Maintains a positive attitude in relations with others
  • Asks appropriate questions and discloses information appropriately

Values and Ethics

  • Demonstrates values and ethics, as described by the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector, in personal and professional behaviours
  • Discusses ethical concerns with supervisor or colleagues and, when necessary, uses appropriate procedures to consult or disclose wrongdoing
  • Reflects excellence in client service delivery in own activities
  • Actively contributes to workplace well-being and to building a safe, healthy and respectful workplace
  • Supports and encourages diversity and bilingualism, including maintaining linguistic proficiency levels to better serve Canadians
  • Acts with transparency and fairness

Strategic Thinking: Analysis

  • Plans and adjusts work based on an understanding of requirements and priorities, and seeks clarification and direction, as appropriate
  • Considers relevant information from various sources to form a comprehensive perspective
  • Exercises sound judgment and obtains all relevant facts before making decisions
  • Analyzes setbacks and seeks honest feedback to learn from mistakes

Strategic Thinking: Ideas

  • Translates directions into concrete work activities
  • Suggests improvements through innovative solutions, approaches, products or services
  • Communicates ideas, views and concerns effectively and respectfully, and actively participates in exchanges of ideas with others (i.e., at meetings or planning sessions)
  • Makes well-thought-out recommendations to management
  • Effectively transfers knowledge

Engagement

  • Shares information broadly while observing relevant policies
  • Works collaboratively and relates effectively to others by practising, valuing and embracing the diversity of individuals, and by fostering respect and equity in the workplace, regardless of differences in values, personalities, or cultural or generational backgrounds.
  • Demonstrates excellence and recognizes the contribution and success of others
  • Consults colleagues, partners, clients, users and stakeholders, and acts on others' concerns
  • Elicits trust by modelling effective behaviours such as following through on commitments

Management Excellence: Action

  • Stays up to date on team goals, processes, and performance standards
  • Is action-oriented, sets priorities and makes the most of time available
  • Manages own work activities in light of changing organizational and public service priorities
  • Manages own and respects others' work-life balance
  • Is open to different or new solutions or approaches, and maintains a positive and constructive attitude in the face of change, setbacks or stressful situations
  • Embraces change and identifies early warning signals (i.e., trends, potential problems) and alerts the supervisor and others, as needed
  • Actively looks for opportunities to learn and develop professionally and personally; is open and committed to continuous learning

Management Excellence: People

  • Listens actively to and respects, considers and incorporates the views of others
  • Deals proactively with interpersonal or personal matters that could affect own performance
  • Demonstrates an understanding of team member roles and responsibilities, and balances own needs with those of the team or organization

Management Excellence: Finance

  • Uses government assets and resources appropriately and responsibly by understanding and applying related government policies
  • Fulfills legal obligations and policy requirements (such as for the acquisition, use and protection of materiel and public property, the safeguarding and management of information, and cooperation on audits, evaluations or reviews)

FI-02: Generic Job Profile (Level 2)

Oral and Written Communications

  • Presents ideas clearly and persuasively
  • Communicates in a manner that generates enthusiasm and commitment
  • Listens to other points of view and strives to give a balanced picture
  • Maintains open and continuous communication with others

Risk Management

  • Learns from experience, assesses risks, and makes recommendations for effective management and program delivery
  • Recognizes and advises on the probability of alternative outcomes for options, and realizes that not all new ventures will succeed
  • Evaluates controls to help mitigate risks through prevention, detection and correction

Negotiation Skills/Integration Function

  • Uses differences of opinion to explore alternative solutions to problems or concerns
  • Facilitates positive dialogue between others with the goal of resolving differences and reaching a win-win solution
  • Involves others in developing solutions or processes to ensure their support
  • Clarifies situations by exploring all parties' needs, concerns and positions
  • Uses legislative framework or third parties to influence others, as required

Values and Ethics

  • Integrates values and ethics, including the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector, into relations with peers, partners and stakeholders, and in staff practices
  • Reflects a commitment to citizens and clients in relations with peers, partners and stakeholders, and in staff activities
  • Fosters a climate of transparency, trust and respect among peers, stakeholders and staff and in partnerships
  • Is alert to and deals quickly with harassment and discrimination
  • Encourages bilingualism and diversity, based on official languages and employment equity policies
  • Builds and promotes a safe, healthy and respectful workplace
  • Manages work activities and transactions with transparency and fairness

Strategic Thinking: Analysis

  • Develops project work plans with an understanding of the functional area
  • Links information across individual work to form a comprehensive perspective
  • Tracks changing unit priorities and analyzes impact on peers, partners, stakeholders and staff activities
  • Seeks clarification and direction, as required

Strategic Thinking: Ideas

  • Translates unit direction into concrete project activities
  • Develops solutions to recurring problems
  • Encourages and incorporates creativity and learning
  • Redesigns own and staff work activities to meet changing project needs
  • Makes effective recommendations to management
  • Teaches and learns from others

Engagement

  • Shares information broadly with peers, partners, stakeholders and staff
  • Promotes collaboration among peers, partners, stakeholders and staff
  • Encourages open, constructive discussion of diverse perspectives
  • Manages own and staff interpersonal relationships
  • Relates effectively to people with disabilities or with different values, personalities or cultural backgrounds
  • Uses meetings as an opportunity to generate collegiality and unity
  • Listens to and acts on individuals' and the team's concerns
  • Solicits input from and listens to peers, partners, stakeholders and staff
  • Communicates work plans with clarity and commitment
  • Establishes regular and comprehensive exchanges of ideas with individuals and the team
  • Models and elicits trust

Management Excellence: Action

  • Ensures that work is congruent with formal procedures and regulations
  • Adapts regular procedures flexibly to best meet objectives
  • Maintains a positive outlook in the face of setbacks
  • Heeds early warning signals and advises management, as needed
  • Follows through on project plans from planning, implementing, monitoring and evaluating to reporting
  • Applies performance or service standards, where they exist
  • Manages activities on a daily basis

Management Excellence: People

  • Seeks to resolve interpersonal or personal problems that are affecting performance
  • Develops effective networks by seeking out opportunities for collaboration and strategic alliances
  • Assumes responsibility for agreements made in collaborative arrangements

Management Excellence: Finance

  • Pursues operational efficiencies and value for money
  • Applies and monitors rigorous systems for financial information management, internal audit and evaluation

FI-03: Generic Job Profile (Level 3)

Oral and Written Communications

  • Describes complex financial or technical issues clearly for non-financial and financial audiences
  • Builds a consensus and successfully addresses diverse views
  • Outlines policy requirements and provides guidance within policy
  • Defends or secures support for ideas or initiatives through such methods as briefing notes, position papers and recommendations to senior management
  • Delivers confident, consistent and coherent messages

Risk Management

  • Balances the level of risks and controls in operations when adopting alternative approaches
  • Develops and implements risk management and monitoring tools
  • Participates in developing and implementing contingency plans
  • Participates in discussions to mitigate risks

Negotiation Skills/Integration Function

  • Presents own point of view and takes issues forward in order to persuade or influence
  • Supports position with convincing information based on fact and the input of others
  • Responds to opposing views in a non-defensive manner
  • Keeps arguments issue-oriented
  • Understands when appropriate to make trade-offs

Values and Ethics

  • Integrates values and ethics, including the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Service, into unit practices
  • Reflects a commitment to citizens and clients in own and unit activities
  • Fosters a climate of transparency, trust and respect within the unit and in partnerships
  • Incorporates equitable practices into human resources management
  • Supports opportunities for and encourages bilingualism and diversity in the unit, based on official languages and employment equity policies
  • Builds and promotes a safe, healthy and respectful unit, free of harassment and discrimination
  • Acts with transparency and fairness in all transactions, including day-to-day activities

Strategic Thinking: Analysis

  • Translates the division's direction into concrete unit work activities
  • Designs solutions to operational problems
  • Encourages and incorporates diverse and creative initiatives and perspectives
  • Redesigns the unit's work activities to meet changing needs
  • Considers the people components of issues and decisions

Strategic Thinking: Ideas

  • Translates the division's direction into concrete unit work activities
  • Designs solutions to operational problems
  • Encourages and incorporates diverse and creative initiatives and perspectives
  • Redesigns the unit's work activities to meet changing needs
  • Considers the people components of issues and decisions

Engagement

  • Shares information broadly with staff and peers
  • Promotes collaboration among staff
  • Encourages open, constructive discussion of diverse perspectives
  • Manages interpersonal relationships among staff
  • Provides effective forums for individuals and the team to express ideas, views and concerns
  • Listens to and acts on staff concerns
  • Solicits input from and listens to staff, partners and stakeholders
  • Communicates work plans with clarity and commitment
  • Establishes regular and comprehensive exchanges of ideas with individuals and the team

Management Excellence: Action

  • Coordinates people's work activities
  • Delegates tasks to staff appropriately
  • Instructs staff on tasks, goals, processes and performance standards
  • Monitors activities to ensure they are carried out effectively and efficiently
  • Shifts priorities and adapts work plans to reflect changes
  • Integrates comptrollership, the Management Accountability Framework, federal legislation, regulations and policies into work practices
  • Manages own and others' work-life balance
  • Models successful coping with stressful situations
  • Manages activities on an ongoing basis

Management Excellence: People

  • Evaluates individual performance fairly, taking diversity into account
  • Identifies opportunities that challenge and encourage the development of people
  • Reduces stress factors in the workplace as much as possible
  • Addresses harassment or discrimination quickly
  • Works one-on-one with staff
  • Deals with ineffective performance
  • Provides regular feedback, acknowledges success and the need for improvement
  • Manages labour relations problems
  • Balances the needs of employees and the organization
  • Monitors and addresses workplace well-being
  • Develops and supports career plans and learning opportunities
  • Manages workload
  • Implements rigorous human resources practices

Management Excellence: Finance

  • Allocates and manages project resources transparently
  • Implements strategies to achieve operational efficiencies and value for money
  • Fulfills obligations for project finance and assets management
  • Acts on audit, evaluation and other objective project team performance information

FI-04: Generic Job Profile (Level 4)

Oral and Written Communications

  • Is sensitive to the timing of communication relative to other factors in the environment
  • Uses varied communication systems, methodologies and strategies to promote dialogue and deliver difficult messages

Risk Management

  • Develops, implements, monitors and revises risk management strategies
  • Evaluates options and puts forth recommendations to senior management

Negotiation Skills / Integration Function

  • Faces conflict but knows when compromise is appropriate
  • Assists in making effective trade-offs
  • Builds on points of agreement to achieve alternatives that optimize stakeholders' satisfaction

Values and Ethics

  • Integrates values and ethics, including the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector, into unit practices
  • Reflects a commitment to citizens and clients in own and unit activities
  • Fosters a climate of transparency, trust and respect within the unit and in partnerships
  • Incorporates equitable practices into human resources management and planning
  • Supports opportunities for and encourages bilingualism and diversity in the unit, based on official languages and employment equity policies
  • Builds and promotes a safe, healthy and respectful unit, free of harassment and discrimination
  • Acts with transparency and fairness in all transactions, including staffing, contracting and day-to-day activities

Strategic Thinking: Analysis

  • Frames division's or organization's direction with a thorough understanding of the directorate's priorities
  • Integrates information from multiple sources to form a comprehensive perspective
  • Identifies interdependencies in cross-functional projects

Strategic Thinking: Ideas

  • Translates vision and policy into concrete work activities
  • Develops division's or organization's strategies, based on the departmental vision and the director general's direction
  • Designs initiatives to enhance operational efficiency
  • Encourages and incorporates diverse initiatives and perspectives
  • Redesigns the division's or organization's work activities to meet changing departmental needs

Engagement

  • Shares information vertically and horizontally
  • Promotes collaboration among supervisors on related projects
  • Recognizes opportunities to enhance outcomes through partnerships
  • Manages group dynamics in a diverse workforce within the unit and across projects
  • Gives credit for the contributions of partners
  • Accurately represents the concerns, ideas and views of staff to upper management
  • Mediates and facilitates relationships between supervisors
  • Follows through on commitments
  • Communicates with clarity and commitment
  • Establishes regular and comprehensive exchanges of ideas

Management Excellence: Action

  • Establishes unit's or organization's targets for quality and productivity
  • Identifies financial and human resources requirements
  • Assigns and reallocates resources, as required, and capitalizes on diversity
  • Delegates appropriately to supervisors
  • Sets realistic timelines and clear accountabilities for supervisors
  • Provides structure and momentum for unit projects
  • Sets challenging but realistic goals
  • Identifies unit limits and resource requirements for workload
  • Manages unit workload through negotiating timelines, prudent resource planning and prioritizing
  • Encourages continuous learning in the unit and leads by example in this regard
  • Shifts priorities and adapts unit work plans, as required
  • Follows through on unit's business plan from planning, implementing, monitoring and evaluating to reporting
  • Integrates comptrollership, the Management Accountability Framework, federal legislation, regulations and policies into unit practices
  • Responds decisively and quickly to emerging opportunities or risks
  • Maintains composure in demanding, adverse or stressful situations to alleviate pressure and maintain momentum

Management Excellence: People

  • Works one-on-one with supervisors
  • Optimizes diversity among team members to build strong teams with complementary strengths
  • Supports and defends the interests of staff, as necessary and appropriate
  • Coaches, challenges and provides opportunities for growth
  • Secures mediation, if required
  • Resolves labour relations problems
  • Develops human resources strategy for unit succession planning
  • Secures funding for official languages and other training
  • Implements rigorous human resources practices and fulfills obligations of human resources management accountabilities

Management Excellence: Finance

  • Allocates and manages unit's or organization's resources transparently
  • Fulfills obligations of accountabilities for unit's or organization's finance and assets management

Appendix C: Internal Staffing Process Flow Chart

The following provides a depiction of the major steps involved in an internal public service appointment process. It is important to note that these apply only to an internal process as many of the activities for external appointment processes are quite different. For example, informal discussion, notification and recourse to the Public Service Staffing Tribunal do not apply to the external process.

Figure 9: Internal Staffing Process Flow Chart
Internal Staffing Process Flow Chart. Text version below:
Figure 9 - Text version

Figure 9 Internal Staffing Process Flow Chart provides a depiction of the 8 major steps involved in an internal public service appointment process. Step 1: Planning, considering business plan in conjunction with human resources and employment equity plans. Step 2: Establishing the Merit Criteria, set essential qualifications, asset qualifications, operational qualifications and organizational needs; Step 3: Choosing the appropriate process, consider priorities, choose whether it will be advertised or non-advertised and set area of selection; Step 4: Assessment, choose and apply assessment instruments; Step 5: Selecting the right fit, choose the "right fit" and recognize ranking is no longer required; Step 6: Notification, respect the waiting period and make an appointment; Step 7: Appointment which feeds into After Appointment to respond if any complaints to the Public Service Staffing Tribunal (for internal participants only) and carry out investigations, take corrective action or revoke, if necessary. Once completed go to Step 8 which is lessons learned where you plan for the future and report on results. It should be noted that Informal Discussion is provided throughout the assessment, selection and notification processes. The diagram also indicates actions that may be taken after the appointment such as responses to complaints made to the Public Service Staffing Tribunal which may result in investigations, corrective action or revocations being incurred.

Appendix D: Generic Statements of Merit Criteria for Financial Management Positions

Part 1: Definitions and Experience

Definitions

Experience

Means the depth and breadth of engagement in the performance of the duties identified.

Depth of experience

Means the degree of specialization. A time period is normally used to determine the depth required.

Breadth of experience

Means the degree of direct involvement within and across one or more financial management activities.

Knowledge

Means the act, fact or state of knowing (awareness or understanding).

Senior Management

Means EX-01 and above or equivalent.

Experience

Qualifiers such as "recent", "significant" and "extensive" should be used where appropriate.

The following are recommended for the individual levels:

FI-01

Recent experience: Means experience acquired within the last 12 to 24 months.

Note: Normally, there is no need to use qualifiers, as the FI-01 level is the entry level to the FI category and managers will be looking for basic experience required for the position to be staffed.

FI-02

Recent experience: Means experience acquired within the last two to three years.

Significant experience (depth and/or breadth): Means experience acquired through the performance of a broad range of related activities in the field of work in question. Such experience is normally acquired through full-time employment over a minimum period of two years.

Recent and significant experience: Means experience acquired through the performance of a broad range of related activities in the field of work in question. Such experience is normally acquired over a minimum period of two years (consecutive months) in the last three years.

Note: Although defined, qualifiers are not normally used at the FI-02 level.

FI-03

Recent experience: Means experience acquired within the last three to five years.

Significant experience (depth and/or breadth): Means experience acquired through the performance of a broad range of related activities in the field of work in question. Such experience is normally acquired through full-time employment over a period of three years.

Recent and significant experience: Means experience acquired through the performance of a broad range of related activities in the field of work in question. Such experience is normally acquired over a period of three years (cumulative experience) in the last five years.

Extensive experience (depth and breadth): Means experience acquired through direct responsibility for a wide variety of complex files and/or projects in the field of work in question. Such experience is normally acquired through full-time employment over a period of three years.

FI-04

Recent experience: Means experience acquired within the last three to five years.

Significant experience (depth and/or breadth): Means experience acquired through the performance of a broad range of related activities in the field of work in question. Such experience is normally acquired through full-time employment over a period of three to five years.

Recent and significant experience: Means experience acquired through the performance of a broad range of related activities in the field of work in question. Such experience is normally acquired over a period of three years (cumulative experience) in the last five years.

Extensive experience (depth and breadth): Means experience acquired through direct responsibility for a wide variety of complex files and/or projects in the field of work in question. Such experience is normally acquired through full-time employment over a period of five years.

Knowledge

Normally, qualifiers are not used when describing depth and breadth of knowledge. Instead, organizations identify the particular type of knowledge required to competently perform the job. The level of understanding that is expected changes with the responsibilities and/or accountabilities associated with the job.

Should organizations wish to qualify knowledge elements, the following are recommended:

FI-01

No qualifiers are used at this level, as it is the entry level to the FI category. Managers should be looking for an awareness or foundational understanding of the knowledge elements sought.

Candidates should be able, with guidance, to apply their understanding to routine activities.

FI-02

Sound knowledge: Demonstrates an understanding of the subject matter and can apply it to a broad range of activities.

FI-03

Sound knowledge: Demonstrates an understanding of the subject matter and can apply it to a broad range of activities.

In-depth knowledge: Demonstrates a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter and an ability to apply it in new and/or complex situations.

Note: Complexity refers to situations that require knowledge of many intricate or interconnected elements and of the relationships between these elements to arrive at a solution.

FI-04

Sound knowledge: Demonstrates an understanding of the subject matter and can apply it to a broad range of activities.

In-depth knowledge: Demonstrates a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter and an ability to apply it in new and/or complex situations.

Note: Complexity refers to situations that require knowledge of many intricate or interconnected elements and of the relationships between these elements to arrive at a solution.

Part 2: Statements of Merit Criteria and Conditions of Employment for FI-01 to FI-04

Statement of Merit Criteria and Conditions of Employment: FI-01

Position Number:
Selection Process Number:
Position Title(s): Junior Financial Officer
Classification(s): FI-01
Federal Organization(s) – Sub-Organization(s):
Location(s):

Essential Qualifications:
Education:
  • Successful completion of two years of a post-secondary program, with specialization in accounting, finance, business administration, commerce or economics; or
  • Possession of the Government of Canada Financial Management Certificate.

Education is based on the Financial Management (FI) Group Qualification Standard. The criteria represent the minimum education requirements for FI-01 positions. Managers may request a higher level of education, if warranted.

Experience:
  • Experience in using software applications such as Microsoft Office Excel, Word, etc. (identify the specific software applications for which experience is sought).
  • Experience in extracting, compiling and analyzing financial information and preparing reports.

Additional experience criteria, based on the requirements of the position, may be added to the SoMC.

Knowledge:
  • Knowledge of the Financial Administration Act and the Treasury Board's financial management policies, directives and guidelines.
  • Knowledge of accounting principles and standards (including GAAP, PSAB standards and IFRS).

Additional critical knowledge criteria may be added as required by the position.

Competencies:
  • Values and Ethics
  • Oral and Written Communications
  • Engagement
  • Strategic Thinking: Ideas and Analysis

Competencies are those identified in the FI Competency Profile. The proficiency level for each competency is normally based on the requirements of the position being staffed but at a minimum is based on the competency proficiency for the FI level being staffed. The SoMC should indicate the level of proficiency sought, and a copy of the FI Competency Profile should be attached. Additional competencies may be added to the list if they are deemed critical to the position being staffed.

Official Language Proficiency:

Official language proficiency is based on the job requirements.

Asset Qualifications:
  • Bachelor's degree, with a specialization in accounting, business administration, finance, commerce and/or economics; or
  • Eligibility for a professional designation (CMA, CGA or CA)

Asset qualifications are optional. A note stating that proof of Canadian equivalency will be required for degrees obtained outside of Canada should be included in the SoMC.

Operational Requirements:

Operational requirements are based on integrated human resources and business planning documents.

Conditions of Employment:

Security Clearance

  • Enhanced reliability

Security clearance is based on the position requirements.

Statement of Merit Criteria and Conditions of Employment: FI-02

Position Number:
Selection Process Number:
Position Title(s): Financial Officer
Classification(s): FI-02
Federal Organization(s) – Sub-Organization(s):
Location(s):

Essential Qualifications:
Education:
  • Graduation with a degree from a recognized university, with specialization in accounting, finance, business administration, commerce or economics and experience related to positions in the Financial Management (FI) Group; or
  • Eligibility for a recognized professional accounting designation (CMA, CGA, CA)

Education is based on the FI Group Qualification Standard. The criteria represent the minimum education requirements for FI-02 positions. Managers may request a higher level of education, if warranted. A note stating that proof of Canadian equivalency will be required for degrees obtained outside Canada should be included in the SoMC.

Experience:
  • Experience in interpreting and applying policies, guidelines and procedures.
  • Experience in extracting, compiling and analyzing financial information and in preparing reports, including recommendations.
  • Experience in providing advice and support to managers on financial management matters.
  • Experience in at least one area of financial management within the federal public service (This could be the area in which the position is being sought or another area that is relevant to the position, as required by the position).

Qualifiers, such as "recent" or "significant" may be used to describe the depth and breadth of experience required, but such use is not encouraged. Additional experience criteria, based on the requirements of the position, may be added to the SoMC, as required.

Knowledge:
  • Knowledge of the Financial Administration Act and the Treasury Board's financial management policies, directives and guidelines.
  • Knowledge of accounting principles and standards (including GAAP, PSAB standards and IFRS).
  • Knowledge of techniques, methods, procedures and practices related to financial management.
  • Knowledge of the department's mandate, governing legislation, and key roles and responsibilities.

If required, "sound knowledge" could be used to qualify the depth of knowledge required. Additional knowledge criteria may be added, as required.

Competencies:
  • Oral and Written Communications
  • Engagement
  • Strategic Thinking: Ideas
  • Values and Ethics

Competencies are those identified in the FI Competency Profile. The proficiency level sought for each competency is normally based on the requirements of the position being staffed but at a minimum is based on the competency proficiency for the FI level being staffed. The SoMC should indicate the level of proficiency sought, and a copy of the FI Competency Profile should be attached. Additional competencies may be added to the list if they are deemed critical to the position being staffed.

Official Language Proficiency:

Official language proficiency is based on the job requirements.

Asset Qualifications:

Asset qualifications are optional but provide flexibility to managers in ensuring that candidates are the "right fit" for the organization. These criteria may reflect specific knowledge, experience and competencies that are deemed "nice to have" but that are not essential to the position.

Operational Requirements:

Operational requirements are based on integrated human resources and business planning documents.

Conditions of Employment:

Security Clearance

  • Enhanced reliability

Security clearance is based on the position requirements.

Statement of Merit Criteria and Conditions of Employment: FI-03

Position Number:
Selection Process Number:
Position Title(s): Intermediate Financial Officer
Classification(s): FI-03
Federal Organization(s) – Sub-Organization(s):
Location(s):

Essential Qualifications:
Education:
  • Graduation with a degree from a recognized university, with specialization in accounting, finance, business administration, commerce or economics and experience related to positions in the Financial Management (FI) Group; or
  • Eligibility for a recognized professional accounting designation (CMA, CGA, CA)

Education is based on the FI Group Qualification Standard. The criteria represent the minimum education requirements for FI-03 positions. Managers may request a higher level of education, if warranted. A note stating that proof of Canadian equivalency will be required for degrees obtained outside Canada should be included in the SoMC.

Experience:
  • Experience in interpreting and applying laws, policies, guidelines and procedures.
  • Experience in providing expert advice, guidance, briefings and recommendations to senior management (see the definition in Part 1) on complex financial management issues.
  • Experience in at least two areas of financial management within the federal public service (identify the areas of financial management for which experience is sought).
  • Experience in analyzing and interpreting complex financial information.
  • Experience in supervising staff (This criterion is optional depending on the type of FI-03 position being staffed).

Qualifiers such as "recent" or "significant" should be used to describe the depth and breadth of experience required for the position.

Additional experience criteria, based on the requirements of the position, may be added to the SoMC.

Knowledge:
  • Knowledge of the Financial Administration Act and the Treasury Board's financial management policies, directives and guidelines.
  • Knowledge of the department's mandate, governing legislation, priorities, and key roles and responsibilities.
  • Knowledge of pan-government financial management priorities and issues.

If required, qualifiers such as "sound" and "in-depth" may be used to describe the breadth of knowledge required for the position.

Additional critical knowledge criteria may be added as required by the position.

Competencies:
  • Values and Ethics
  • Strategic Thinking: Ideas
  • Engagement
  • Management excellence: Action
  • Management excellence: People (This criterion is optional depending on the type of FI-03 position being staffed).

Competencies are those identified in the FI Competency Profile. The proficiency level for each competency is normally based on the requirements of the position being staffed but at a minimum is based on the competency proficiency for the FI level being staffed. The SoMC should indicate the level of proficiency sought, and a copy of the FI Competency Profile should be attached. Additional competencies may be added to the list if they are deemed critical to the position being staffed.

Official Language Proficiency:

Official language proficiency is based on the job requirements.

Asset Qualifications:

Asset qualifications are optional but provide flexibility to managers in ensuring that candidates are the "right fit" for the organization. These criteria may reflect specific knowledge, experience and competencies that are deemed "nice to have" but that are not essential to the position.

Operational Requirements:

Operational requirements are based on integrated human resources and business planning documents.

Conditions of Employment:

Security Clearance

  • Enhanced reliability

Security clearance is based on the position requirements.

Statement of Merit Criteria and Conditions of Employment: FI-04

Position Number:
Selection Process Number:
Position Title(s): Senior Financial Officer
Classification(s): FI-04
Federal Organization(s) – Sub-Organization(s):
Location(s):

Essential Qualifications:
Education:
  • Graduation with a degree from a recognized university, with specialization in accounting, finance, business administration, commerce or economics and experience related to positions in the Financial Management (FI) Group; or
  • Eligibility to a recognized professional accounting designation (CMA, CGA, CA)

Education is based on the FI Group Qualification Standard. The criteria represent the minimum education requirements for FI-04 positions. Managers may request a higher level of education, if warranted. A note stating that proof of Canadian equivalency will be required for degrees obtained outside Canada should be included in the SoMC.

Experience:
  • Experience in providing strategic advice, analysis, briefings, presentations and recommendations to senior management on a full range of financial management issues.
  • Experience in at least three areas of financial management within the federal public service (The areas of financial management in which experience is sought should be identified).
  • Experience in managing financial and human resources.

Qualifiers such as "recent," "significant" and "extensive" should be used to describe the depth and breadth of experience required for the position.

Additional experience criteria, based on the requirements of the position, may be added to the SoMC.

Knowledge:
  • Knowledge of the Financial Administration Act and the Treasury Board's financial management policies, directives and guidelines.
  • Knowledge of the department's mandate, governing legislation, priorities, and key roles and responsibilities.
  • Knowledge of pan-government financial management priorities and emerging issues.
  • Knowledge of government priorities as they relate to the mandate of the department.

Qualifiers, such as "sound" and "in-depth" may be used to describe the depth of knowledge required for the position.

Additional critical knowledge criteria, based on the requirements of the position, may be added to the SoMC.

Competencies:
  • Oral and Written Communications
  • Values and Ethics
  • Strategic Thinking: Ideas
  • Engagement
  • Management excellence: Action
  • Management excellence: People

Competencies are those identified in the FI Competency Profile. The proficiency level for each competency is normally based on the requirements of the position being staffed but at a minimum is based on the competency proficiency for the FI level being staffed. The SoMC should indicate the level of proficiency required, and a copy of the FI Competency Profile should be attached. Additional competencies maybe added to the list if they are deemed critical to the position being staffed.

Official Language Proficiency:

Official language proficiency is based on the job requirements. CBC/CBC is suggested for FI-04 positions.

Asset Qualifications:

Asset qualifications are optional but provide flexibility to managers in ensuring that candidates are the "right fit" for the organization. These criteria may reflect specific knowledge, experience and competencies that are deemed "nice to have" but that are not essential to the position.

Operational Requirements:

Operational requirements are based on integrated human resources and business planning documents.

Conditions of Employment:

Security Clearance

  • Enhanced reliability

The level of security clearance is based on the position requirements.

Appendix E: Sample Completed STAR Formula Template

The STAR formula ("Situation," "Task," "Action" and "Result") is a process used to describe real-life work situations in order to demonstrate competency proficiency. This appendix contains a completed example of a STAR formula template.

STAR Formula

Situation:

Approximate date(s):

Section 1: Situation

(background to the situation: 50 to 100 words)

Set the scene: What is the problem or issue?

Section 2: Task and Action

(what you did, how you did it, and your role in the situation: 200 to 400 words)

Indicate what task you were assigned, and explain the action you took.

Section 3: Result

(Outcome of the situation: 50 to 100 words)

What was the outcome of your actions?

Why is this a good example of how you demonstrate this competency?

The following is an example of a behavioural example for the "Strategic Thinking: Ideas" competency at the FI-02 level using the STAR formula:

STAR Formula

Situation: Audit of relocation files

Approximate date(s): to

Section 1: Situation

(background to the situation: 50 to 100 words)

The department required an audit of its relocation files. However, in the past, the audit procedures and auditing process for this particular type of audit had been done by a single individual. This time, the file was to be worked on by a team. As a result, this required modifications to the procedures.

Section 2: Task and Action

(what you did, how you did it, and/or your role in the situation: 200 to 400 words)

I was asked to develop a work plan, conduct the analysis and propose recommendations to management.

I reviewed the current procedures, analyzed the methods and techniques used as part of the audit, identified those procedures that could be used for the purposes of this year's audit, and redesigned them to make them easier to follow and practical for a team. I developed a checklist to simplify the audit work and recording of results. I shared my ideas and recommendations with the team. My proposals were well accepted, and feedback received from the team was incorporated into the work plan to further improve the process.

A backlog of audit files also existed. I recommended to management a way to remediate the problem by auditing the current year files first so that if any action needed to be taken, it could be done as opposed to starting with the older files first. I also recommended setting a materiality level for the audits. All recommendations were accepted and implemented.

Section 3: Result

(Outcome of the situation: 50 to 100 words)

The audit was completed on time, and the proposed recommendations were approved and implemented.

This is a good example of how I meet this competency, as I played a critical role in the success of this audit by designing the work plan and modifying the audit procedures for a team setting.

Appendix F: Sample Letter to Be Sent to Interviewees

The following is text for a sample letter that can be sent to candidates who are being invited to a behavioural interview. It outlines specifics on how candidates can prepare.

To Candidates Participating in Behavioural Interviews

Answering Behavioural Interview Questions

Often, behavioural interviews are used when some of the selection criteria are based on competencies. Behavioural questions are designed to find out about your past experience and accomplishments that relate to the competencies required in the target job.

For example, if communication has been listed as a job requirement on the Statement of Merit Criteria, you may be asked to describe a situation when you demonstrated your communications skills. A thorough answer will cover the following elements:

  • The situation or activity in which you were involved;
  • The action you took to complete the activity or address the situation; and
  • The result of your action.

Preparing for the Behavioural Interview

Some hiring managers give the behavioural questions to candidates shortly before the interview. This will give you an opportunity to think of situations ahead of time that illustrate how you demonstrated the competencies being assessed. Recall as many details as you can about the situation so that you can talk specifically about how you acted and why, the actions and reactions of others, and outcomes.

If you do not receive the questions ahead of time, you can still prepare for behavioural questions. Once you have reviewed the competency requirements listed on the Statement of Merit Criteria, recall times when you have demonstrated these competencies. Again, try and remember as many specifics as you can, keeping in mind the three elements of a behavioural response: the situation, your actions and the results. When you are talking about the situation during the interview, think of it as telling a story about an event in your life.

Appendix G: Sample Assessment Guide

Rating guides are used in conjunction with assessment processes and methods such as interviews and reference checks and are most commonly used for the assessment of qualifications. They include a set of predetermined and clearly articulated criteria against which a candidate's qualifications are measured.

Rating scales are used to enhance the reliability (consistency) and validity of rating judgments and ensure that all individuals are treated in a fair and non-discriminatory manner.

Rating guides normally use a progressive scale to rate an individual's response. In the example provided below, the rating scale ranges from 2 to 10. As indicated in section 3 of this guide, managers seek to determine an individual's proficiency in a given competency along a spectrum as illustrated below.

Figure 10: Competency Proficiency Scale
Competency Proficiency Scale. Text version below:
Figure 10 - Text version

The competency proficiency scale is an instrument used to measure one's ability to demonstrate a competency on the job along a spectrum ranging from "Not performing" to "Exceeds".

The proposed rating guide enables managers to determine an individual's proficiency level along the spectrum by breaking down the scale into three categories. In order to meet the requirements of the position (i.e., to be deemed to be proficient), the individual must score at least 5. Category 2–4 represents scores that do not meet the proficiency level sought for the position, Category 5–7 represents scores that meet the proficiency level sought, and Category 8–10 represents scores that exceed the proficiency level sought. An individual's rating within the category will depend on the depth and breadth of their response in relation to the criteria.

When competencies are used as part of the selection process, the criteria used to measure a candidate's qualifications are those identified in the competency dictionary for the competency being assessed.

In the following example, the competency proficiency level sought is Level 2 (FI-02). Therefore, assessment criteria identified under Category 2–4 would represent a summary of the criteria found under proficiency Level 1 (FI-01), and criteria identified under Categories 8–10 would represent a summary of the criteria found under proficiency Level 3 (FI-03). Category 5–7 represents a summary of criteria found under proficiency Level 2 (FI-02), as this is the proficiency level sought for the position.

Question
(Behavioural-based question from question bank)
Rated Requirement
(Include the competency criteria for the proficiency level sought)
Expected Response Elements
(Summary of criteria elements found at the lower and higher level of proficiency than the one that is sought)
Rating
(Include all notes taken during the assessment process and determine appropriate marking)

A-1: Strategic Thinking: Analysis

Please provide an example of a problem you have solved that required analysis.

Probing questions:

  • What methods did you use?
  • What conclusions did you reach?

Strategic Thinking: Analysis (Level 2)

  • Develops project work plans with an understanding of the functional area
  • Links information across individual work to form a comprehensive perspective
  • Tracks changing unit priorities and analyzes impact on peers, partners, stakeholders and staff activities
  • Seeks clarification and direction, as required

Category 2–4: The example demonstrates the candidate's ability to consider relevant information from various sources, exercise sound judgment and obtain all relevant facts before making decisions, and plan and adjust own work based on requirements and priorities.

Category 5–7: The example shows the candidate's ability to link information to form a comprehensive perspective, analyze impact on activities of others, and develop project work plans.

Category 8–10: The example shows the candidate's ability to coordinate information from multiple projects, identify interdependencies and develop unit direction.

 

Appendix H: Sample reference check questionnaire

Reference Check

Financial Analyst, FI-03
Selection Process No.
[Department Name]

Name of Candidate:

Name of Reference:

Telephone Number:

Relationship of reference to Candidate:

For how long has the reference known the candidate?

Date of reference check:

Reference check done by:

Signature:

Competency Being Assessed: Strategic Thinking: Analysis

Proficiency Level 2 Criteria:

  • Develops project work plans with an understanding of the functional area.
  • Links information across individual work to form a comprehensive perspective.
  • Tracks changing unit priorities and analyzes impact on peers, partners, stakeholders and staff activities.
  • Seeks clarification and direction, as required.

Opening remarks:

As (insert name) has given your name as a reference, I would like to ask you about his/her abilities in different areas. For each area, I will be asking whether you have observed (insert name) demonstrating specific behaviours related to each qualification. You may have observed him/her demonstrating some behaviours and not others; this is to be expected. If you have not observed (insert name) demonstrating this behaviour, please say so.

Questions:

Has (insert name) had to solve a problem that required a great deal of analysis?

If so, can you recall how he/she resolved the problem?

Suggested probing questions:

  • What made the problem difficult?
  • How did he/she approach the problem?
  • What methods did he/she use to analyze the problem?
  • What conclusions did he/she reach?
  • Did he/she involve other people? How?
  • Were you involved? How?
  • Did he/she encounter any roadblocks? How were they dealt with?
  • What would you describe as his/her strengths when analyzing problems?
  • If he/she had to handle the same problem again, what would you recommend be done differently?

Reference's response:

Appendix I: Financial Management Competency-Based Assessment Template

Consult the FI Competency Profile and identify the required proficiency level for the employee's job or role. Using the STAR formula (see Appendix E), for each competency provide one or two examples of situations where the employee has demonstrated the behavioural indicators or criteria. Evaluate each situation against the proficiency level for the job or role. Section 3 of this guide contains detailed instructions.

Competency Profiles

Existing Position:

Target Position:

Competency Required Proficiency Insufficient Basic Proficient Advanced Situational examples
Oral and Written Communications            
Risk Management            
Negotiation/Persuading            
Values and Ethics            
Strategic Thinking: Analysis            
Strategic Thinking: Ideas            
Engagement            
Management Excellence: Action            
Management Excellence: People            
Management Excellence: Finance            
Accounting operations            
Planning and Resource Management            
Financial Policy            
Financial Systems            

Identifying Gaps in Competencies

The following table can be used to record gaps identified during assessment.

Gaps That Require Learning Activities
Competency Gap identified Target and Specific Behaviours Comments
Oral and written communication      
Risk management      
Negotiation/persuading      
Values and ethics      
Strategic thinking: Analysis      
Strategic thinking: Ideas      
Engagement      
Management excellence: Action      
Management excellence: Action      
Management excellence: Finance      
Accounting operations      
Planning and resource management      
Financial policy      
Financial systems      

Note: Employees should work on improving a maximum of two or three competencies a year.

Additional Comments

Completed by:

Date:

Appendix J: Sample Learning Plan

This sample learning and development plan template is provided for illustrative purposes only. Please use your departmental forms when available.

Learning and Development Plan

Part 1: Identify your learning needs and objectives (including official languages training)
Targeted Competencies, Knowledge and Skills Operational Requirements / Current Position
(as per the objectives defined in section 2 of your performance evaluation)
Career Development
(set your objectives below)
What do I need to work on for my current job? What skills and knowledge will I need for the job I aspire to?
Learning Objectives I want to learn...  
Performance Indicators I will know that I have achieved my objective when...  
Part 2: Identify Your Learning Activities and Timelines
Learning Activities
(How do I plan to learn...)
Dates Investments (money, time, etc.) Agreed Completed
Employee Dept. Yes No %
              %
              %
Comments/Reasons:
Part 3: Discuss your personal learning plan
I have discussed my learning plan with my manager Employee Date (YYYY-MM-DD)
I concur with these learning activities Manager Date (YYYY-MM-DD)

Appendix K: Contact Names for the Financial Management Community Development Division

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