Effective financial management can help municipalities to transform their local areas into a better place to live and work. Most communities know what municipal services they would like to have in their area. This dream of the ideal community is known as a "vision" for the municipality.

The community should be involved as much as possible in deciding what should be the spending priorities for the area they live in. Local communities should be informed about the broad budget plans and consult the residents about programmes and projects that will affect them.

Without funds to implement the policies, municipalities will not be able to "make a difference" or serve their communities well. Effective financial management ensures that there are funds available to implement municipal policies. This is a great responsibility as municipalities are responsible for managing large amounts of money and delivering services that affect people's lives every day. Municipalities have a duty to ensure that these monies are managed carefully, transparently and honestly.

Good financial management is the key to local delivery – local activists and local residents should understand municipal finance and budgets so that they can be engaged on the bigger debates about spending and development priorities.