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Thursday, December 29, 2005

EU Clears Oracle to Buy Siebel Systems: Financial News - Yahoo! Finance

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) -- The European Commission on Thursday cleared Oracle Corp.'s proposed US$5.85 billion (euro5 billion) acquisition of rival Siebel Systems Inc., the last regulatory hurdle for the deal.

Friday, December 23, 2005

OPM financial and procurement shop seeks software training

The Office of Personnel Management is seeking a third party to train the agency's workforce on new software designed to help modernize its financial and procurement systems.

In a recent notice, OPM said its Financial Systems Modernization Project Office (FSMPO) requires training in Oracle Federal Financials 11i, an off-the-shelf package that the agency will use for its modernization project.

The training should be a high-level overview of the software's federal financial applications and cover features, implementation considerations and module integration.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Interior extends financial system recompete

The Interior Department has extended the deadline for proposals from vendors to work on the Financial and Business Modernization System, the agency's core enterprise resource planning system.

The department ousted systems integrator BearingPoint Inc. from the job in September and is seeking a new vendor to take over the McLean, Va. company's work.

Interior has extended the proposal due date from this month to early January, according to procurement consultants Input of Reston, Va.

FBMS is intended to provide comprehensive financial services for Interior's various agencies and bureaus and could reach a value of $80 million to $120 million over five years, according to industry estimates.

EEOC Finances in Order

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’ financial reporting has been approved for the second consecutive year.

Independent auditors pored through the Commission’s FY 2005 financial records and found the agency had presented the information accurately and fairly.

EEOC’s FY 2005 financial records can be found at http://www.eeoc.gov/abouteeoc/plan/par/2005/index.html.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

www.GovExec.com - OMB report shows mixed progress on technology initiatives (12/20/05)

In the past year, the federal government met major information technology milestones and saw increased use of e-government services by citizens, businesses and agencies, according to a report released Monday by the Office of Management and Budget.

Titled "Expanding E-Government: Improved Service Delivery for the American People Using Information Technology," the report assessed progress in 2005 and set goals for the coming year.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Energy struggles with IT security financial systems

Two reports just released by the Energy Department's inspector general are critical of the department's cybersecurity efforts.

In a special report released Dec. 19, cybersecurity is one of seven areas that IG Gregory Friedman considers a significant management challenge for the department.

"[O]ur annual evaluation of the department's unclassified cybersecurity program noted weaknesses that could compromise critical systems if left uncorrected," the report stated. "We found problems with ensuring that: (1) only authorized individuals could access information resources; (2) duties and responsibilities for processing financial transactions were properly segregated; and (3) modifications to applications and systems were authorized and properly controlled."

In the area of financial management, in a separate memo to Energy secretary Samuel Bodman dated Nov. 14 but posted to the IG's Web site in the past few days, Friedman reported that the department failed its financial audit for fiscal 2005. He attributed much of the failure to problems in implementing a new accounting system.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Defense financial problems sink another federal audit

The Defense Department is one of four agencies whose serious financial-management deficiencies continue to be the biggest impediment to the federal government achieving a clean financial bill of health according to the Government Accountability Office.

Four of the 24 major agencies failed their audit: Defense, NASA, and the Energy and Homeland Security departments.

The inability of the government to adequately account for spending between agencies and agencies' ineffective processes to complete their consolidated financial statements also were major weaknesses, GAO said in a report last week. Despite these weaknesses, agencies still were able to meet requirements to file year-end statements on an accelerated schedule, within 45 days.

GAO was assessing the Treasury Department's Fiscal 2005 Financial Report of the U.S. Government. The federal fiscal year ended Sept. 30.

USDA to replace financial management system

The Agriculture Department will seek proposals to replace its core financial management system to improve its performance and comply with federal accounting and system standards.

The acquisition will include program management, transition and migration support, application and integrator services, and hosting services for the USDA Financial Management Modernization Initiative.

The request for proposals will be available on or about Dec. 29. Agriculture will conduct a pre-proposal conference in mid-January 2006, the department said in a pre-solicitation notice last week.

Survey: CIOs insecure about President's Management Agenda

Federal chief information officers and other information technology leaders are much less confident of their progress toward implementing crucial elements of the President's Management Agenda, a new survey finds.

The Association for Federal Information Resources Management, a nonprofit industry group that conducted the survey, noted a precipitous decline in respondents who think the federal government is making progress on the Office of Management and Budget's lines of business and e-government initiatives.

Only 15 percent of those surveyed thought their agencies were making progress on e-government and the lines of business, down from 44 percent in 2004.

The number of those who saw little progress more than doubled, from 10 percent in 2004 to 26 percent.

www.GovExec.com - Government flunks annual audit, again (12/16/05)

For the ninth year running, the federal government failed to achieve a clean financial audit, largely because of accounting issues at the Pentagon.

This year's results, released on Thursday, looked much like those from recent years. Internal problems with government accounting systems prevented the Government Accountability Office from reaching a reliable conclusion about the accuracy of the Treasury Department's Fiscal Year 2005 Financial Report of the U.S. Government.

Interior adding services customers to Lines of Business

The Interior Department's National Business Center is preparing up to four proposals to compete to provide financial management services for agencies as a center of excellence under the Lines of Business Consolidation Initiative.

The NBC, Interior's fee-for-service business provider, hopes to add some of those proposals as customers, said NBC director Doug Bourgeois. The center was a financial management shared-services provider before the Office of Management and Budget introduced the current Lines of Business initiative. In fact, financial management accounts for 25 percent of NBC business, Bourgeois said.

"The challenge is to create a business model for financial management services that is on par with the private sector while complying with federal regulations," Bourgeois said yesterday at an industry event sponsored by market research firm Input Inc. of Reston, Va.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

GAO faults U.S. financial reporting

The U.S. government didn't maintain effective controls over financial reporting in the latest fiscal year, potentially skewering the accuracy of federal financial statements, a congressional investigative group found. In a letter to President Bush and Congress, Comptroller General of the United States David Walker said government accountants found 'material deficiencies' in the federal government's financial statements for 2005 and 2004. 'The federal government did not maintain effective internal control over financial reporting...and compliance with significant laws and regulations as of September 30, 2005,' wrote Walker, who heads the Government Accountability Office.

Smoothing out the bumps in program management

Be engaged, inspire employees and keep the lines of communication open with contracting staff - those are a few of the suggestions made by a panel on program management, sponsored by the E-Gov Institute recently in Washington.

Three government officials shared ideas on how to bridge the divide between program officials and contracting staff during the acquisition process.

Susan Gerbing, program manager for the Health IT Program Management Office, Office of Information at the Veterans Health Administration, gave an example of the difficulties that can arise in a large acquisition. The Veterans Affairs Department?s Core Financial and Logistics System (CoreFLS) was a $472 million financial management system that died on the vine in part because of poor communication, she said.

Future e-gov must integrate past lessons

For electronic government, the future is less about IT and more about standardizing business practices. Enter the Office of Management and Budgets' Lines of Business consolidation initiative - in effect, the next generation of e-government.

OMB launched its LOB effort in February 2004, focusing on case management, federal health architecture, financial management, human resources management and grants management. The administration added IT Security last February and likely will put together task forces to look at procurement, geospatial and records management as potential LOB next year.

OMB has certified agency Centers of Excellence to provide human resources or financial services to agencies based on a set of qualifications. While IT systems must be up to par, agencies? ability to accept and process data in a standard way is the key to the success of future e-gov programs.

www.GovExec.com - Three agencies honored with top management awards (12/14/05)

The Office of Personnel Management on Tuesday announced the winners of the 2005 President's Quality Award, the top management honor for executive branch agencies.

Four awards were granted for management excellence in three categories. OPM selected winners from 47 submissions, and honored them at an official awards ceremony at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington on Tuesday night.

The award for Overall Management went to the Labor Department in recognition of its effectiveness in implementing the five components of the President's Management Agenda: personnel reform, competitive sourcing, financial management, electronic government and performance budgeting.

Labor was the first and has been the only agency to earn the highest rating -- "green" -- in each category on the administration's management score card. It earned praise for enhancing performance through monthly departmental Management Review Board meetings to discuss cross-cutting management issues, and the establishment of internal PMA score cards for its 15 agencies and components.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Matthews resigns as Transportation CIO

Dan Matthews, the Transportation Department's chief information officer, is the latest federal information technology executive to resign from office. Matthews said he plans to return to Lockheed Martin, where he worked for 17 years.

Status check: 2006 appropriations bills almost complete

Capitol Hill is seeing its seasonal flurry of activity as Congress tries to wrap up its work on several fiscal 2006 appropriations bills that must pass so the rest of the government can get to work in the new year.

Before going home for the Thanksgiving holiday, Congress passed a second continuing resolution keeping the government open until Dec. 17. Two spending bills - the Defense bill (HR 2863) and the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education departments and related agencies bill (HR 3010) - remain unfinished heading into the last few weeks of the 109th congressional session, and more than two months into fiscal 2006.

Of note:
Immigration and Customs Enforcement - $40.2 million for systems modernization
Labor - $6.2 million for new core accounting system
Justice - $10 million for a unified financial-management system administered by the Unified Financial Management System Executive Council
OPM - $1.4 million for the E-Payroll project; $1.4 million for the Human Resources Line of Business effort.



New methods promise to change the financial and administrative processes of state government

Look out - with budgets recovering from years of hardship, and delayed projects getting back on track, the state and local government finance and administration market is expected to generate some substantial heat in 2006.

One of the forces driving the new projects is a simple concept, though one that industry officials said has, of late, largely been ignored by the public sector: Understand what resources you've got, where they are and how they're being used.

Having grappled since 2000 with severe budget shortfalls, states have emerged from that crucible determined to implement new automated financial and business applications that will let them save money, operate more efficiently and better understand their fiscal positions.

OPM PASSES AUDIT

The Office of Personnel Management accurately reported its FY 2005 financial data, according to an independent audit released last week.

A private sector financial company, KPMG, reviewed OPM's financial reporting practices and balance sheets of the retirement, health benefits and life insurance programs.

"In our opinion, the financial statements ... present fairly, in all material respects, the consolidated financial position of OPM and the financial position of each of the programs as of Sept. 30, 2005 and 2004," the report accompanying the audit stated.

The audit also stated that OPM had no material weaknesses in its internal control over financial reporting, but that OPM could improve its reporting in five areas.

Monday, December 12, 2005

2005: Best places, big stresses and more change

Employee surveys and management score cards gave agency executives fresh insight into how far they advanced the President's Management Agenda in 2005. But even when score card fatigue set in, no executive leaders expected to escape public scrutiny of their agencies' performance. The year was notable for the number of congressional hearings on federal management issues and expanded efforts to use information technology to manage employees' training and performance appraisals.

Defense business modernization still a work in progress (12/9/05)

The Defense Department has not satisfied all the requirements for modernizing its business systems outlined in the 2005 Defense Authorization Act, according to the Government Accountability Office.

The department has fully complied with only one of the act's provisions, GAO stated in a recent report (GAO-06-219).

Friday, December 09, 2005

www.GovExec.com - Transportation IG to identify pork available for Katrina relief (12/9/05)

Members of Congress are notorious for earmarking transportation money for projects in their home states and districts. They can then tout the earmarks to their constituents as proof of their prowess on Capitol Hill.

But a dirty little secret of earmarks -- pejoratively called 'pork' by opponents of the practice -- is that, sometimes, the money never gets spent, or the projects never get done.
The money, however, ends up sitting around, trapped in federal coffers because 'earmarked funds must be used only on the specifically designated project,' Assistant Inspector General Kurt Hyde explained in a November 30 memorandum to the FHWA. Earmarked funds cannot be spent on other projects without an OK from Congress.

Hyde said that data from FHWA's financial management system shows that 'significant' amounts of earmarked but unspent funds are in limbo, some designated as long ago as 1983. And that's just in the five Gulf Coast states -- Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas -- that are the target of the IG's initial review.

CIO Council delivers EVM policy framework

The CIO Council unveiled a policy framework this week to help federal agencies develop earned value management (EVM) system policies.

EVM policies focus on major acquisitions and investments that require special management attention because of their large costs or their importance to an agency's mission, according to council documents. The new policy framework requires agencies to address projects' finalized cost, schedule and performance goals.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

AGA Study Examines Information Technology

AGA Study Examines Information Technology: "Emerging information technology issues in financial and supply chain management are the subject of a comprehensive study released by the Association of Government Accountants (AGA).

To view the report, visit: www.agacgfm.org/research/downloads/CPResearchNo37.pdf.

www.GovExec.com - :FEATURES: :Power Pencils (12/1/05)

Chief financial officers shed yesterday's bean-counter image to become executive power players.

When Linda Morrison Combs accepted the chief financial officer position at the Environmental Protection Agency in 2001, she strolled into the building on Pennsylvania Avenue with a curious goal: to make hers the most respected CFO operation in government. Not the best, or the greenest on the President's Management Agenda, but the most respected - however that played out.

OMB to guide agencies on financial management LOB

The Office of Management and Budget will furnish guidance by the end of this month or in early January 2006 to help agencies determine how they should select a federal provider of financial-management services, an Office of Management and Budget official said yesterday.

The guidance aims to encourage agencies to participate in the financial management Line of Business initiative. Under the Lines of Business Consolidation initiative, when agencies have to replace existing financial systems they would be required to consider federal and industry financial-management centers of excellence.

OMB has designated four agencies as financial-management centers of excellence: the General Services Administration, the Transportation Department, the Interior Department's National Business Center and the Treasury Department's Bureau of the Public Debt.

The guidance will advise agencies on how to structure a request for proposals to allow competition on a level playing field between private and public offerors.

Agriculture Department gets permanent CFO

Charles Christopherson took the reins as chief financial officer at the Agriculture Department this week, where he will oversee $128 billion in assets and $77 billion in total annual spending.

Deputy CFO Patricia Healy has been acting CFO since Ted McPherson left Agriculture for the Education Department two years ago.

Christopherson's duties involve accounting and reporting responsibilities for program funds totaling more than $90 billion. Among the CFO programs and offices, the National Finance Center processes the payroll for one-fifth of the federal workforce - 550,000 individuals - and operates components of the more than $100 billion Thrift Savings Plan for federal employees, the world's largest 401(k) retirement plan.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Oracle Rolls Out PeopleSoft Enterprise Financial Management 8.9

Oracle has nnounced general availability of Oracle's PeopleSoft Enterprise Financial Management 8.9, delivering on its commitment to PeopleSoft customers to support and enhance the functionality of PeopleSoft Enterprise applications.

SAP, university to study government ROI

The Center for Technology in Government (CTG) and SAP are collaborating on a research project regarding public-sector return on investment (ROI), focused on improving the government's ability to analyze individual information technology projects.

HAWAII: David Cohen Speaks At Finance Officers Meeting

For every grant dollar that we propose to spend, let's ask ourselves what this grant dollar will do to secure our future. When we make necessary investments in health, education and infrastructure, we're building a better future. And let's not forget about capacity building. We need to build capacity in order to manage our grant funds more effectively - capacity in financial management, accounting, grants management, auditing, economics, statistics and other areas. Capacity will not build itself -we're going to have to allocate resources to build capacity. This very conference represents an allocation of resources to build capacity. I know that no one in this room will complain when I suggest that each of your offices needs to have the resources to enable you to do your jobs properly. We need to carry this message to people outside of this room.

Friday, December 02, 2005

IRS accounting system cumbersome despite updates

Once troubled, the IRS's modernization project is now on track and producing results for the agency. But improvements came too late to prevent Congress from slashing almost a third from the modernization budget in fiscal 2005 and keeping the funding level at that relatively low level during fiscal 2006.

Because they lost about $85 million, modernization officials put on hold further updates to IFS and permanently shut down another project, the Custodial Accounting Project, which would have connected IFS with the tax administration database.

In CAP's place, the IRS in March began another project called the Custodial Detail Data Base, which it says will address some audit weaknesses through creation of a ledger for unpaid taxes. CAP's replacement project should link to the Master File during fiscal 2006, and subject to funding, will also link to CADE in fiscal 2007.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Road Ahead for DEAMS

The U. S. Transportation Command, U. S. Air Force and the Defense Finance and Accounting Service have joined forces to implement the Defense Enterprise Accounting and Management System or DEAMS. DEAMS is a significant undertaking that will provide USTRANSCOM and the Air Force with a single financial system, dramatically changing existing business and financial management processes, improving combat support for the warfighter, and sharpening information accuracy for Department of Defense decision makers. In the longer term, DEAMS has the potential to support other DOD agencies.

This article examines the current status of DEAMS system requirements and concept of operations and provides a brief update on the training and change management initiatives.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

NASA OIG: NASA's Most Serious Management and Performance Challenges | SpaceRef - Your Space Reference

NASA received a disclaimer of opinion on its financial statements as a result of the Independent Public Accountant (IPA) audits in FY 2003 by PricewaterhouseCoopers and in FY 2004 and FY 2005 by Ernst & Young LLP (E&Y) because NASA has been unable to provide auditable financial statements and sufficient evidence to support statements throughout the fiscal year. The reports that the IPAs have submitted identify instances of noncompliance with generally accepted accounting principles, reportable conditions (with most being material weaknesses) in internal controls, and noncompliance with the Federal Financial Management Improvement Act and the Improper Payments Information Act of 2002. Many of the weaknesses the audits disclosed resulted from a lack of effective internal control procedures and continued data integrity issues, as well as problems related to NASA's conversion in FY 2003 from 10 separate systems to a new single Integrated Enterprise Management Program (IEMP).

New VA CFO Henke faces major management challenge

Robert Henke took the reins as the Veterans Affairs Department’s chief financial officer and assistant secretary for management earlier this month. One of his biggest tasks will be to determine how to implement an integrated financial management system.

Henke came to VA from the Defense Department, where he served as the principal deputy undersecretary and comptroller. Previously, he was a professional staff member with the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense. Henke replaced William Campbell, who left VA last year.

VA scrapped its pilot of the Core Financial and Logistics System (CoreFLS) at the Bay Pines VA Medical Center in St. Petersburg, Fla., in 2004 after spending $342 million on the project. The contract with integrator BearingPoint Inc. of McLean, Va., expired after the department disconnected CoreFLS and reverted to the legacy financial system, said VA CIO Robert McFarland

Monday, November 28, 2005

Federal Times - A fresh approach to program assessment

For Rep. Todd Platts, R-Pa., making sure taxpayers get the best value for their dollar isn?t just his job, it?s a personal quest.

Today, Platts wants the federal government to ask the same question when considering the hundreds of programs it funds every year. As chairman of the House Government Reform subcommittee on government management, finance and accountability, he introduced HR 185, the Program Assessment and Results (PAR) Act, for the second time this legislative session. The bill would put into statute rigorous, evidence-based assessment of all programs every five fiscal years.

While this may sound like it duplicates the Bush administration's Program Assessment Rating Tool, Platts' aim is not to codify PART or any other specific process for conducting the reviews. Instead, he wants to make sure the discipline of regular program reviews becomes a permanent part of the way the government does business.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

FEDERAL AGENCIES MEET FINANCIAL REPORTING DEADLINE

Every major federal agency issued its financial reporting within 45 days of closing the fiscal year for the first time ever, the Office of Management and Budget announced last week.

Since the end of FY 2001, agencies have been required to complete a Performance and Accountability Report in less than two months. Comparable private sector reports average almost 75 days to complete.

"Timely audits are vital for ensuring taxpayer money is spent honestly and wisely. For the first time ever, members of Congress and taxpayers now have timely access to every federal agency's Performance and Accountability Reports. We are holding agencies accountable with high standards and greater transparency. We are especially proud of the 18 agencies who received clean audits," said Linda Combs, OMB controller and head of the Office of Federal Financial Management.

This year, 18 Federal agencies received ?clean? audit opinions. Three agencies improved their audit results over last year (the Justice Department, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Small Business Administration) after successfully implementing corrective actions to resolve the previous year?s issues. The three agencies that declined relative to last year (the departments of Energy and State and the General Services Administration) have active efforts underway to address the reason for the decline.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Federal Times - Number of clean audits holds steady

Eighteen of the 24 agencies required to file their financial statements with the Office of Management and Budget received clean audits for fiscal 2005, according to results released Nov. 16.

Three agencies - the Justice Department, Housing and Urban Development Department and the Small Business Administration - improved this year to regain their clean audit status. However, the Energy Department, State Department and General Services Administration declined relative to 2004, making the net number of agencies receiving clean audits in 2005 equal to that of the previous year.

Despite ratings slips OMB calls PMA scorecard requirements 'very reasonable'

Although several agencies saw their grades fall on the e-government portion of the most recent President's Management Agenda scorecard, Office of Management and Budget officials do not believe they have set the bar too high for agencies to earn and maintain high marks.

Karen Evans, OMB's administrator for e-government and IT, said the milestones and requirements to achieve the coveted "green" scorecard rating - the highest score - are sufficient and resulted from negotiations with the top brass at all federal agencies.

"We finalized [the milestones] with the agencies in September," Evans said today in Washington at the Program Management Summit. If agencies "think there [are] too many milestones - they agreed to them. ... We did try to be very reasonable."

The latest PMA scorecard, released Wednesday, saw six agencies lose their green status related to compliance with OMB's e-government initiative.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

CSC Announces Modernization Program Success With IRS Clean Audit

EL SEGUNDO, Calif., Nov. 17 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Computer Sciences Corporation (NYSE: CSC) today announced a significant milestone achieved on the Business Systems Modernization (BSM) program for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The Government Accountability Office granted the IRS an unqualified or " clean" audit opinion one year after initial implementation and launch of a modernized financial management system -- the Integrated Financial System (IFS). The CSC-led PRIME Alliance was the lead systems integrator on the project, providing leadership, business transformation and systems integration services to support the roll-out of SAP's Federal Financial Management solution.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

USDA REOPENS NEW ORLEANS FINANCE CENTER

Over half of the Department of Agriculture National Finance Center's New Orleans staff has returned to their Crescent City offices.

Of the office's 462 employees, more than 300 are currently working at the New Orleans facility. The remaining workers will be brought back once the NFC stabilizes its information technology infrastructure and finds alternative housing for the displaced employees.

"Our return to the National Finance Center's worksite in eastern New Orleans is part of the USDA's commitment to the region. We will continue returning NFC's employees to New Orleans, just as we will continue our efforts to provide food and rural housing while also assisting farmers and ranchers in the region," said USDA Secretary Mike Johanns.

Input: IT spending on state, local tax systems to rise

State and local governments will be spending more money developing their taxation, revenue and collection information systems in the next five years, according to a new report by a research analysis firm.

Based on recent spending trends and contract activity, Reston, Va.-based Input forecasts that the market will grow from about $550 million in fiscal 2006 to about $755 million by fiscal 2010 at a compounded annual growth rate of 8.3 percent.

Although such systems represent a small proportion of total information technology budgets, state and local governments are focusing more on financial management and projects to improve financial performance, the report indicates.

ERP system provides value for U.N. organization

Officials from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) are adding functionality to a 2-year-old enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, which has reportedly improved integration, collaboration and transparency among offices worldwide.

UNDP employees already had secure Internet access to 17 modules - such as project management, finances, human resources and others - within the system. An e-procurement module was added in September, and an e-recruit one, which will help the organization better sift through job applications, is planned for next year.

In partnership with the U.N. Population Fund and the U.N. Office for Project Services, UNDP officials implemented an integrated Oracle PeopleSoft system in January 2004 through a "big bang approach" across offices in 145 countries. About 8,000 people use the ERP system - which replaced nearly two-dozen existing systems - and the plan is to expand access to thousands more.

www.GovExec.com - Agencies lose ground on e-gov section of management score card (11/15/05)

Six agencies saw their grades fall on the electronic government portion of the Bush administration's latest quarterly management score card, published Monday.

The lower marks in e-government, an initiative aimed at providing citizens with online access to government services and information, occurred 'primarily because [agencies] failed to complete key milestones in . . . implementation plans,' said Clay Johnson, deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget, in a statement.

GAO Finds Serious Flaws in IRS Controls

The Internal Revenue Service has had serious shortcomings in its internal controls and financial management systems that caused it to sap its resources in the preparation of its financial statements in the fiscal years of 2004 and 2005, according to a recent report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

As a result of the controls and systems flaws, the IRS didn't keep effective watch over its financial reporting or legal and regulatory compliance, according to the GAO. Thus, the revenue service didn't 'provide reasonable assurance that losses, misstatements, and noncompliance with laws material in relation to the financial statements would be prevented or detected on a timely basis,' the report concluded.

In fact, for fiscal 2005, the GAO credited the tax service with successfully implementing the first phase of its new Integrated Financial System (IFS).The system is intended to replace the outdated financial management systems the IRS used in recent years to process and report administrative (nontax) transactions.

"This first phase of IFS provides for improved audit trails and more timely information for such activities and transactions as travel, purchases of goods and services, and budgetary activities," the GAO report asserted. Further, the IRS continued to progress in terms of addressing its "weaknesses in controls over hard-copy taxpayer receipts and data and over property and equipment."

Audit: TSA financial reporting beset with problems

The Transportation Security Administration displays material weaknesses in its information technology used for financial reporting and internal controls, largely related to legacy systems inherited from the Transportation Department, according to an audit report released today by the Homeland Security Department Inspector General Richard Skinner. TSA is an agency of the Homeland Security Department.

KPMG LLP, an accounting firm in Washington, did the audit for the year ended Sept. 30, 2004. It is posted on the inspector general's Web site.

The evaluation found major deficiencies in TSA's IT access and "segregation-of-duties" controls related to primary financial applications owned and operated by the Transportation Department. TSA uses Transportation's core accounting system, known as Delphi, to process and record financial transactions.

www.GovExec.com - Accounting improvements underway at Pentagon (11/10/05)

The Pentagon is making progress getting its financial books in order, but senior officials said Wednesday that they still do not know when they will wrap up an audit of Defense Department spending.
It may take at least four or more years, they said.
Concerned that billions of dollars in the defense budget are squandered each year, Congress has pressed Defense officials to account for all dollars -- from health care to program development costs -- spent by DoD.

OMB asks agencies to practice project management discipline

Earned value management (EVM) is an unfamiliar discipline to many federal project managers, but it won?t be a mystery much longer. Federals agencies have until Dec. 31 to create policies for using EVM to reduce the inherent risk in large information technology projects.


All federal agencies should be using EVM as businesses have been doing for years, said Tim Young, associate administrator for e-government and IT in the Office of Management and Budget. That office set the Dec. 31 deadline.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

FINANCE: Clean Audits Weak Systems

The good news: More agencies are receiving clean audits on the their financial statements. The bad news: Their financial systems can?t generate the comprehensive data needed for day-to-day financial management.

'The underlying financial systems are a serious problem,' the Government Accountability Office said in a recent report (GAO-05-881 at www.gao.gov). 'Systems of most agencies are still unable to routinely produce reliable, useful and timely financial information,' as required by the Federal Financial Management Improvement Act of 1996.

Ultimately, this shortcoming prevents agencies from effectively managing major programs, according to GAO.

For fiscal 2004, auditors for 16 of the 23 agencies covered by the Chief Information Officers Act of 1990 reported that the agencies? financial management systems failed to comply with FFMIA. In reviewing the reports, GAO criticized auditors for six of the seven other agencies for providing only 'negative assurance,' meaning nothing came to the auditors' attention during their investigations to indicate that the systems didn?t meet FFMIA standards.

The E-government payoff: Where finance acquisition and HR converge, e-gov projects deliver

E-government, the electronic kiss that is transforming government from a wart-covered frog trapped in a stovepipe into a handsome, service-delivering prince, is no fairy tale.

Considered a bold vision three years ago, with the launch of the 25 Quicksilver initiatives, e-government may have lost some of its visibility and luster. But the fruits of more than three years of the Quicksilver initiatives have been very real: reduced costs, better service delivery and improved cooperation among agencies, experts in and outside of government say.

Initiatives where the core disciplines of finance, acquisition and human resources came together have wrought measurable, though sometimes hard-won, gains—and some clear management lessons.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Defense needs auditing

In what can aptly be described as a moment of bipartisan cooperation, a Democrat-controlled Congress passed the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990. In a report published shortly thereafter by the General Accounting Office, the CFO Act was heralded as 'the beginning of what promises to be a new era not only in federal management and accountability, but also in efforts to gain financial control of government operations.'

The report added: 'This is the most comprehensive and far-reaching financial management improvement legislation since the Budget and Accounting Procedures Act of 1950... The CFO Act will lay a foundation for comprehensive reform of federal financial management.'

A key provision of the bipartisan legislation is a requirement that federal agencies undergo independent financial audits. Heretofore, this most basic of internal controls was too often foreign to the public sector. Accounts of a federal agency paying $200 for a hammer or $600 for a toilet seat were common fodder for journalists and late-night comics alike. To their credit, federal lawmakers recognized the need for reform and enacted the CFO act as an integral part.

ICE nominee would fix financial troubles first - Federal Times

If Julie Myers is confirmed as expected as director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement at the Homeland Security Department, one of her top priorities - and major challenges - will be repairing the agency's financial integrity.

Federal auditors have singled out the agency's financial management problems as particularly troublesome in the last year.
Myers told senators at her Sept. 15 nomination hearing that fixing ICE's financial management will be paramount among her concerns. Myers said the problem stretches back to ICE's creation in March 2003, when it was cobbled together from remnants of the Immigration and Naturalization Service and Customs Service. She said ICE was shortchanged in those early days of Homeland Security.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

HoustonChronicle.com - Nominee promises to put NASA's finances in order

President Bush's choice to become NASA's second-in-command told a Senate confirmation hearing on Tuesday that cleaning up the agency's financial management problems would be a top priority for her.

"My plan is to have very aggressive oversight of where NASA is with its financial management system," Shana Dale told the Senate Commerce, Science and Technology Committee. "This definitely needs to be brought under control."

Dale, deputy director for homeland and national security for the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the White House, was nominated Sept. 9 to replace Fred Gregory as NASA's deputy administrator.

The committee is expected to send Dale's nomination to the full Senate this week.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Auditors again deride NASA financial system, EA

NASA risks inaccurate accounting of its most expensive space missions because the agency is still struggling to build a modern financial management system, after more than a decade of federal auditor warnings.

Since 2003, when the Government Accountability Office last reviewed the agency's integrated financial management program (IFMP), progress has been slow, especially in establishing an enterprise architecture. Of the 45 recommendations made in 2003, NASA has completed three and has barely started or not started 29.

"For more than a decade, we have identified weak contract management and the lack of reliable financial and performance information as posing significant challenges to NASA's ability to effectively run its largest and most costly programs," a GAO report released last week states.

"The longer NASA waits to fully implement our recommendations, the greater the risk is that the agency will continue to operate a system that does less than promised and costs more than expected."

Monday, October 31, 2005

NASA financial systems under scrutiny | Tech News on ZDNet

The systems can't perform crucial tasks needed to improve management of contracts, provide credible cost estimates for programs, and create auditable statements, according to the report.

"The lack of reliable, day-to-day information continues to threaten NASA's ability to manage its programs, oversee its contractors, and effectively allocate its budget across its numerous projects and programs," government auditors wrote.

That also means that NASA isn't complying "substantially" with the Federal Financial Management Improvement Act of 1996, which requires "timely, accurate and useful" reporting of the costs associated with federal agency work, the report said.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

DoJ raises Oracle/Siebel anti-trust questions - vnunet.com

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has requested additional information from Oracle about its planned acquisition of Siebel Systems as part of an anti-trust investigation into the deal.
The request is a strong reminder of the legal clash between Oracle and the DoJ last year over the database giant's purchase of PeopleSoft. A federal judge in San Francisco in the end ruled in favour of Oracle.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

DHS puts procurement house in order

The Homeland Security Department procurement is losing its baby teeth, moving briskly with border technology, a financial management project and two umbrella procurements on the heels of its recently signed fiscal 2006 appropriations bill. President Bush's signature making the bill law injects funds across the board into many of these projects. The blossoming of the department's IT procurement projects is a major step in DHS' transformation from a patchwork-quilt collection of 22 agencies to a unified organization with centralized contract control. Chief Procurement Officer Greg Rothwell said the agency would hire at least 400 new procurement officials in fiscal 2006, and "assimilate them to build a unified culture," at a recent event in Falls Church, Va., sponsored by market analysis firm Input Inc. of Reston, Va.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

VA will centralize IT budget personnel authority over next year

The Veterans Affairs Department will put control of its IT budget and personnel under the department CIO - a sea change that should prevent future monumental IT system failures.

Congress has sought to give the VA CIO authority over the IT budget, which was $1.8 billion in fiscal 2005. Currently, the department CIO has control over $40 million - less than 3 percent of the department's IT budget.

VA has shelved systems after spending hundreds of millions of dollars on them, such as the $342 million CoreFLS financial-management system and $300 million HR Links automated personnel system.

“This is the first step toward a centralized approach,” VA deputy secretary Gordon Mansfield told the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee today. There was not universal agreement on the approach, but a consensus on use of a federated approach was crafted and brought to the secretary for his approval. It will take 12 to 18 months to implement the IT reorganization, Mansfield said.

VA administrations will retain software development for their programs, but they must adhere to the department’s enterprise architecture, which maps out VA’s programs, investments and customer needs.

DRC wins Navy financial systems work

Dynamics Research Corp. won a $4.4 million contract with the Naval Surface Warfare Center to provide functional and technical support for the software suite and systems that compose the Naval Sea Systems Command corporate financial systems, according to company officials. The contract has one base year and two option years.

CFO Sykes helps NASA manage change

For Gwendolyn Sykes, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's chief financial officer, e-government is personal -as personal as a paycheck.

Sykes says she "really, really likes the [e-government] initiatives because they make my tax dollar go further." And as a single woman with no children, Sykes sees a lot of her dollars go toward taxes every month.

Take E-Payroll, one of the 25 e-government initiatives. Sykes likes seeing E-Payroll's highly tangible benefits. Instead of the federal government using 26 pay systems, E-Payroll has consolidated them into four service providers. "It's kind of like Costco," Sykes said. "You're buying in bulk."

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Bush signs $30 billion DHS spending bill

The bill includes $30.8 billion in net discretionary spending—a $2.4 billion, or 4.7 percent, increase by the administration’s method of counting—and many features Congress added that departed from the administration’s original budget request.

The department's technology spending level of about $6 billion contains large technology initiatives such as major programs for a centralized financial management system, consolidated networks, new technology under the U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology program and likely upgrades to border IT under the Americas Shield Initiative.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

DOD creates agency to manage business programs

The Defense Department has established a new business agency that will centrally manage some of the department's largest business programs.

The idea for the Defense Business Transformation Agency (BTA), officially established on Oct. 7, was approved by the Defense Business Systems Management Committee in late June. Eighteen of the DOD's business programs, systems and initiatives�including the Defense Travel System, the Standard Procurement System and the Defense Integrated Military Human Resources System will be transferred to the BTA by the end of November.

The BTA will eventually be headed by a service two-star general or an equivalent Senior Executive Service official, said Gordon England, acting deputy secretary of Defense, in a memorandum he sent to service secretaries. Until then, Paul A. Brinkley, deputy undersecretary of Defense for business transformation, and Thomas Modly, the deputy undersecretary of Defense for financial management, will jointly serve as director.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Internal controls are not just for CFOs anymore OMB says

The Office of Management and Budget later this month will issue a list of best practices to help agencies implement internal controls for financial reporting information. OMB also will start providing feedback to agencies on the plans they submitted in August to put internal controls in place as part of revised Circular A-123.

Financial reporting is not just for chief financial officers anymore. Management needs to get its arms around internal controls, said Linda Combs, OMB controller. Circular A-123 is similar to management compliance requirements for private corporations under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, passed in the wake of corporate fraud at Enron and WorldCom.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

GAO details acquisition best practices

The Government Accountability Office has found that acquisition success depends on instituting best practices in four broad areas, including data management and security.

Auditors said agencies should align their organizations so acquisition professionals have clear and defined roles and leadership gives officials the ability to make strategic decisions; have transparent policies that are implemented consistently; invest and train their workforces; and manage their data so it is timely, reliable, accurate and secure.

GAO has defined and outlined these best practices in a new document, titled "A Framework for Assessing the Acquisition Function at Federal Agencies".

www.GovExec.com - Bid to stop funding for Defense Travel System derailed (10/6/05)

An amendment that would have nixed spending on the Defense Department's $474 million electronic travel system was tabled after a spirited debate on the Senate floor over the program's merits and shortcomings.

SEC picks Appian for Web-based purchasing

Securities and Exchange Commission officials have awarded a $2.8 million contract to Appian to develop a Web-based purchasing system.

The company will overhaul what is essentially a manual procurement process, said Ambarish Desai, the company’s director of solutions. He said the SEC’s current homegrown system is a combination of paper files and spreadsheet software that lacks coordination among groups.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

OFPP to create interagency contracting working group

The Office of Federal Procurement Policy doesn’t need any more hints to realize it needs to look more closely at interagency contracting.

After the Government Accountability Office added interagency contracting to its high-risk list, and in light of the problems at the Defense Department and the General Services Administration over the past two years, OFPP deputy administrator Robert Burton today said his office will lead a working group made up of agency chief acquisition officers in looking at how to improve this type of contracting.

The group will follow up on the work by the Services Acquisition Reform Act panel, which is taking a look at three areas, including interagency contracting. The SARA panel will make recommendations to Congress and OFPP next year.

“We are setting up this group so, when the SARA panel closes down sometime in 2006, we will be in place to implement the panel’s recommendations,” Burton said at a conference in Washington sponsored by the Contract Services Association of America, an industry trade association based in Arlington, Va. “We will coordinate with the SARA panel so we don’t duplicate their work.”

Burton, who is managing OFFP until an acting administrator is named, announced the working group last week at the Chief Acquisition Officer’s Council meeting, and said he hopes to have the first meeting before Dec. 31.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Oracle Delivers PeopleSoft Enterprise Financial Management 8.9

Oct. 5 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL) today announced general availability of Oracle's PeopleSoft Enterprise Financial Management 8.9, delivering on its commitment to PeopleSoft customers to support and enhance the functionality of PeopleSoft Enterprise applications. This new release provides customer-driven enhancements and new business applications. It is a launching pad for
PeopleSoft customers to migrate to Oracle(R) Project Fusion, the company's next generation of enterprise applications.

Auditors criticize Army Corps' 'just-in-time' financial strategy (10/3/05)

"The Army Corps of Engineers relies too much on shifting funds between projects and needs better planning and financial management, government auditors concluded in a new report.
The Army Corps has been using a 'just-in-time' financial strategy under which it reprograms funds between projects, often without notifying Congress and sometimes in violation of its own rules, the Government Accountability Office said in its report (GAO-05-946). "

OMB to add internal controls requirements to PMA scorecard

The Office of Management and Budget will add implementation of milestones for tighter internal controls to federal agencies’ ratings for the President’s Management Agenda scorecard during fiscal 2006.

Agencies are required under OMB’s revised Circular A-123 to have a framework in place to implement those financial management practices by October 2006, said Dave Zavada, branch chief of financial standards and grants in OMB’s Office of Federal Financial Management. An example of an internal control would be an agency performing routine reconciliation and analysis of its accounts throughout the year instead of quarterly or annually, he said.

Monday, October 03, 2005

www.GovExec.com - Impossible Goals (9/28/05)

If you had told Clarence C. Crawford in 1979, when he was starting in federal financial management, that there would come a day when agencies would produce audited financial statements, he probably would not have believed you. And no way would he have believed that agencies could produce them 45 days after the close of the fiscal year. 'The idea of having audited financial statements seemed like almost an impossibility at that time,' Crawford says. Even five or 10 years ago, a 45-day close looked like an unrealistic goal.

But now, almost every federal agency is producing audited financial statements by Nov. 15 each year, a month and a half after the Sept. 30 close of the fiscal year. In financial management, that is a benchmark of sound accounting. It doesn't make federal agencies financial management leaders, but it shows they're capable of matching the performance of leading private sector firms.

Guidance for lines-of-business initiatives expected by year's end

The Office of Personnel Management and the Office of Management and Budget by the end of the December will have answers to some of the biggest questions surrounding the lines-of-business consolidation initiatives.

OPM will issue minimum service-level agreement metrics for Human Resources Management Centers of Excellence. OMB is in the final stages of determining who would pay for transition costs when agencies switch from one shared service provider to another.

Both of these issues are part of a larger lines-of-business puzzle that slowly is coming together. During fiscal 2006, officials expect to see a lot of activity around lines-of-business consolidation. Agencies will migrate to Centers of Excellence, the private sector will begin participating in the centers, and the government will begin setting standards for human resources systems and approving vendor software that meets those requirements.

DHS releases RFP for multibillion-dollar Eagle project

The Homeland Security Department has released its request for proposals for the Eagle project, a program to purchase IT support services that is expected to garner billions of dollars of task orders over the next seven years.

Eagle and its partner procurement for hardware, FirstSource, form DHS’ latest effort to centralize IT procurement across the department’s 22 agencies. DHS now buys IT support services under dozens of contracts it inherited from its component agencies.

The RFP released Thursday calls for prime contractors to establish teams to carry out specific task orders issued under the contract. During an industry day in early August, DHS officials said they expect Eagle contracts to progressively supplant work done under existing department pacts.

The Eagle procurement could account for more than three-quarters of the department’s IT purchases of about $6 billion annually.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

OMB to add internal controls requirements to PMA scorecard

The Office of Management and Budget will add implementation of milestones for tighter internal controls to federal agencies’ ratings for the President’s Management Agenda scorecard during fiscal 2006. Agencies are required under OMB’s revised Circular A-123 to have a framework in place to implement those financial management practices by October 2006, said Dave Zavada, branch chief of financial standards and grants in OMB’s Office of Federal Financial Management. An example of an internal control would be an agency performing routine reconciliation and analysis of its accounts throughout the year instead of quarterly or annually, he said. The first management statement assuring internal controls over financial reports is due in June 2006. That statement will accompany the agency’s year-end financial statement, which must be completed Nov. 15, 45 days after the close of the fiscal year. Prior to 2004, agencies had 90 days from Sept. 30 to finish their year-end reports.

Interior ousts BearingPoint from major integration job

The Interior Department has removed systems integrator BearingPoint Inc. of McLean, Va., from the Financial and Business Modernization System project to install a new enterprise resource planning system, the department said. BearingPoint was installing an enterprise resource planning system from SAP America Inc. at the department. When it announced the Interior project in May 2004, SAP said that Interior would use “SAP NetWeaver to replace the two existing different accounting systems, and at least 10 other subsidiary systems, to enable interoperability across several critical functions.” According to Interior’s FBMS Website, the time line for the project is being revised.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

GAO: Agencies lack day-to-day financial management tools

According to the report (GAO-05-881), the systems at 16 of the 23 CFO Act agencies do not comply with one or more of the requirements of the 1996 Federal Financial Management Improvement Act. GAO found that six types of problems are regularly identified: financial systems that are not integrated; inadequate reconciliation procedures; untimely and inaccurate recording; noncompliance with the Government Standard General Ledger; failure to adhere to federal accounting standards; and poor security of information systems.

GAO: Many agencies’ financial management systems inadequate

Most federal agencies continue to lack the financial data needed to manage daily operations efficiently and effectively and to provide an acceptable level of accountability. Despite that, most agencies covered by the CFO Act have obtained clean or unqualified audits on their financial statements, according to a new Government Accountability Office report. The problem lies with agencies’ underlying systems, GAO said in the report. Auditors need to perform more comprehensive examinations than those needed for an opinion about an agency’s financial statements. And the Office of Management and Budget should tighten rules so that auditors report whether an agency complies with the broader requirements of the Federal Financial Management Improvement Act (FFMIA).

Balanced score card tool gains in popularly at civilian agencies

A management tool that has been around for more than a decade and has been used heavily at the Defense Department is becoming more prevalent at civilian agencies, according to speakers at a Thursday conference. The "balanced score card" approach, developed by Harvard Business School Professor Robert Kaplan, has taken hold at the General Services Administration, Commerce Department and other civilian agencies.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Oracle Details Flexible Path to Project Fusion for Customers

Oracle Senior Vice President Outlines Further Upgrade and Support Options for Customers, While Demonstrating the 'Fusion Effect' of Next-Generation Applications. Oracle will protect its customers' current technology investments while providing flexibility for moving to Oracle's next-generation applications, said John Wookey, Oracle Senior Vice President of Application Development, today during Oracle® OpenWorld San Francisco.

Auditors find gaping holes in EPA IT procedures

Government auditors say the Environmental Protection Agency is losing millions of dollars by not monitoring its information technology systems. A Sept. 14 report by the EPA’s Office of the Inspector General found that weak oversight also led to multi-year delays in installing systems. The yearlong IG study focused on development and life cycle policies for three business cases: the Financial Replacement System, the Clean Air Markets Division Business System and the Integrated Grants Management System.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Agriculture to rebid massive eTravel contract

The Agriculture Department's electronic travel system contract will be rebid after the agency and the technology contractor providing the online service agreed to void the arrangement, which is worth an estimated $50 million. Officials at both Agriculture and Plano, Texas-based, Electronic Data Systems Corp., said the termination was mutually agreed upon and that EDS will continue to provide travel services to USDA under a previous contract until the agency awards a new eTravel contract.

Homeland Security IG sets up Katrina oversight office

Homeland Security Inspector General Richard Skinner announced Monday the creation of a new Office of Hurricane Katrina Oversight to review the spending of federal disaster assistance funds. The office will be headed by Matthew Jadacki, who will serve on detail from the National Weather Service, where he is the chief financial officer and chief administrative officer.
Prior to joining the Weather Service in January, Jadacki was acting CFO of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, where he managed 11 branches and more than 200 employees. He also has worked as an audit manager at the State Department and accountant at the Commerce Department.

GAO Report: Financial Management: Achieving FFMIA Compliance Continues to Challenge Agencies (NASA Excerpts)

At the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), auditors reported numerous weaknesses in the core financial system, the integrated financial management system first implemented by NASA in fiscal year 2003. We have previously reported on problems NASA faced when implementing this system.31Specifically, the auditors found that the core financial system lacked integration with certain key subsidiary systems, such as the property system, and does not facilitate the preparation of financial statements. Although the auditors recognized that management identified and resolved significant system problems in fiscal year 2004, the auditors identified serious continuing weaknesses in their review of property, plant, and equipment (PP&E)—specifically contractor-held PP&E.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Mok: Government should adopt XBRL

Federal agencies should adopt Extensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) for their financial data, said Samuel Mok, the Labor Department’s chief financial officer. A derivative of Extensible Markup Language, XBRL is an open metadata standard for tagging business and financial data that greatly simplifies analysis by making information buried in text documents visible to computers.

Senate curbs e-gov in Commerce, Justice spending bill

Senate lawmakers followed their House counterparts yesterday in approving appropriations language that restricts spending on e-government projects in fiscal 2006. The language is part of the Senate appropriations bill for the Commerce and Justice departments, and science and related agencies. Like corresponding House legislation, the Senate spending bill limits federal agencies’ power to transfer money to fund e-government projects.

Agencies run by career execs get better management grades

a new report from Princeton University finds that career federal managers do a better job of running their agencies than their politically appointed counterparts. The study, from David Lewis of Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, uses scores from the Bush administration's Program Assessment Rating Tool—a set of 30 questions devised to help budget examiners write formal program evaluations—to determine which managers are achieving best results. He then used biographical data on the 245 bureau chiefs graded by PART to find explanations for differences in results.

E-gov foundation gives agencies opportunity to do more, Evans says

OMB hopes to work with at least three major agencies to migrate to a Center of Excellence under the Financial Management Line of Business Consolidation initiative. Evans said there also is a similar goal for the Human Resources LOB effort, but she could not recall the exact number of agencies. “Under Financial Management, small agencies started moving, but we need the major agencies to see whether this is a part of their core mission or whether they can spend money on a shared service provider to get the data they need,” she said. Part of moving three major departments to a Center of Excellence is letting the private sector compete. Evans said that, for starters, the private sector should use the due diligence checklist the LOB task force developed. OMB also is working on procurement language to deal with the cost of transition from one Center of Excellence to another when an agency’s needs are not being met.

OPM director appoints new chief of staff, executive director

Office of Personnel Management Director Linda Springer filled five vacancies within the agency earlier this week, including the appointment of a new chief of staff and executive director. Springer named Tricia Hollis as chief of staff and director of external affairs, Robert Batson III as executive director and senior counselor, Susan Bryant as director of OPM’s Office of Communications and Public Liaison, Susan Marshall as director of the agency’s Congressional Relations Office, and Nancy Kichak as associate director for strategic human resources policy. Batson joins OPM after a stint as counselor to the controller at the Office of Management and Budget, where he provided guidance on federal financial management and reporting issues.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Evans: Service centers may bear transition costs

The Office of Management and Budget wants three major departments to migrate to a shared service provider for financial management during the next fiscal year, said Karen Evans, OMB’s administrator for e-government and information technology. Financial management is one of six administrative areas OMB is urging agencies to stop doing themselves. Instead, they should buy services from a third-party provider, whether from government or the private sector. Those consolidation efforts will save the government at least $5 billion dollars in coming years, Evans said. OMB is considering a policy that would require service providers to bear the costs of transition “if it’s based on a lack of performance issue,” Evans said.

OMB to project savings of e-government projects in next budget

The Office of Management and Budget is preparing to announce the projected cost savings of the 25 e-government initiatives in the fiscal 2007 budget proposal. Karen Evans, OMB's administrator for the Office of E-Government and Information Technology, said her biggest goal for the next year is to shift the way agencies view success from how much money is appropriated to how much money is saved. In a meeting over the summer with President Bush, Evans said, the president was impressed when she told him that a conservative estimate of the savings of OMB's lines-of-business projects, intended to consolidate agencies' common functions, was $5 billion.

Senate panel endorses $138 million in appropriations

The Senate Finance Committee approved $4.8 million from the General Fund to the Finance Department to upgrade the Virgin Islands government's financial management system and for personnel related costs. The U.S. Department of Education froze federal funds to the territory in July saying the government failed to meet a federal mandate to overhaul its financial management system. The V.I. Education Department is under federal receivership and must hire a third-party grant manager before it can receive more funding.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Bush mandates direct financial apps spending

Recent developments in financial software for government are closely tracking directives that emphasize lines of business, strategic plans and project portfolios. Not only is the Office of Management and Budget steering agencies toward four centers of excellence as shared financial service providers, but also plenty of other organizations are upgrading their core financial platforms. With as many as 13 federal agencies procuring core financial management systems, according to a survey by the Financial Systems Integration Office, it’s critical that new software capabilities help them fulfill their missions. In light of the evolving market for financial applications, experts advised financial software buyers to put greater value on a package’s ability to support the organization’s underlying business processes than on the technology.

Enterprise architecture set to drive opportunities

Enterprise architectures are no longer works in progress for many federal agencies. That means systems integrators that want to win contracts with the government need to be experts on these blueprints for how agencies fulfill their missions. Look for the work to focus initially on financial management and human resources management. When EAs are firmly entrenched, those will likely be the first areas where officials from OMB will pursue aggressively consolidation opportunities across multiple departments.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

GSA administrator advocates review of federal procurements

The Office of Management and Budget should perform a broad review of agency procurement plans to determine whether there are needs to consolidate federal acquisition methods, General Services Administration chief Stephen Perry said. As OMB moves ahead with its Line of Business consolidation initiative to streamline how agencies implement human resources, payroll functions and cybersecurity, Perry said acquisition services also should be on the list. “Just as we have Line of Business reviews for various things, including financial management and HR management, we’re proposing there be a governmentwide review of acquisition,” Perry said today at a luncheon sponsored by the American Council for Technology’s Industry Advisory Council.

Monday, September 05, 2005

IRS moves to 'clean slate'

The Internal Revenue Service is eliminating its Business Systems Modernization Office as part of a wholesale reordering within its Modernization and Information Technology Services organization. A new office called Applications Solutions will replace the old modernization office and the legacy systems development office.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Gopal Khanna quits White House

Gopal Khanna resigned as Chief Financial Officer of the Executive Office of the President to be appointed Minnesota's first Chief Information Officer. Khanna, 55, was the first high-level appointment of an Indian American in President George W Bush's second term in office. He resigned the post barely three months after taking over. Before his brief White House stint, Khanna was first CIO and then Chief Financial Officer at the US Peace Corps in Washington, and is credited with leading major reforms at the agency. He was the point man behind efforts to transform the Peace Corps accounting and financial management systems, which allowed the agency to produce auditable financial statements in 2004 -- a first in the agency's 43-year history.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Support the Katrina Relief Effort

This post is intended to provide links to information regarding the Huricane Katrina Relief effort and associated organizations.

Internet Information Resources:

National Hurricane Center: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/
National Weather Service: http://iwin.nws.noaa.gov/iwin/graphicsversion/bigmain.html
Hydrologic Information Center (river flooding): http://www.nws.noaa.gov/oh/hic/index.html
Federal Emergency Management Agency: 1-800-621-FEMA: http://www.fema.gov/
Louisiana Homeland Security: http://www.ohsep.louisiana.gov/
City of New Orleans: http://www.cityofno.com/portal.aspx
Louisiana Governor's Office: http://www.gov.state.la.us/
Mississippi Emergency Management: http://www.msema.org./index.htm

Relief Organizations:

FEMA Charity tips: http://www.fema.gov/rrr/help2.shtm

Red Cross: 1-800-HELP-NOW or http://www.redcross.org/
Episcopal Relief & Development: 1-800-334-7626 or http://www.er-d.org/
United Methodist Committee on Relief: http://gbgm-umc.org/umcor/emergency/hurricanes/2005/
Salvation Army: 1-800-SAL-ARMY or http://www.salvationarmyusa.org/
Catholic Charities: 1-800-919-9338 or http://www.catholiccharitiesusa.org/
National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster: http://www.nvoad.org/
Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: http://www.la-spca.org/

For Federal Employees:

Federal Employee Education and Assistance Fund: http://www.feea.org/
Postal Emergency Relief Fund: http://www.apwu.org/dept/human-rel/hr-perf.htm

Hurricane takes toll on federal payroll facility

The New Orleans finance center that processes paychecks for hundreds of thousands of federal employees is flooded from Hurricane Katrina's aftermath and is unlikely to recover in time for the next pay cycle, an Agriculture Department spokesman said Wednesday. Checks for the approximately 500,000 employees whose pay is usually processed at Agriculture's National Finance Center will be sent from a backup facility in Philadelphia.

A New ERP Market: The Federal Government

Federal ERP spending is expected to grow 33 percent, from $5.8 billion to $7.7 billion, by 2010, according to a report by analytics firm INPUT. According to the report, in the government sector the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the administration's Financial Management and Human Resources Management initiatives, will be the financial drivers of these investments in the ERP market, due primarily to the Management Agenda, a presidential strategy designed to improve the management of the federal government. In the past the federal ERP market has been dominated by spending on large supply chain management programs in the Department of Defense. Now agency focus is shifting, placing importance on areas of financial management and human resources management in the government. At a 6 percent annual growth rate, the ERP market is growing slightly faster than overall IT spending.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Transportation Department names Neff deputy CFO

The Transportation Department has named Lawrence Neff as its deputy chief financial officer. Neff replaces Tom Park, who retired last month. Prior to his appointment Aug. 7, Neff, who joined DOT in October 2000, helped initiate the department’s efforts to implement integrated financial systems using Oracle Corp.’s Federal Financials. That financial management system has helped the agency receive clear audit opinions in each of the last four years.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Federal Payroll Protected

Feds concerned about Hurricane Katrina's impact on their wallets have one less worry: payroll processing for 130 organizations and administrative support for the federal Thrift Savings Plan is safe, and the NFC is in the process of bringing up back up systems at recovery sites in Philadelphia and also in Texas.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Making Sense of Shared Services

On paper, the idea behind Lines of Business is simple. Rather than numerous agencies maintaining separate systems for payroll, financial management and human resource management functions, why not consolidate these into a few systems or "centers of excellence" operated by select agencies or outside vendors that pass due diligence criteria? These providers must offer industrial-strength security and capability to meet the customer agencies' requirements.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

OPM selects five human resources service centers

The five agencies are the Agriculture Department’s National Finance Center, the Defense Department, Health and Human Services, the Interior Department’s National Business Center, and the Treasury Department. OPM’s announcement is the latest step in an ongoing effort instigated by the Office of Management and Budget to shift to third party providers a variety of back office functions currently being performed within an agency. Phased transition to a human resources service center is set to begin in fiscal 2006, although the number of agencies will “really accelerate in 2007 and beyond,” Enger said.

INPUT Expects Federal ERP Spending to Grow 33 Percent Over Next Five Years

OMB's Financial Management and Human Resources Management LoBs are Key Drivers of Growth -- Federal ERP spending is expected to grow 33 percent from $5.8 billion to $7.7 billion by Fiscal Year 2010 (FY10), according to a report released by INPUT, the authority on government business. The initial Lines of Business (LoB) initiatives identified by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), most significantly the Financial Management and Human Resources Management LoBs, and the President's Management Agenda will be the major financial drivers of investment in the ERP market.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Appian Showcases Federal Internal Controls Solution at the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Annual Conference

Appian Corporation, the leading provider of business process management (BPM) suites, will unveil its Federal Internal Controls Solution on August 22-23 at the annual AICPA conference in Washington DC. The solution enables agencies to meet the tight deadlines mandated by OMB Circular A-123, which was recently revised based on the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

Feds seek new judge in Indian trust case

Government lawyers have requested a new judge in a nine-year class-action lawsuit over the Interior Department’s failure to protect data from hackers. U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth has presided over the case, which challenges Interior's oversight of Indian trust funds. But last week, Justice Department lawyers filed a motion with an appeals court for reassignment to a different judge.

Monday, August 22, 2005

FAA undertakes acquisition reforms

The Federal Aviation Administration recently implemented procurement reforms aimed at stemming mismanagement of services contracts. Under the new acquisition procedures, outlined by Administrator Marion Blakey earlier this month in an internal memorandum to FAA managers, contracting officials no longer are permitted to award support service contracts worth $1 million or more on a sole-source basis unless they receive permission from the agency's deputy administrator. The FAA's chief financial officer must approve requests to buy services worth more than $10 million, and program and contracting officers must undergo "mandatory, in-depth" training on procurement integrity.

The Decision Makers: Office of Management and Budget

The Office of Management and Budget assists the president in overseeing the preparation of the federal budget and supervises its administration in executive branch agencies. OMB evaluates agency programs, procedures, and policies; assesses funding demands among agencies; and sets funding priorities. It also oversees and coordinates the administration's procurement, financial management, information, and regulatory policies.

Friday, August 19, 2005

OPM signs up with Bureau of Public Debt for financial services

The Office of Personnel Management has become the first large agency to move to a center of excellence under the Financial Management Line of Business Consolidation initiative. Agency officials signed an agreement with the Treasury Department’s Bureau of Public Debt to use their Administrative Resource Center’s core financial management and procurement systems. ARC is one of four financial management centers of excellence named by OMB in the fiscal 2006 budget request. The others are the General Services Administration, the Interior Department’s National Business Center and the Transportation Department. OPM will transfer its data and integrate its feeder systems into ARC’s Oracle Federal Financial System 11i by Oct. 1, 2006.

Federal Financial Management News Log

Federal Financial Management News Log

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

SmartBuy may get FAR blessing

A proposed change to the Federal Acquisition Regulation would make the General Services Administration's SmartBuy enterprise software licensing program "mandatory consideration," said Tom Kireilis, SmartBuy's senior program manager. That means that agencies would have to consider any relevant SmartBuy agreements when making software purchases, he said. The SmartBuy license would become part of the agency's procurement strategy.

DHS officials detail plan to unify IT acquisitions

The Homeland Security Department Tuesday began the process of consolidating $6 billion worth of information technology acquisitions into two programs with the purpose of creating a departmentwide IT infrastructure. Addressing industry representatives in Washington, DHS Chief Procurement Officer Greg Rothwell said the consolidation will create a support services program known as EAGLE and a commodities initiative called FirstSource. The programs will bring the eight procurement shops in DHS under one roof, he said.

Homeland Security financial management project in limbo

Andrew Maner, Homeland Security's chief financial officer, suspended BearingPoint Inc.'s work on eMerge2, a project to connect financial data across the department, in June to make sure he had the "right vision" for the integrated system. The delay isn't ideal, but is necessary to ensure that taxpayers' money is spent wisely, he said in an interview last week.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Sam Mok, Change Agent: Labor CFO is at no loss for words on how to lead transformation

Mok, chief financial officer at the Labor Department, draws from a quiver of images and analogies to illustrate points about issues facing government executives today.

Friday, August 12, 2005

DoD needs financial reform

Today, we at GAO continue to report that DoD’s substantial, long-standing management problems adversely affect the economy, efficiency and effectiveness of its operations and, as the major noted, has affected the morale of our fighting forces.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

OMB finalizes charge card guidance

The Office of Management and Budget finalized updated purchase card rules last week, requiring agencies to develop a charge card management plan, perform credit checks on cardholders and use strategic sourcing for card purchases. In a memo dated Aug. 5, OMB Director Joshua B. Bolten instructed all executive branch agencies to implement policies in an updated circular to include the latest governmentwide rules for charge cards.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

HHS pushes forward with IT consolidation

Asset-tracking, financial, e-mail and grant systems are some of the applications that HHS is standardizing and consolidating, CIO Charles Havekost said at a luncheon sponsored by the Industry Advisory Council in Washington, D.C.

Navy gives new office IT budget authority

The Navy has established a new office to manage spending for enterprisewide information technology systems both afloat and ashore. Such systems account for $2 billion of the Navy's $6 billion IT expenses each year.

Acquisition institute plans share-in-savings training

The General Services Administration is gearing up to provide procurement professionals with training on share-in-savings contracts. Should Congress extend a section of the 2002 E-Government Act that gives agencies limited authority to use the contract vehicle for technology projects, GSA will offer classes through the Federal Acquisition Institute at no charge to interested government employees, said Ken Buck, director of GSA's share-in-savings program office.

Senator mulls cutting Pentagon's $474 million travel system

The chairman of a Senate financial management subcommittee is considering an amendment that would block funding for the Defense Department's Web-based travel reservation system because of the way the contract with Northrop Grumman Corp. was negotiated. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., believes that $40 million to $50 million could be saved by putting the Defense Travel System up for re-bidding.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

GSA gets new inspector general

Brian Miller, former assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, has been appointed as inspector general at the General Services Administration.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Zen and the art of ERP maintenance

Performance management tools can help keep enterprise software humming, but the job is getting trickier all the time. Last year, market analyst Input estimated that the U.S. government's spending on ERP for fiscal 2004 was $5.6 billion, driven in large part by efforts to consolidate systems at the Homeland Security Department.

Cofoni joins CACI

Paul Cofoni was appointed president of CACI International Inc.’s federal division, just days after his former employer, Computer Sciences Corp., announced that he would retire as head of its federal sector business Aug. 12.

OMB assigns CIOs new homework

Federal chief information officers received an eight-page “room for improvement” memo last week from the Office of Management and Budget asking them to focus on executing project management plans. The memo compliments them for improvements they have made in planning and justifying federal information technology projects.

Lawmakers rap OPM on underpaid retirement annuities

Nine members of Congress have lent their weight to the issue of underpaid federal retirement annuities, in a letter sent to the Office of Personnel Management last week.

Charting an organization

It is important to understand why financial management matters. Having clean, auditable books is all well and good, but that is a byproduct of good financial practices. The real benefit is having accurate data that managers can use to make decisions about running their agencies and programs. It is an essential management tool.
That is also why the detail about the

Friday, August 05, 2005

IRS picks webMethods as part of modernization

Led by the bureau's Modernization and Information Technology Services division, the modernization project will use the webMethods products to fully integrate existing and future IT systems deployed throughout IRS.

Treasury secretary promises green, sees red

Treasury earned red lights (a failing grade) for "financial performance" under the President's Management Agenda scorecard. A department spokesman said that it may be years before Treasury removes the red, because the department is responsible for the persistent flaws in the accounts of the other federal agencies that write checks on the U.S. Treasury.

CFTC taps Leiss as CIO

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has chosen Wayne Leiss, currently chief of the federal financial systems branch in the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Federal Financial Management (OFFM), to become the commission’s new chief information officer. At OMB, Leiss has been the driving force behind developing a governmentwide financial reporting systems architecture and policy. Leiss is scheduled to begin at CFTC Aug. 22.

OPM approves direct-hire authority for acquisition jobs

The Office of Personnel Management this week granted federal agencies direct-hire authority for certain acquisition positions. The regulations, published in the Federal Register Thursday, give non-Defense Department agencies the ability "to recruit and appoint highly qualified individuals" for these jobs.

E-gov and E-Travel

GSA's portal for information on the Government's plans to integrated and streamline ancillary systems such as Travel.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Homeland IG singles out ICE financial mismanagement

Ongoing financial management problems at ICE and the Coast Guard are hampering work throughout the department, acting IG Richard Skinner said at a July 27 hearing held by the House Government Reform subcommittee on government management, finance and accountability.

GSA releases final reorganization plan

The General Services Administration’s final plan to reorganize the Federal Technology and Federal Supply services into the Federal Acquisition Service tries to instill the right balance of management controls and customer service needs, senior agency officials said.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Agencies seek to iron out student loan repayment details

At a forum held Wednesday at Office of Personnel Management headquarters in Washington, more than 50 representatives from various agencies met with OPM officials to share ideas and establish an ongoing discussion on how best to implement the government's student loan repayment benefit.

Homeland Security agency begins hiring after lengthy hiatus

The federal agency responsible for capturing terrorists, busting street gangs and investigating money laundering has started hiring new agents after almost a year and a half in limbo, marking a turning point for a bureau that has been riddled with financial problems.

Crisis Management

Within federal agencies, there are crises in staffing, technology management, financial management, procurement, asset control and, predictably, budgeting.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Share-in-savings contracting regulations at least a month away

Regulations implementing a law that gives agencies limited authority to enter share-in-savings contracts are expected to be completed less than a month before that authority expires.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Homeland Security says it's following financial law

"While the subject of financial management may seem arcane and dry to some . . . getting financial management right is critical to the operational effectiveness of the federal agency charged with leading the effort to secure the homeland,"...

Judge May Tell IRS to Open Collection Bids

Judge Robert H. Hodges Jr. of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims told the Internal Revenue Service that he intends to rule that tax collectors were too restrictive while looking for companies to run the first phase of the agency's new debt collection program. Hodges wrote in the order that the IRS could best meet its goal for a successful project "by opening the list of potential bidders to everyone" qualified to receive government contracts.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

DHS says CFO reports to Chertoff

“There is no doubt in our mind that Andrew Maner, the CFO, has a direct report to the secretary,” said Janet Hale, DHS' undersecretary for management, testifying yesterday on Capitol Hill.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Oracle Fusion platform coming into focus

Government program managers are finally starting to get a glimpse of the next-generation enterprise resource planning platform from Oracle Corp. At the Oracle Government Users Conference, held last week in Washington, the database giant revealed some details about its forthcoming Fusion platform.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Labor scores green sweep on President's Management Agenda

Clay Johnson, OMB’s deputy director for management, identified the Labor Department as the first to achieve an “all green” score card for management this quarter.

Friday, July 15, 2005

GIVING THE AMERICAN PEOPLE MORE FOR THEIR MONEY - A Report from the President's Management Council

Dear Mr. President,

Four years ago you charged us, the chief operating officers of the Federal
Government, with improving the management of the Government. You
challenged us to make a difference.

We report to you that we are making a difference, a big difference. We
are effectively establishing the management disciplines that will help us
consistently improve performance and efficiency, at a $50 billion to $100
billion level each year.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

OMB releases final budget guidance

Circular A-11, final guidance for agency fiscal 2007 budget preparations, sent out by the Office of Management and Budget in late June contains guidance on financial management, requires agencies covered by the Chief Financial Officers Act to submit an overview of their financial management systems. Included in the overview should be a migration strategy to a cross-agency financial management service center, the circular states.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Pension insurer seeks financial management system

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. seeks proposals for development of an integrated financial and accounting system. PBGC, which ensures workers’ retirement pensions against the possibility that their employers may default, wants to reduce costs and delays involved with aging systems and outdated business processes and provide an online transaction-based system.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Public/private team wins Energy IT services deal

The Energy Department has awarded a competitive sourcing contract potentially worth about $1 billion to a joint venture of federal workers and private-sector companies to manage information technology services. It is apparently the first time that federal employees have teamed with private industry to win a competitive sourcing deal.

Accounting organization honors agency performance reports

An independent organization of government accountants announced that it would award the Defense, Energy and Interior departments, among others, for producing high-quality performance reports. Eleven awards, called the Certificate of Excellence in Accountability Reporting, will be presented to agencies on Sept. 14 at the National Press Club in Washington.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

House cuts off funding for eTravel

The General Services Administration’s eTravel budget would be cut to nothing under an amendment attached to the House Transportation, Treasury and Independent Agencies funding bill for fiscal 2006. ...amendment would cause “the shutdown, entire shutdown of the eTravel program.”"

IBM Debuts Sarbanes-Oxley Software For Federal Government Agencies

The application will help agencies comply with an OMB directive governing internal controls over financial reporting.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Lawmakers raid DOT CIO’s budget to fund Amtrak

Transportation Department CIO Dan Matthews may not have a job if lawmakers sustain cuts that the House approved yesterday. The House gutted the entire funding — $11.9 million — for salaries and expenses for the Transportation CIO’s office in order to help keep the beleaguered Amtrak passenger rail system afloat another year.

Oracle lands order for Transcom financials replacement, DEAMS

The Air Force has awarded a $22.7 million task order to Oracle for commercial software to build a new accounting and finance system for U.S. Transportation Command (Transcom). The Defense Enterprise Accounting and Management System (DEAMS) will update Transcom’s general funds and working capital funds processes, create an enterprise view for financial data and improve information accuracy.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

FRTIB’s Stiffler to step down

After 35 years in government, Larry Stiffler, the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board’s director of automated systems, is retiring July 1. He took over the troubled retirement system in 2001 after the board fired American Management Systems Inc. of Fairfax, Va., for failing to complete the system after four years and at a cost of more than $90 million. He led the team that hired the new contractor, Materials, Communications and Computers Inc. of Alexandria, Va., to take over the project, which was completed in June 2003.

GAO: Times call for risk-based budgeting

Demographic trends, rising health care costs, decreasing federal revenues and a growing federal deficit all require the government to do more with less in years to come, Comptroller General David Walker told members of the House Homeland Security Committee’s Management, Integration and Oversight Subcommittee.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Accenture to overhaul Army's financial-management system

Accenture has won a $537 million contract from the Army to develop a consolidated financial-management system for active, Reserve and National Guard units. The Army’s Program Executive Office for Enterprise Information Systems awarded the 10-year, General Fund Enterprise Business System (GFEBS) contract to the Reston, Va.-based company yesterday.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Senate confirms Combs as OMB controller, Springer as head of OPM

The Senate has confirmed a new controller for the Office of Management and Budget, while the former controller was approved as head of the Office of Personnel Management. Linda Combs became the new head of the OMB’s Office of Federal Financial Management, while Linda Springer, who held the controller’s job for about 18 months, will direct the government’s personnel agency for a term of four years.

Friday, June 24, 2005

DHS’ Emerge2 program temporarily suspended

Homeland Security Department’s Emerge2 program, a $229 million project, still is alive but has been paused until the agency figures out the program’s future. While it remains an active program within the department, according to chief financial officer Andy Maner, most work under the program has been halted temporarily. BearingPoint Inc. of McLean, Va., completed the second of two task orders under its Emerge2 contract June 10, but is not currently carrying out any work under the BPA.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Lawmaker opens debate on financial management

Outside financial management experts told the House Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Management, Finance and Accountability that federal executives must be held more accountable for their behavior Wednesday. Todd Russell Platts, R-Pa., subcommittee chairman, held the first of what he said would be a series of hearings on how to consolidate federal financial management laws.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

SRA will serve Justice with IT systems

SRA International Inc. won a six-year, $80 million task order from the Justice Department to provide information technology systems and services to the Office of Justice Programs for the on the Grants Management System, which along with Grants.gov Web site , automates the application and approval process for the $8 billion in federal funds that the office issues to state, local and private organizations.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Acting ICE CIO melts away

Al Hudson, acting CIO of the Homeland Security Department’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and his deputy, Tom Tomai, have left the agency. ICE technology officials have been subjected to severe management pressures because of the department’s structural funding deficit. ICE’s financial problems at times have led officials to impose hiring freezes to conserve cash.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Panel breaks down the fundamentals, and the payoff, of Lines of Business

The Association for Federal Information Resources Management and GCN last month hosted a roundtable discussion of the Office of Management and Budget’s Lines of Business initiatives. The 10 participants in the roundtable generally agreed that Lines of Business can work, while acknowledging that a lot of challenges lie ahead.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Moving beyond the numbers, Today’s CFO must inform, advise and strategize

Accountants see life from a year behind. Budgeteers see life from a year ahead. Program managers live life day to day. My job as a chief financial officer is to deliver meaningful financial management information for decision-making that makes this time warp transparent. And my job is growing more challenging — and exciting — every day. - Susan Grant, CFO, DOE

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Transportation financial-systems change manager to retire

Transportation deputy CFO Tom Park will retire effective July 31. He has been key to the department’s moving to a modernized financial management system and becoming a Center of Excellence for the Office of Management and Budget’s financial management line of business.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Balancing Act - As their jobs expand, CFOs, CIOs must sort out overlapping roles

The CIOs own the infrastructure for all the systems, while CFOs drive the functionality for financial and many other systems. The CIO plays the role, making sure the system is compatible with the enterprise architecture. They provide guidance and advice, but they don’t dictate what product is used. That is a functionality decision that should be made by the CFO.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Oracle Announces Oracle(R) Financial Consolidation Hub

Customers Gain Complete Enterprise View of Financial Information Across Disparate Applications. Oracle Financial Consolidation Hub integrates data from disparate sources to create a single, global view of financial information that can be used to facilitate compliance with accelerated reporting, expanded disclosures and certified internal controls now required by Sarbanes-Oxley, the United Kingdom's Combined Code and other global governance mandates.

AFGE Applauds Congressional Support for Federal HUD Employees

The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) today praised lawmakers in the Senate and House for their efforts to ensure that the essential work performed by employees in the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Financial Reporting Division (FRD) remained in-house. Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D-Md.) and Rep. Jim Moran (D- Va.) led the effort.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

CDC, FDA Launch New HHS Agency-Wide Financial Management System

BearingPoint, Oracle and the United States Department of Health and Human Services Reach Major Unified Financial Management System Program Milestones

Friday, May 13, 2005

IRS announces Lambert’s appointment as CFO

The IRS has appointed Janice Lambert as chief financial officer, making her responsible for the accounting of $2 trillion in taxpayer receipts and the tax agency’s $10 billion annual operating budget. She also will be its chief advisor on financial and performance management, financial systems, strategic planning and internal controls.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

OMB seeks private-sector competition for HR, finance services

The Office of Management and Budget wants private-sector companies to offer human resources and financial management services to agencies under the administration’s “lines of business” initiative.

Justice officials want new financial system

Top Justice Department officials Wednesday blamed their agency's financial reporting problems largely on the fact that multiple systems control disparate parts of the department's financial data.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

OMB Finds Agencies Not Meeting Administration's Management Goals

Eighteen of 26 agencies were rated red, or bad, on their financial performance. The scorecard reflected the executive branch's progress as of March 31 in meeting the goals of the president's management agenda.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Never too late to improve ERP

Gone is the enterprise resource planning (ERP) gold rush of a few years ago, when agencies raced toward the dream of centralized back-office systems and spent large amounts of money to update older software in areas such as human resources, finance and asset management. Now, the name of the game is maximizing ERP investments already in place.

Friday, April 29, 2005

OMB provides updated financial system requirements draft

The Office of Management and Budget has made available its list of revised financial system requirements. Agencies have one week left in which to comment on the Core Financial System Requirements Exposure Draft, which updates the 2001 document to reflect changes and clarify requirements.

Friday, April 22, 2005

OMB opens eye to consolidating budget, records and other functions

The administration’s next set of initiatives targeted for consolidation are coming into focus. These areas include: Budget formulation and budget execution Records management IT infrastructure, telecommunications and desktop Procurement

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

OMB finishing guidance on how grants management will work

The agencies managing the Grants Management Line of Business Consolidation initiative are finalizing the project's governance model and the way shared-service centers will work.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Becoming a Center of Excellence: Federal customers benefit from Transportation’s investment

The Transportation Department was pleased to be named one of four federal Centers of Excellence for financial management in President Bush’s 2006 budget. This designation by the Office of Management and Budget indicates the administration’s confidence in the success of Transportation’s Enterprise Services Center over the last five years in implementing a state-of-the-art financial management system. We call our new system Delphi.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Financial management organization says quiet goodbye

At the Joint Financial Management Improvement Program's last annual conference Thursday, financial management leaders pushed new ways of measuring--and controlling--government spending.

Green means more than bean counting

It takes more than good accounting to earn a green score in the financial performance category of the President’s Management Agenda quarterly score card, an OMB official said today.