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.