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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Homeland Security gets help strengthening financial controls

"The Homeland Security Department awarded a contract worth as much as $42 million over five years to PricewaterhouseCoopers for assistance in assessing internal controls over financial reporting, DHS announced last week.

Since 1983, agency heads have been required under the 1982 Federal Managers Financial Integrity Act to produce an annual statement on the state of internal controls. That requirement was made more stringent in 2004 with a revision to Circular A-123, the Office of Management and Budget's guidance document for implementing the act. The circular allows OMB to demand an audit if agencies fail to make clear progress.

DHS last year initiated efforts to comply with its accounting requirements by assigning responsibilities for internal controls, launching a series of pilot projects to document and correct material weaknesses and deploying a Government Accountability Office tool for managing internal controls.

The internal control audit is in addition to an annual financial management audit required of DHS and 23 other agencies covered by the 1990 Chief Financial Officers Act. "

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