"Good financial management helps agencies focus on what is important to carrying out their core missions, members of a panel said today.
Gwendolyn Sykes, chief financial officer at NASA and one of the panelists, said she had to reshape how NASA thought about its new agenda to go deeper into space. The costs of building space exploration vehicles and getting liftoff add up quickly, and the agency began for the first time doing tough independent financial analyses to see if projects were worth the money, she said.
'We can't do those things if we don't know how much it costs,' Sykes said at the Federal Financial Management Conference at the Hilton Washington in Washington, D.C.
NASA scientists and engineers now want the cost information to determine a project's future, Sykes said.
Financial data pulled from strong financial management practices can bring timely, reliable information to measure costs and determine if an initiative is worthwhile, said fellow panelist Michael Hettinger, staff director of a House subcommittee overseeing agencies' financial management.
Without cost management, agencies face budget shortfalls, Hettinger said."