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Thursday, July 13, 2006

Agencies prove they’re cleaning up the books

After a frantic year of mapping the checks and balances that keep their bookkeeping activities on the up and up, chief financial officers and their staffs this month are breathing sighs of relief that the first deadline to document their internal financial controls has come and gone.

In order to comply with the Office of Management and Budget’s revised Circular A-123, departments must thoroughly document their key business processes and controls. As with the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act regulations affecting the private sector, the hope here is that better process documentation will highlight trouble spots early on and improve overall financial management.

June 30 marked the first milestone for agencies to demonstrate to OMB that they’re on the right track. OMB reports that most agencies are on target to complete these assessments by the end of the year, but that some agencies have decided to implement the requirements over multiple years, which is also permissible.

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