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Friday, September 29, 2006

Auditors: ICE financial management a work in progress

"Homeland Security Department auditors released a report Wednesday calling for continued improvements to financial management and reporting at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau and the Coast Guard.

The review, conducted by accounting firm KPMG for the DHS inspector general, stated that vague criteria for spending oversight need to be re-evaluated and fine-tuned.
ICE's management has had "abnormal balances" and problems with "accurate and timely submission of financial reports," the report stated. Safeguards designed to issue warnings when erroneous data is submitted are not adequately monitored

But there also were indications that the agency -- which previously has been the target of criticism over financial problems, including budget shortfalls -- has made progress, the report said.

"The leadership provided by the ICE [chief financial officer] in setting a positive 'tone-at-the-top' and actively monitoring ICE's progress ... has shown to be integral to the success achieved at ICE thus far," the report stated. The bureau got its first permanent financial chief in January.

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