"The Office of Management and Budget and General Services Administration have finalized, for the time being, long-awaited guidance to help agencies assess whether they should turn over control of their financial-management systems to a shared-services provider.
OMB and GSA officials said guidance will always be a work in progress, but that it gives agencies a starting point for determining how to move forward.
'The migration planning guidance is an important step toward establishing increased transparency that will foster efficiencies in federal financial systems and operations,' OMB deputy comptroller Daniel Werfel said.
The guidance comes almost five months after OMB in May issued draft guidelines for the Financial Management Line of Business, which drew criticism from certain lawmakers who felt more clarity was needed.
Mary Mitchell, GSA deputy associate administrator and FM LOB program manager, said the administration considered the more than 750 comments on the draft version, and while a handful of policy issues remain under consideration, the final guidance is thorough enough for agencies to begin their analyses.
'The guidance addresses the vast majority of comments received', particularly those related to clarity and improvements of the tools provided herein,' she said in an accompanying letter.
The crux of the document remains the same: Agencies planning to replace or substantially change their financial-management systems must, with limited exceptions, turn over their financial operations to a shared-services provider, or become one themselves. Agencies can also sign up with a private provider, so long as the firm meets certain requirements. "