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Thursday, October 19, 2006

Report: Create single financial management statute

Federal financial management lacks a single source for guidance and many officials view its importance as minimal, according to a new National Academy of Public Administration report. It recommends creating a single, integrated financial management statute.

The academy’s “discussions with financial managers suggested that many view the world of financial management as a collection of disjoined sectors rather than a single, coherent community,” states the report, “Moving from Scorekeeper to Strategic Partner: Improving Financial Management in the Federal Government.

But finances play a major role in areas that overlap agencies, such as planning and audits. The report states that no major additional legal requirements are needed. Instead, it recommends streamlining existing statutes and improving the integration of several Office of Management and Budget circulars.

“This step would go a long way toward integrating the various disciplines of financial management,” the report states.

The academy made 16 recommendations for improving federal financial management, including enhancing recruiting and using inspectors general to assist agency decision-makers, according to the report.

Rep. Todd Platts (R-Pa.), chairman of the House Government Reform Committee’s Government Management, Finance and Accountability Subcommittee, had asked the academy to examine the issue with a focus on areas such as long-term objectives, burdensome requirements and useful financial data.

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