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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Scorecard shows agency improvements in financial management

Three agencies gained ground in financial management while four fell in e-government on the management scorecard released May 1 by the Office of Management and Budget.

The quarterly traffic-light style reports track 26 agencies’ progress on the five main management initiatives — financial performance, electronic government, competitive sourcing, human capital, and budget and performance integration — that make up the president’s management agenda. OMB officials issue the scores after visiting agencies and reviewing documentation from them. Green shows success. Yellow means mixed performance. Red shows serious flaws.

To get green on financial performance, agencies must comply with requirements such as receiving a clean audit opinion and show that they are expanding use of financial data to manage programs.

The Office of Personnel Management, the Agency for International Development and the Housing and Urban Development Department improved their financial scores to green in the quarter ending March 31. That raised the number of agencies with the top financial score to 12.

OMB Controller Linda Combs said the gains reflect governmentwide progress on financial management. “It’s a great success,” Combs said.

AID recently began using a new accounting system that allows managers to monitor financial data of programs on a daily basis, Combs said. The agency has also increased managers’ accountability for meeting budget goals on projects.

OPM improved its score by introducing a plan to improve its cost accounting, while HUD has upgraded its ability to track the benefit of its spending on public housing, Combs said.

“They really have demonstrated that they have this financial data that caused their program managers to make good decisions,” she said.

-Daniel Friedman, FederalTimes.com

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