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Friday, June 29, 2007

GAO: DHS lacks strategy to consolidate financial systems

The Homeland Security Department plans to consolidate several duplicative financial management systems although it does not have a detailed strategy to integrate its systems, standardize business processes and put in place effective workforce practices, the Government Accountability Office said.

Williams testified June 28 before Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee’s Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services and International Security Subcommittee. GAO today released its detailed report on DHS’ integrated financial management systems challenges.

The department will migrate its small agencies to one of two financial management systems in the next phase of its financial management consolidation. It anticipates that by fiscal 2009 one half of its agencies will be using the consolidated systems, said David Norquist, DHS’ chief financial officer.

The department will begin moving its larger components, such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency, in 2009. Consolidating financial management systems is the first step toward a departmentwide integrated system.

The 22 agencies that make up DHS each brought their own financial systems. DHS decided its component agencies will choose to move to one of two model systems now in use at the Transportation Security Administration and Customs and Border Protection to standardize financial systems platforms and better share data.

The department approach is consistent with GAO recommendations for strengthening financial management, Norquist said. DHS recently updated its concept of operations to describe current business processes and technical specializations of the system.

-Mary Mosquera, FCW.com

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