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Friday, October 12, 2007

CFOs, IGs share best practices for financial reports

Agency chief financial officers and inspectors general have developed a set of best practices to share for coordinating the preparation and audit of annual federal financial statements. A key point is to start early.

The CFO Council and the President’s Council on Integrity and Efficiency produced the guide to promote clear expectations defined early and often, continuous communication and a shared commitment to improve agency financial management.

An agency CFO prepares the financial statement according to federal accounting principles and also evaluates the use of internal controls to assure financial management under the Office of Management and Budget’s Circular A-123. The IG audits the financial statement to give an opinion about its reliability based on the management of risk of its internal controls, states the report, posted Oct. 1.

Agencies must submit their audited financial statements and Performance and Accountability Reports (PARs) by Nov. 15 to OMB, the Treasury Department and the Government Accountability Office.

The CFO and IG organizations recommend that agencies start early with planning discussions in January and field work beginning in March to avoid herculean catch-up near the end of the federal fiscal year. Agencies should develop draft financial statements and PARs by Sept. 30, the groups said.

-Mary Mosquera, FCW.com

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