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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Federal Finance Skills Must Catch up on Transformation

When pundits predict a retirement-driven government brain drain, it’s folks like Mary Mitchell they have in mind.

Mitchell, a 32-year veteran of federal service, will retire Jan. 3, 2008 from the General Services Administration. The FCW account of her plans made the magazine’s most-viewed story list, beating out a You-Tube video of GSA Administrator Lurita Doan on Halloween, dressed as a witch, riding the agency’s hallways aboard a Sedgeway.

Currently GSA’s deputy associate Administrator for the Office of Technology Strategy, Mitchell has been focusing on the financial services line of business and, in a larger sense, the changing skills requirements of the federal financial function.

Financial types “have not been there in program decisions until now. The main focus has been on transaction processing and reporting,” she says.

But that’s changing.

As the mechanical functions of financial management go towards shared service providers, those in the CFO community “must be a party at the table making good business decisions.” Mitchell says she believes the integration of finance with agency budget and program goals requires transformation of the financial skills set. That transformation that has already occurred in IT as data processing was outsourced and CIOs became strategists.



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