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Friday, June 06, 2008

Officials: Government's finances still are not in order, despite progress

While touting significant improvement in financial management and reporting for fiscal 2007 and in recent years, key officials said Thursday they know it's not enough.

For the 11th consecutive year, long-standing roadblocks prevented the Government Accountability Office from issuing an opinion on the government's fiscal 2007 consolidated financial statements. Serious financial management problems at the Defense Department, the government's inability to account for and reconcile transactions among agencies, and ineffective processes for preparing financial statements were the primary factors preventing GAO from signing off on an opinion, acting comptroller general Gene Dodaro said in testimony prepared for a scheduled hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee.

While GAO couldn't vouch for the reliability of the government's consolidated financial statements, many agencies were successful in financial management and reporting in fiscal 2007. Nineteen of 24 agencies covered under the 1990 Chief Financial Officers Act received unqualified audit opinions on their financial statements last fiscal year. In 1996, only six accomplished that feat.

-Elizabeth Newell, GovExec.com

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