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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Today's GAO Publication

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) today released the following testimony:

Indian Health Service: Mismanagement Led to Millions of Dollars in Lost or Stolen Property and Wasteful Spending.
GAO-08-1069T, July 31
http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-08-1069T
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d081069thigh.pdf

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

OMB government performance official to step down in September

Robert Shea, Office of Management and Budget associate director for administration and government performance, will step down in September, he announced to fellow OMB employees on Tuesday.
In his current role, Shea manages OMB's internal affairs, leads the president's Performance Improvement Initiative and administers the Program Assessment Rating Tool, among other responsibilities.

Shea told Government Executive on Wednesday that he is joining Grant Thornton's Global Public Sector. The firm is a worldwide accounting, tax and business advisory organization. Shea said he was proud to be joining Grant Thornton and expected to do work similar to what he's been doing at OMB.

An OMB spokeswoman Tuesday called Shea "[OMB Deputy Director for Management] Clay Johnson's right hand man, pushing for greater accountability in program performance and federal funding."

Shea said two OMB deputies -- Dustin Brown, deputy assistant director for management, and Lauren Wright, assistant director for management and operations -- will take on his duties after his departure.

-Elizabeth Newell, GovExec.com

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Today's GAO Publication

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) today released the following correspondence:

Financial Management: DOD's Ability to Prevent, Identify, Investigate, and Report on Antideficiency Act Violations.
GAO-08-941R, July 28
http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-08-941R

Friday, July 25, 2008

Today's GAO Publications

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) today released the following correspondence:

Financial Audit Manual: Volume 1, July 2008.
GAO-08-585G, July 25
http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-08-585G

Financial Audit Manual: Volume 2, July 2008.
GAO-08-586G, July 25
http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-08-586G

Agencies urged to make better use of performance measures

The number of federal managers who measure program performance has increased over the past decade, but managers are not using the results to inform their decisions any more than they have in the past, a Government Accountability Office official told lawmakers on Thursday.

GAO credited agencies and the Office of Management and Budget with making program planning and measurement "slowly, yet increasingly" part of the government's culture. Bernice Steinhardt, GAO director of strategic issues, told members of a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee that she has observed a transformation in the government's ability to manage for results.

This progress provides a solid foundation for improving government programs, Steinhardt said, but she added that the value of measures in and of themselves is limited.

"Unless federal managers use performance data to make management decisions and to inform policy-makers, the benefit of collecting performance information cannot be realized and real improvement in management and program results are less likely to be achieved," Steinhardt stated in her report (GAO-08-1026T).

A number of witnesses shared best practices for the use of performance information. Gov. Martin O'Malley, D-Md., touted the CitiStat and StateStat programs, which identify problems such as crime spots and Chesapeake Bay pollution and target resources toward addressing them. The success of these programs, O'Malley said, has hinged on four tenets: timely, accurate information shared by all; rapid deployment of resources; effective tactics and strategies; and relentless follow-up and assessment.

Representatives from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, NASA and the Veterans Affairs Department also spoke about their relative success in using performance measures.

Steinhardt said GAO will issue a second report stemming from the survey of managers. It will examine which agencies are putting performance information to the best use and how certain agencies could improve.

-Elizabeth Newell, GovExec.com

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FederalNewsRadio - Ask the CFO - Adrienne Thomas (NARA)

National Archives and Records Administration

Adrienne Thomas - Deputy Archivist for Administration

Adrienne Thomas started working in the federal government soon after college and hasn't stopped since.

Some might call her a 'lifer'.

Thomas came to the Archives as a history major eager to live and work in Washington. Today, as Deputy Archivist for Administration, Thomas oversees the agency's finances, along with dealing with human capital and facilities maintenance issues.

In addition to this hard work, she had hands-on control over the design and construction of Archives II, the Archives expanded office, storage and research facilities just north of the University of Maryland, College Park.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Version 1 of the Federal Financial Management Standard Business Process document

The Financial Systems Integration Office (FSIO) in cooperation with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has been addressing long needed standardization of Federal financial processes as part of the Financial Management Line of Business (FMLoB).

FSIO is pleased to issue Version 1 of the Federal Financial Management Standard Business Process document which includes the Funds Management and Payment Management Standard Business Processes.

This document can be found at page http://www.fsio.gov/fsio/fsiodata/ under the Standard Business Processes Document - July 2008 Section.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

FederalNewsRadio - CFO Insights - Douglas Webster (DOL)

Enterprise Risk Management

Douglas Webster - Chief Financial Officer, Department of Labor

How can Enterprise Risk Management help CFOs reduce Federal Agency's risk exposure and some of the challenges they face in expanding its reach beyond financial compliance requirements?

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Springer will leave OPM

Linda Springer has announced her resignation as director of the Office of Personnel Management effective Aug. 13, an OPM spokesman said today. Springer told Bush administration officials July 15 of her plans to leave OPM to take a position in the private sector.

OPM Deputy Director Howard Weizmann will serve as acting director, the spokesman said.

Springer became OPM director in June 2005 after being comptroller in the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Federal Financial Management. While in that position, she reduced the turnaround time for agencies to report their year-end financial results from five months to 45 days, OPM said.

She is a principal of the government’s Joint Financial Management Improvement Program and was named a National Academy of Public Administration Fellow in 2006.

-Mary Mosquera, FCW.com
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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Today's GAO Publication

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) today released the following correspondence:

Financial Management: FBI Has Designed and Implemented Stronger Internal Controls over Sentinel Contractor Invoice Review and Equipment Purchases, but Additional Actions Are Needed.
GAO-08-716R, July 15.
http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-08-716R

Monday, July 14, 2008

AGA's FMSB Weighs in On Three Proposals

AGA's Financial Management Standards Boad (FMSB) has sent comments to the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board (FASAB) on the exposure draft of the proposed Statement of Federal Financial Accounting Concepts (SFFAC), Distinguishing Basic Information, Required Supplementary Information, and Other Accompanying Information. Read the letter.

The FMSB has also sent comments to the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) on its exposure draft of a proposed Statement titled, Fund Balance Reporting and Governmental Fund Type Definitions. The FMSB wrote, "Overall, it is a very good, needed and reasonable standard." Read the letter.

The FMSB sent another comment letter to the GASB on its proposed revisions to Concepts Statement No. 2 related to Service Efforts and Accomplishments Reporting. The FMSB thinks that, even though there are limitations that can be potentially significant for a reporting entity, SEA reporting can provide essential information. Read the letter.

The GASB will hold a public hearing, scheduled for 9 a.m., Tuesday, July 29, at the Hilton Hotel, 255 Courtland Street, NE, Atlanta, GA, in conjunction with the PDC. AGA Executive Director Relmond Van Daniker, DBA, CPA, has been asked to testify. For more information, visit the GASB website.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Today's GAO Publications

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) today released the following reports and correspondence:

Telecommunications: FCC Needs to Improve Performance Management and Strengthen Oversight of the High-Cost Program.
GAO-08-633, June 13.
http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-08-633
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d08633high.pdf

Management Report: Opportunities for Improvements in FDIC's Internal Controls and Accounting Procedures.
GAO-08-863R, July 11.
http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-08-863R

FederalNewsRadio - Ask the CFO - Doug Webster (DOL)

Department of Labor

Doug Webster - Chief Financial Officer

What does it take to win the Association for Government Accountants highest award for financial management and accountability?

The Department of Labor knows. The agency has won AGA's CEAR award for eight straight years.

CFO Doug Webster discusses this, as well as what his agency is doing in terms of improving financial management and how his office drives the overall mission at Labor.

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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Agencies choose vendors for financial systems

Agencies are increasingly choosing contractors as shared service providers for their modernized financial management systems over federal agencies that provide the same services. The first three large agencies to move to a shared service provider under the Financial Management Line of Business have selected contractors.

In the latest example, the Labor Department awarded a $50.4 million contract to Global Computer Enterprises on June 26 to develop and host a core financial management system to replace its mainframe accounting system The vendor will implement Oracle Federal Financial software for the department.

Agencies must use a public or private shared-services provider when they upgrade their financial management systems under the Office of Management and Budget’s Financial Management Line of Business consolidation initiative.

Meanwhile, two other agencies have chosen contractors to upgrade their financial systems over the federal agencies that act as shared service providers. The Environmental Protection Agency upheld its choice of CGI Federal in April to host its financial management software, after IBM protested the original award in February 2007. The Agriculture Department selected Accenture in September to modernize its financial systems.

The four agencies that provide financial management shared services are the Treasury Department’s Bureau of Public Debt, the Interior Department’s National Business Center, the Transportation Department and the General Services Administration.

Labor said it followed OMB's guidance for a competitive framework for the financial management effort and migration planning from GSA’s Financial Systems Integration Office.

-Mary Mosquera, FCW.com

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Monday, July 07, 2008

GSA PBS Seeks CFO for National Capital Region

The U.S. General Services Administration invites applications for the position of Chief Financial Officer for the National Capital Region, Public Buildings Service in Washington, DC. The CFO manages all NCR/PBS budgetary and financial management activities. View the complete vacancy announcements, WP124MP08 or WP124DE08, at WWW.USAJOBS.OPM.GOV or WWW.GSA.GOV. Information Contact: Chuanda Johnson 202-708-5333. GSA is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Think tanks help managers prepare for presidential transition

To help federal managers prepare for the transition to a new administration, a number of think tanks are launching reports, blogs, seminars and other resources.

Nonprofit groups, and not-for-profit wings of big companies have been around for decades, dating back to the founding of the National Academy of Public Administration in the 1960s. But many of them have recently stepped up their involvement with federal agencies. And that trend will continue in the coming years.

The Association of Government Accountants, for example, focuses on financial management. One of the newer groups, Partnership for Public Service — founded in 2001 — is trying to address human resources challenges, particularly the upcoming wave of baby-boomer retirements.

Beyond their research, many of these organizations say their greatest accomplishment is raising awareness of management issues — focusing not just on policy, but process as well.

Managers at these organizations say they’re focused on two major challenges: the upcoming presidential transition, and the baby-boomer retirement wave. The retirement crisis is a longer-term problem, but many groups are trying to give it a higher profile. The Partnership for Public Service has been holding forums for career employees across the country, and the group plans to use feedback from those employees to compile a report for the incoming administration.

-Gregg Carlstrom, FederalTimes.com

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Thursday, July 03, 2008

GAO: Feds need more financial transparency

The federal government needs to improve how it accounts for funding to steer it away from an unsustainable path of increasing debt, the Government Accountability Office said.

It is difficult to know the full financial picture of the federal government because GAO has been unable to give an opinion on the fiscal 2007 Financial Report of the U.S. Government, as it has for the 11 previous years, said Gene Dodaro, acting comptroller general.

“Given the federal government’s current financial condition and the nation’s long-term fiscal challenge, the need for the Congress and federal policy-makers and management to have reliable, useful, and timely financial and performance information is greater than ever,” Dodaro told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee's Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services and International Security Subcommittee June 26.

Sound decisions about agency programs and policies are more difficult without that information, he said.

He recommended more long-term fiscal simulations and sustainability reporting to expand the understanding of the government’s ability to pay for programs, services and benefits in the future, especially health care and retirement programs.

-Mary Mosquera, FCW.com

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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Today's GAO Publications

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) today released the following report:

Internal Revenue Service: Status of GAO Financial Audit and Related Financial Management Report Recommendations.
GAO-08-693, July 2
http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-08-693
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d08693high.pdf

DHS financial systems' security questioned

Plans by agencies of the Homeland Security Department to correct security weaknesses in their financial management systems don't correct the fundamental causes of the problems. Also, the plans are not consistently updated with correct information and lack detail, according to a recent audit commissioned by DHS’ inspector general.

The consulting firm KPMG found that the Information Technology Plans of Action and Milestones (POA&M) that several DHS agencies have used to fix vulnerabilities in financial management systems were insufficient. The audit found that milestones in those plans often lacked enough information to correct problems and the schedules the agencies set are not reasonable.

DHS’ inspector general hired the company to audit the POA&M plans that the Coast Guard, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, the Transportation Security Administration and the Federal Emergency Management Agency had for improving the security of their financial management systems. The department’s fiscal 2006 Performance and Accountability Report cited the security of the department’s financial management systems as a material weakness.

The company's auditors said they could not make a determination of what effect DHS’ efforts to consolidate its components financial management systems would have on agencies’ POA&M’s because that integration plan is still in its pre-implementation phase.

A department IG report released in May said DHS should re-examine options for its financial systems consolidation project and correct outstanding software coding issues before moving ahead with the financial system consolidation project.

The audit, which was conducted in November and December of 2007, made a series of recommendations for the components and DHS’ Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) and Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO). The report was released July 1.

-Ben Bain, FCW.com

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