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Thursday, October 30, 2008

CACI and Oracle Team To Provide Functionality for Federal Procurement Contracts Management

CACI and Oracle announced today that the two companies have entered into an agreement to jointly develop a Contract Lifecycle Management solution that helps federal organizations author, execute, and manage procurement contracts in compliance with the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS), and other agency supplements. CACI will provide subject matter expertise gained from years of experience designing and implementing contract management systems for the Department of Defense and federal civilian agencies to help Oracle enhance the functionality of its commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) Oracle(R) E-Business Suite. This functionality is expected to support both simplified and complex acquisitions and be integrated with Oracle's procurement and financial management applications to provide a complete procure-to-pay process that meets government compliance mandates and transforms federal contract management.

Oracle Contract Lifecycle Management is an enterprise solution that helps create and enforce better contracts by enabling standardized contract processes, reduced time-to-contract, and contract compliance. The solution builds on existing procurement and contract lifecycle management functionality within Oracle E-Business Suite, providing capabilities to help significantly cut supply management costs for federal customers by integrating requisitioning, sourcing, purchasing, and supplier collaboration with business intelligence. It provides contract professionals with capabilities to author, approve, sign, monitor, track, modify, renew, and close out contracts.

CACI will leverage its experience gained from over 30 years in the federal procurement space to transition the current user community from existing solutions to Oracle's enhanced contract management offering. CACI's depth and breadth of capabilities stem from the development and implementation of widely used acquisition systems and contracting operations that encompass the full spectrum of procurement, ranging from shopping cart buys to complex acquisition management. In addition, the company works with federal customers as a systems integrator to achieve consolidation of acquisition, financial, and other business systems into enterprise resource planning (ERP)-centric models through its broad-based implementation services. The company also specializes in the development and delivery of end-user training programs that integrate agency procurement business processes with automated acquisition applications.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Today's GAO Publication

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

Oil and Gas Royalties: MMS's Oversight of Its Royalty-in-Kind Program Can Be Improved through Additional Use of Production Verification Data and Enhanced Reporting of Financial Benefits and Costs.
GAO-08-942R, September 26.
http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-08-942R

Today's GAO Publication

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) today issued the following Decisions and Opinions of the Comptroller General:

Appropriations Decisions:

B-316372, Denali Commission--Overobligation of Apportionment,
October 21, 2008
http://www.gao.gov/decisions/appro/316372.htm

The Denali Commission incurred an obligation for the amount of a grant to the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development when it transmitted its Financial Assistance Award to the Alaska Department on August 27, 2005. The Commission did not violate the Antideficiency Act because it had sufficient funds available for the grant at the time it incurred the obligation; however, the Commission failed to record the obligation in accordance with the recording statute, 31 U.S.C. sect. 1501(a).

DHS tries for financial IT consolidation

The Homeland Security Department is looking for a contractor to carry out its Transformation and Systems Consolidation program, which aims to create a single, unified information technology system for financial, acquisition and asset management. Industry sources estimate the financial systems consolidation contract could be valued at $400 million.

The IT acquisition program is on the Office of Management and Budget’s High-Risk List and Management Watch List.

Earlier this year, DHS officials said they were planning to consolidate financial systems on Oracle and SAP platforms. On March 17, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims ruled that the choice represented an improper sole-source procurement and ordered DHS to conduct an open competition.

The department’s Office of the Chief Financial Officer released a draft request for information Oct. 24 seeking an enterprise solution, along with integration services and program support. Comments are due by Nov. 7, with proposals likely to be due by Dec. 15.

In the RFI, DHS said it intends to award a single indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity performance-based contract for a five-year base period with five one-year optional extensions.

The CFO office’s goal is to “acquire a proven, integrated financial, asset and acquisition management system solution with the accompanying program management, change management and integration services to implement and sustain the proposed solution,” the draft RFI states.

The department is seeking a partner to help transition its 22 component agencies to the integrated enterprise solution.

The contractor must provide a system life cycle approach to analysis, documentation, design, development and configuration; IT security controls and integration; unit and system integration testing, quality assurance testing and user acceptance testing; implementation; training; and operations, maintenance and enhancements, the RFI states.

-Alice Lipowicz, FCW.com
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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

New IG council focuses on training, interagency efforts

The nation’s inspectors general are forming a new council that will focus on cross-cutting projects and improved training for IG staffers.

Congress called for creation of the new council in the 2008 Inspector General Reform Act passed last month. The bill has a number of provisions to strengthen inspectors general: It makes them harder to remove, for instance, and adds more transparency to their budgets.

But the council, to be called the Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency, is the centerpiece of the bill. It will combine two existing IG councils — the President’s Council on Integrity and Efficiency (PCIE), and the Executive Council on Integrity and Efficiency, both of which were created by executive order — and give the council statutory authority.

“We want to focus on uniform training for the 12,000 people in the IG community, and make that more effective than it’s been in the past,” said Greg Friedman, the Energy Department inspector general and vice president of the PCIE. “And we’ll focus on more interagency projects … on a horizontal basis, looking at the same issues in different agencies.”

Friedman said the council’s exact priorities would be set after it selects a chairman within the next 30 days. One priority sure to be high on the list, he said, is contract management.

“That seems to be a problem at many agencies,” he said. The council will also likely coordinate reports on cybersecurity, financial management and human capital management.

“It’s great that it has the capacity to provide lessons learned governmentwide,” said Danielle Brian, executive director of the Project on Government Oversight, which advocated for the bill.

“There are so many problems that occur across agencies, and that aren’t addressed by the current structure [of IG councils].”

A group of inspectors general met last week with Clay Johnson, deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget and the chairman of the two existing IG councils.

Friedman said the council would probably also work on programs that cut across agencies. Good-government groups have criticized the IGs for focusing their efforts on management issues in recent years.

-Gregg Carlstrom, FederalTimes.com
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Monday, October 27, 2008

FASAB Issues New Statement of Federal Financial Accounting

The Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board (FASAB) has issued Statement of Federal Financial Accounting Standards (SFFAS) 33, Pensions, Other Retirement Benefits, and Other Post-employment benefits: Reporting Gains and Losses from Changes in Assumptions and Selecting Discount Rates and Valuation Dates. The standards in SFFAS 33 require:
  • Gains and losses from changes in long-term assumptions used to estimate liabilities for federal employee pension and other retirement benefits, and other post-employment benefits to be displayed as discrete line items on the governmentwide entity's and the component entities' statements of net cost; and
  • Components of the expense associated with such liabilities to be disclosed in notes to the financial statements. SFFAS 33 also provides standards for selecting the discount rate assumption and the valuation date for such liabilities.
Practices have varied regarding the discount rate for such liabilities and SFFAS 33 establishes one consistent approach for such rates for these liabilities The standards prescribed in SFFAS 33 are effective for periods beginning after Sept. 30, 2009. The statement is available on the FASAB website.

FMSB Comments on Two GASB Exposure Drafts

AGA's Financial Management Standards Board (FMSB) has issued a comment letter on two Exposure Drafts of the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB): Codification of Accounting and Financial Reporting Guidance Contained in the AICPA Statements on Auditing Standards and The Hierarchy of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles for State and Local Government. The FMSB believes that moving the hierarchy of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles from the auditing literature to a GASB statement is a wise decision and one that is especially appropriate in light of the Financial Accounting Standards Board codification project and the convergence of international with national standards. Including in GASB guidance the three issues discussed in the codification Exposure Draft--related party transactions, subsequent events and going concern considerations--would help to more appropriately place presentation of principles used in the preparation of financial statements in accounting and financial reporting standards, the FMSB stated.

READ THE LETTER

Thursday, October 23, 2008

New Feature for Readers of FedCFO.com

Readers of FedCFO.com now have the ability to register as a "follower" of this blog. This new feature provides readers the ability to publicly or anonymously subscribe to this blog adding it to the Reading List on their Blogger Dashboard so they stay updated with the FedCFO.com posts along with the other blogs they follow.

To register as a follower click here or click on the "Follow this Blog" link on the right sidebar of this page.

Learn more about blog following here.

Intra-Governmental Transactions Management for Federal Agencies

Potomac Forum Intra-Governmental Transaction Management Workshop
November 12, 2008 – Willard InterContinental Hotel

Workshop Description
This half day program will equip you with the knowledge you need to bring more efficiency and accountability to managing interagency transactions. During the session, you will hear from top financial management experts from the government and the private sector, who will review best practices, strategies and technologies they are using to enhance IGT management, as well as share lessons learned and give practical tips on deploying IGT management solutions.

What You Will Learn
  • Best practices in IGT management employed by federal agencies
  • Practical solutions and tips on implementing IGT solutions
  • Strategies and technological tools that can make IGT management at your agency easier and more effective

Why You Should Attend
The difficulty associated with accounting for buy-sell activity among agencies stifles the financial performance of federal agencies and is a major reason that the federal government is unable to deliver a government-wide consolidated financial statement.

Introducing enhanced tools and processes into IGT management can make a difference to your agency's financial performance while saving the time and resources currently spent on reconciling interagency transactions.

Who should attend

  • Mid- to senior-level federal financial managers
  • Managers involved in intra-governmental transactions management

Format

  • Presentations by financial management experts.
  • Panel discussion featuring case studies by financial management practitioners from federal agencies and the private sector.
  • Interactive roundtable discussions during the event, concluding with an open Q&A session.
Registration
Email Mary@potomacforum.org to be placed on email list for more details

Additional details and agenda can be found at the Potomac Forum website.

IG community honors auditors and investigators

Nearly 100 federal employees and agency teams tasked with fighting government fraud and waste received kudos from two top councils on integrity and efficiency on Thursday.

"Despite the transformation that requires all of us to be able to work in a dynamic environment, we have remained focused on our core mission," said Daniel Levinson, inspector general of the Health and Human Services Department and chairman of the President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency awards program. The 11th annual ceremony, held in Washington, coincided with the 30th anniversary of the 1978 Inspector General Act, which established the duties and responsibilities of the watchdog organizations.

The awards were handed out by the President's Council, which includes IGs appointed by the president, and the Executive Council on Integrity and Efficiency, which includes IGs who are appointed by agency heads.

Winners included the asset forfeiture team at the Agriculture Department that handled National Football League quarterback Michael Vick's dog-fighting operation, and the team from the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction Office that investigated the physical soundness of the Mosul Dam.

The Sentner Award for Dedication and Courage, the IG community's highest honor, went posthumously to Paul Converse, a special auditor with the Iraq Reconstruction IG office who was killed in Iraq last March.

Marlane Evans, deputy inspector general for audit at Agriculture won the Alexander Hamilton Award, while the department's Link Team won the Gaston L. Gianni, Jr. Better Government Award for its investigation of electronic benefits transfer fraud. The Transportation Department team that investigated lapses in the Federal Aviation Administration's inspections program at Southwest Airlines won the Glenn/Roth Award for Exemplary Service. Education Department Inspector General John Higgins Jr., won the June Gibbs Brown Career Achievement Award. James Noeth, deputy inspector general for audit at the National Science Foundation, and Housing and Urban Development Department special agent Edwin Bonano both won awards for individual accomplishment.

-Alyssa Rosenberg, GovExec.com
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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

DoD outlines role of the deputy chief management officer

The Defense Department last week detailed the functions of the deputy chief management officer.

The directive outlines 10 areas the deputy will focus on assisting the chief management officer, who is the deputy secretary of defense.

The deputy CMO will suggest methodologies and measurement criteria to better synchronize, integrate and coordinate DoD's business operations; develop and maintain the DoD Strategic Management Plan; and advise on performance goals and measures and assessing progress against those goals.

DoD's directive also says the deputy will be the Capability Portfolio Manager for the Corporate Management and Support Portfolio; oversee the functions of the Performance Improvement Officer and ensure that business transformation policies and programs are designed and managed to improve performance standards, economy and efficiency and that the Defense Business Transformation Agency pays close attention to DoD's requirements.

DoD for a long time had rejected the idea that it needs a chief management officer despite Congress and the Government Accountability Office calling for one.

DoD finally relented in September 2007 by naming Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England the CMO.

For more information: Deputy Chief Management Officer (DCMO) of the Department of Defense Directive (pdf)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Bush performance rating tool draws plaudits, pans

As the Bush presidency winds down, performance reviews of the administration's Program Assessment Rating Tool are mixed.

Proponents of PART, which uses a standard questionnaire to assess and improve every federal program, laud the tool for providing a wealth of new performance data, while critics argue that it fails to recognize the diversity of individual programs, among other things.

The two groups made their respective cases in Washington on Wednesday and Thursday.
Beryl Radin, a professor at American University, argued at the American Bar Association's Administrative Law Conference on Thursday that PART and the 1993 Government Performance and Results Act were too narrow in scope to meet their goals.

Both concepts, she said, focused on holding federal employees accountable for outcomes and results, but did not incorporate the cause of those outcomes -- such as air quality or the number of drunk driving fatalities -- into their analyses.

The difficulty of measuring how well programs and individual agencies are meeting their statutory missions is not new.

Sid Shapiro, a law professor at Wake Forest University, said GPRA -- passed during the Clinton administration -- has failed to promote effective regulatory government because its inherent goal is to ferret out waste, fraud and abuse and then punish underperforming agencies by cutting their budgets. Consequently, agencies attempt to protect themselves by devising "euphemistic performance goals in order to assure that they can pass their own grading criteria," Shapiro wrote in an essay presented at the forum.

Annual GPRA reports, he said, rarely mention the agency's lack of funding or staff reductions, and how those challenges may affect their performance.

Robert Shea, OMB's former associate director of administration and government performance and one of the architects of PART, addressed the merits and relative successes of the tool during a virtual forum on Wednesday hosted by Cognos, an IBM company.

After more than six years, PART now has evaluated every federal program -- more than 1,000 in total -- and suggested specific management, legislative or regulatory improvements.
When PART began in 2002, 50 percent of all federal programs evaluated could not demonstrate their results and only 6 percent were rated "effective." Now, nearly 50 percent of all programs are rated as "effective" or "moderately effective" while less than 20 percent are ranked as "results not demonstrated."

The focus of these evaluations also has evolved, Shea said. For example, until recently small business development centers only measured the number of small businesses they counseled or trained. Now the centers look at the number of jobs created. Likewise, community health centers previously measured how many people they provided service to; now the target is health outcomes such as low birth weight in babies.

-Robert Brodsky, GovExec.com
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Thursday, October 16, 2008

FederalNewsRadio - CFO Insights - Jimaye Sones (DISA)

Financial Accountability: How the federal government is moving toward financial accountability

Jimaye Sones - Comptroller, Defense Information Systems Agency

Financial accountability goes beyond implementing controls or achieving a clean audit opinion…it's about moving the culture of the entire agency - not just financial managers - to become the best stewards of taxpayers' dollars possible.

The strategy to achieve this, includes four tenets
1. Integrity
2. Full and open financial disclosure
3. Fiscal discipline
4. Professional competency

Federal and commercial entities continue to improve their accountability through the requirements of OMB Circular A-123 and Sarbanes Oxley in the commercial sector where entities assess their processes and controls and implement corrective actions to become more financially accountable and to reduce their risks.

Listen Here

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Accenture Helps U.S. Army Go Live with New Financial System

New system integrates financial management capabilities and prepares Army for department-wide deployment

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The U.S. Army has deployed release 1.2 of its financial system at Fort Jackson, S.C., with the help of Accenture (NYSE: ACN). The new financial system, known as the General Fund Enterprise Business System (GFEBS), integrates all related components and supports financial management and real property functions. The successful implementation of release 1.2 sets the stage for Army-wide deployment of the system by 2012.
Release 1.2 of GFEBS serves as the global design for all of the Army to provide organizations with new business processes in seven areas, including financial management, real property and cost management.

As the prime system integrator for the program, Accenture has worked with the Army’s Program Executive Office, Enterprise Information Systems, on GFEBS since July 2005, when it was awarded the contract to design, build, deploy and maintain the system, which eventually will consolidate and subsume approximately 84 existing information systems.

GFEBS is a Web-enabled solution based on commercial-off-the-shelf software from SAP that will integrate seamlessly into the Army’s information technology environment. The new financial system is designed to manage annual general fund appropriated expenditures across the Army, National Guard and Army Reserves. Serving more than 79,000 end-users at nearly 200 Army financial centers worldwide, GFEBS will become one of the world's largest SAP implementations, enabling management of a budget that exceeds $140 billion.

Accenture and the Army have been working on GFEBS Release 1.2 since September 2006, following a technology demonstration that proved the ability of GFEBS to meet the information requirements needed to operate and support the management of real property inventory, part of the Army’s general fund.

GFEBS Release 1.2 affects 221 users from eight deployment sites across several states and the Pentagon.

Accenture is working concurrently on Release 1.3, which will include additional functionality for GFEBS to provide general fund financial management, asset management and real property capabilities at all garrisons and tenant organizations Army-wide.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

CGI to upgrade FCC financial systems

CGI Federal Inc. will provide new financial management software and other services to the Federal Communications Commission under a 10-year award worth about $25 million.
CGI will replace its existing Federal Financial System software with its Momentum financial management software and Financial Management Line of Business hosting solution. The upgrade is part of FCC’s Core Financial System Replacement initiative.

The contractor will install the Momentum Financials software suite, including Momentum Performance Budgeting and Momentum Data Warehouse. CGI will perform all integration and implementation activities, hosting, application management and ongoing operations and maintenance, company officials said. The financial system application will be housed at CGI’s Phoenix data center.

In addition to providing full financial management services, CGI’s solution has the added benefit of managing FCC’s annual regulatory and application processing fees. The company’s fee calculation, billing, collecting and reporting functions will help the regulatory agency comply with federal financial and regulatory rules as well as improve customer service through consolidated licensee management.

FCC joins the General Services Administration, U.S. Courts, Environmental Protection Agency, National Transportation Safety Board, Broadcasting Board of Governors and the Corporation for National and Community Service, whose financial systems applications are hosted by CGI, company officials said.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

GAO Seeks Director of Financial Management and Assurance

The United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) is the agency that works for Congress and the American people. Congress mandates GAO to study the programs and expenditures of the federal government. GAO, commonly called the investigative arm of Congress or the Congressional Watchdog, is at the epicenter of government decision-making. It is independent and nonpartisan.

Position:
The position we are seeking to fill is the Director of Department of Defense Financial Management Issues in the Financial Management and Assurance (FMA) team. The incumbent interacts with financial statement and program auditors, specialists and experts in areas such as information technology; program officials; and others in a multidisciplinary environment, to understand and evaluate how program requirements/components work together to achieve good federal financial management and reporting. The Director is responsible for supporting the established overall goals, objectives, and priorities set by the Managing Director for GAO work. This individual has principal responsibility for formulating strategic objectives and tactical plans as well as contributing to GAO’s performance measures such as timeliness and financial savings.

Compensation:
To $169,300 + bonus eligibility (Senior Executive Service-level position)

Deadline:
To be considered, applications must be received no later than midnight, November 10, 2008.

Citizenship:
U.S. Citizenship required. You may be required to obtain a Top Secret security clearance.

Contact:

Joseph DeGioia
JDG Associates, Ltd.
1700 Research Boulevard
Rockville, MD 20850
301-340-2210
Email: degioia@jdgsearch.com

Email JDG

Monday, October 06, 2008

AGA's CPAG Releases New Research Report on XBRL

AGA has long supported the use of XBRL to potentially improve the transparency and analysis in government financial reporting. Accordingly, AGA decided to implement a research project to study the benefits of developing and using an XBRL-taxonomy to tag data in a state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, or CAFR. It was decided that the project should focus on one state pilot, with the intent that the results would prove to be helpful to other states contemplating a similar effort. Read the report, XBRL and Public Sector Financial Reporting.

Public Forum on XBRL Set For Oct. 16
Interactive data means greater accuracy, integrity and reduced cost in government reporting. Attend the XBRL Public Sector Symposium, Washington, D.C., on Oct. 16, 2008. Government employee discounts are offered.

Learn how structured data improves municipal securities processing, grants reporting, standardizing government reporting and agency collaboration.

Hear from:
Steven O. App, CGFM, Deputy Director and CFO, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)
Kim R. Wallin, CPA, CMA, CFM, Controller, State of Nevada
Mary Simpkins, Office of Municipal Securities, and David Blaszkowsky, Office of Interactive Disclosure, Securities and Exchange Commission
Ernesto Lanza, Municipal Securities Regulatory Board
H. Wes Bills, Nevada Department of Agriculture

AGA Executive Director Relmond Van Daniker, DBA, CPA, will moderate a session on municipal reporting in XBRL format.

Click here to find out more and to register.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Many agencies unable to produce reliable financial data

Agencies need to be able to produce correct and timely financial information to make the most effective decisions about how to manage their daily operations, especially in the current difficult economic environment, the Government Accountability Office said.

To produce useful financial and performance data, agencies must comply with requirements for financial management systems and accounting standards under the Federal Financial Management Improvement Act (FFMIA) of 1996.

For fiscal 2007, 13 of 24 major agencies failed to meet requirements for their financial management systems, including their processes, procedures and internal controls, GAO said in a report released Oct. 2. The performance audit took place from December 2007 to September 2008.

Auditors reported problems, such as nonintegrated financial management systems, inadequate reconciliation procedures, lack of accurate and timely recording of data and weak security over information systems.

“Financial management systems are not providing reliable, useful and timely information to help manage agency programs more effectively,” said Kay Daly, acting director of GAO’s financial management and assurance. GAO is still concerned that the criteria for assessing substantial compliance with FFMIA are not well-defined or consistently implemented across agencies, the report said.

While the Office of Management and Budget is revising its financial management guidance, GAO re-emphasized the need for OMB to clarify what constitutes substantial compliance and to look at financial management systems’ capabilities beyond financial statement preparation, she said.

Agencies’ efforts to implement new systems far too often result in systems that do not meet cost, schedule and performance goals, Daly said. To avoid implementation problems, OMB continues to advance its Financial Management Line of Business to encourage use of common applications, business processes and accounting standards.

-Mary Mosquera, FCW.com
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Today's GAO Publication

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) today issued the following Decision of the Comptroller General:

Appropriations Decisions:
B-317022, United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General--Implementation of Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act Section 603, Part 1,
September 25, 2008
http://www.gao.gov/decisions/appro/317022.htm

The United States Postal Service (USPS) is exempt from "Federal law[s] dealing with public or Federal contracts, property, works, officers, employees, budgets, or funds," unless otherwise provided. 39 U.S.C. sect. 410. As a component of USPS, the Office of Inspector General
(OIG) is covered by the same exemption.

Since the statutory language authorizing direct appropriations to OIG is ambiguous, OIG should work with Congress to obtain a provision in the continuing resolution to ensure continued funding of OIG operations.

USPS may not supplement OIG's appropriations with additional funds, because doing so would constitute an augmentation. Agencies may not augment their appropriations because it would interfere with the congressional prerogative to control agency activity.

AGA Research Study Finds That SAS 70 Reports Are Useful to Governments But Could Be Improved

Alexandria, VA (October 3, 2008) - Today, the Association of Government Accountants (AGA) released the results of a research study that examined the usefulness of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants' (AICPA) Statement on Auditing Standards (SAS) No. 70, Service Organizations, report to governments.

SAS 70 Reports: Are They Useful and Can They Be Improved? addresses the usefulness of SAS 70 and whether improvements would increase its usefulness. SAS 70 reports are used by numerous federal and state agencies when they outsource their financial systems and services, most commonly payroll.

The significant findings of the research were that:

1) User organizations do not always obtain the information they need from the SAS 70 report;
2) The controls tested by the service organization's auditor may not be those that are considered important by the user organization;
3) Generally, user organizations do not have significant input to the scope or systems to be covered by the SAS 70 report.

The study used a series of face-to-face meetings, telephone interviews and Internet surveys with selected users as well as state and federal government auditors to gauge their usage and success levels. SAS 70 reports communicate information and assurance about the controls of the service organization that are of interest to user organizations and their auditors as they relate to an audit of the financial statements. Service organizations have become a critical part of some user organizations' overall system of internal control over financial and operational reporting.

The passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act caused an increase in the usage of SAS 70 reports as a way to better evaluate the control environment for outsourced functions. They have limitations, such as not meeting FISMA requirements and the AICPA is considering changing some requirements. Users should also keep up with the planned changes in the relevant professional standards (both AICPA and International Standards) that will enhance the overall concept of the service auditor's report from the SAS 70 examination level report to an attest report where management of the service organization will assert to their controls as a component of the audit report. Details of those planned changes are included in the research report.

"The federal government has seen a big increase in the outsourcing of functions, especially financial functions, in the past decade," said AGA Director of Research Anna D. Gowans Miller, MBA, CPA. "The organization that outsources its financial functions is still responsible for providing assurance that the controls are adequate and, with proper planning and communication with the service provider, SAS 70 reports provide a cost-effective way for the user organization to provide this assurance."

The research project was sponsored by Ernst & Young LLP's Federal Assurance and Advisory Practice. AGA's Miller led this effort. She was aided by Werner Lippuner and James Merrill, both with Ernst & Young LLP.

View the report.

Questions: Contact Anna Miller at 800.AGA.7211, ext. 313.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Defense comptroller leaves for industry job

The Defense Department's top financial official stepped down last week for a job in private industry, after more than four years in the position.

Defense comptroller Tina Jonas' last day was Sept. 26, said Cmdr. Darryn James, a Pentagon spokesman. She started her new job as director of operations, planning and analysis for Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. on Monday, a company spokeswoman confirmed.

Career civil servant Kevin Scheid "will keep things running" until a new comptroller is nominated and confirmed, James said. Scheid also will retain his duties as deputy comptroller for strategy, capabilities and acquisition.

-Bob Brewin, GovExec.com
READ MORE...

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Today's GAO Publication

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

Financial Management: Persistent Financial Management Systems Issues Remain for Many CFO Act Agencies.
GAO-08-1018, September 30.
http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-08-1018
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d081018high.pdf

Bush signs funding bill in final hours of the fiscal year

President Bush on Tuesday evening signed into law a more than $600 billion continuing resolution package that funds the federal government through March 6. It includes three fiscal 2009 appropriations bills and $22.9 billion for disaster relief.

The bill funds most programs at fiscal 2008 levels but includes the fiscal 2009 Defense, Military Construction-VA and Homeland Security spending bills. Of the $22.9 billion in disaster relief funding, $7.9 billion goes into the Federal Emergency Management Agency's disaster relief fund.

The CR also grants a 3.9 percent 2009 pay raise to civilian federal employees.

The Senate passed the bill Saturday after the House approved it last Wednesday. The CR was needed because Congress had not passed any of the 12 annual appropriations that fund government programs. House Democratic appropriators grew discouraged with the appropriations process this year after Bush issued a pre-emptive threat earlier this year to veto any bill that spent more than he recommended.

-CongressDaily
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Today's GAO Publication

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) today issued the following Decision of the Comptroller General:

Appropriations Decisions:
B-316796, Federal Aviation Administration--Authority to Auction Airport Arrival and Departure Slots and to Retain and Use Auction Proceeds,
September 30, 2008
http://www.gao.gov/decisions/appro/316796.pdf

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