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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

AGA's Radio Show Offers Financial Management Suggestions to the Obama Administration

March 31st - Noon
The Hon. David M. Walker, President and CEO, Peter G. Peterson Foundation
Richard Keevey, Director of the Policy Research Institute for the Region at the Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University

AGA's radio show, "Your Money, Your Government," will discuss the necessary and suggested focus for the first 100 days of the Obama administration in relation to government financial management with the Hon. David M. Walker, President and CEO, Peter G. Peterson Foundation; and Richard Keevey, Director of the Policy Research Institute for the Region at the Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University.

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Monday, March 30, 2009

GAO Seeks the Public’s Help in Fighting Waste, Fraud, Abuse or Mismanagement of Recovery Act Funds

Washington, DC (March 30, 2009) – As billions of dollars are distributed under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is urging private citizens, government workers, contractors, and others to report waste, fraud, abuse, or mismanagement of those funds to FraudNet. FraudNet is an e-mail, phone, and fax hotline that processes allegations about federal agencies and federally funded programs.

"Congress and the President have insisted on accountability and transparency over Recovery Act funds, and we at GAO are taking steps to help ensure that accountability. The public can help to identify improper activities or weaknesses in programs that warrant scrutiny. FraudNET can play an important role in alerting GAO, potentially early on, to questionable uses of Recovery Act funds," said Gene L. Dodaro, Acting Comptroller General of the United States and head of the GAO

"The Recovery Act has set aside billions of dollars to create jobs, invest in infrastructure, and fund other measures to counter the current economic downturn. Experience tells us that the risk of fraud and abuse grows when large sums are spent quickly, eligibility requirements are being established or changed, and new programs created." Dodaro added.

Begun in 1979 as a toll-free phone number, FraudNet has expanded in recent years to receive allegations via the internet, fax, or letter. The public can call 1-800-424-5454 (an automated answering system); send an e-mail to fraudnet@gao.gov; send a fax to (202) 512-3086; or write to: GAO FraudNet 441 G Street, NW, Mail Stop 4T21, Washington, DC 20548. The public may also visit the FraudNet page of our website at http://www.gao.gov/fraudnet/fraudnet.htm.

Evidence or suspicions of abuse may be provided anonymously and GAO treats all inquiries confidentially. Internet information is transmitted over a secure connection. Tipsters are asked to provide as much detail as possible about their allegations. GAO may refer allegations for follow-up to its own investigative units, appropriate inspector general offices, or to the Justice Department. Past reports of alleged mismanagement and wrongdoing have covered topics as varied as the misappropriation of funds, security violations, and contractor fraud.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Today's GAO Publications

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released the following publications:

Inspectors General: Independent Oversight of Financial Regulatory Agencies, by Gary L. Kepplinger, general counsel, before the Subcommittee on Government Management, Organization, and Procurement, House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
GAO-09-524T, March 25.

U.S. Department of Agriculture: Improved Management Controls Can Enhance Effectiveness of Key Conservation Programs, by Lisa Shames, director, natural resources and environment, before the Subcommittee on Conservation, Credit, Energy, and Research, House Committee on Agriculture.
GAO-09-528T, March 25.
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d09528thigh.pdf

U.S. Postal Service: Escalating Financial Problems Require Major Cost Reductions to Limit Losses, by Phillip Herr, director, physical infrastructure issues, before the Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, Postal Service, and the District of Columbia, House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
GAO-09-475T, March 25.
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d09475thigh.pdf

Securities and Exchange Commission: Oversight of U.S. Equities Market Clearing Agencies.
GAO-09-318R, February 26.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

FederalNewsRadio - The Role of the CFO

IRMCO is coming in less than a month - April 19! As always, there will be many panels, and much to learn. Sallyanne Harper is Chief Administrative Officer and Chief Financial Officer at the GAO. She's also going to be part of a panel that will discuss the role of the CFO and financial management (pdf). She's here to give us a sneak peak.

Listen Here

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

GSA CFO Turco awarded Scantlebury Award

GSA CFO Kathleen Turco has been awarded the 2009 Donald L. Scantlebury Memorial Award.

From the release:

Chief Financial Officer Kathleen Turco was recently named as this year’s recipient of the Donald L. Scantlebury Memorial Award. The award is the highest recognition given to government executives who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and significant improvements in financial management in the public sector.

Turco was honored during the Joint Financial Management Improvement Program’s (JFMIP) Federal Financial Management Conference on March 12.

JFMIP is a cooperative undertaking of the Department of Treasury, Office of Management and Budget, Office of Personnel Management and the Government Accountability Office. The agencies work to improve and coordinate financial management policies and practices throughout the government. Turco’s award signifies due recognition for her continuous leadership in financial management, and for having been principally responsible for significant economies, efficiencies and improvements in the government.

Recent DHS IG Reports

Recent Inspector General Management Reports for U.S. Department of Homeland Security:

OIG-09-34 - U.S. Coast Guard's Management of 2005 Gulf Coast Hurricanes Mission Assignment Funding
(PDF, 27 pages - 1.41 MB) New 03/23/2009

OIG-09-38 - Improvements Needed in Federal Emergency Management Agency Monitoring of Grantees
(PDF, 34 pages - 509 KB) New 03/24/2009

OIG-09-36 - Potentially High Costs and Insufficient Grant Funds Pose a Challenge to REAL ID Implementation
(PDF, 38 pages - 2.13 MB) New 03/24/2009

Recent GAO Publications

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently issued the following publications:

Troubled Asset Relief Program: Status of Efforts to Address Transparency and Accountability Issues, by Gene L. Dodaro, acting comptroller general of the United States, before the Subcommittee on Oversight, House Committee on Ways and Means.
GAO-09-484T, March 19.

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: GAO's Role in Helping to Ensure Accountability and Transparency for Science Funding, by Patricia Dalton, managing director, natural resources and environment, before the Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight, House Committee on Science and Technology.
GAO-09-515T, March 19.
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d09515thigh.pdf

Federal Real Property: Authorities and Actions Regarding Enhanced Use Leases and Sale of Unneeded Real Property.
GAO-09-283R, February 17

Appropriations Decisions:

B-317450, Antideficiency Act--Applicability to StatutoryProhibitions on the Use of Appropriations,
March 23, 2009

B-317423, U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach--Use of Appropriated Funds toPurchase Food for Participants in Antiterrorism Exercises,
March 9,2009

B-317098, Department of Homeland Security Inspector General--FederalEmergency Management Agency Subgrantee's Claim under the StaffordAct,
March 13, 2009

B-310950.2, Updated Rescission Statistics, Fiscal Years 1974-2008,
March 12, 2009

GAO's most recent update of statistical data concerning rescissions proposed and enacted since the passage of the Impoundment Control Act of 1974. The statistics contain proposed and enacted rescissions through fiscal year 2008.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Former OMB management chief named to head Recovery Act implementation

The White House announced Monday that G. Edward DeSeve, a former high-ranking management official in the Clinton administration, would coordinate efforts at the Office of Management and Budget to implement the recently enacted economic stimulus package.

In his new position, DeSeve will serve as a special advisor to President Obama and assistant to Vice President Biden. He will focus on managing interagency efforts to address provisions of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. That work, the White House said, would complement oversight efforts led by Earl Devaney, head of the Recovery Act Accountability and Transparency Board.

DeSeve currently is a senior lecturer at the Fels Institute for Government of the University of Pennsylvania. He was deputy director for management at OMB during the latter part of President Clinton's term in office. During DeSeve's tenure, he was a key player in coordinating the federal response to the Y2K computer issue.

Before serving at OMB, DeSeve was the chief financial officer at the Department of Housing and Urban Development from 1993 to 1994. Prior to that, he worked in the financial services industry in the private sector. DeSeve also has worked for the city of Philadelphia and as a special assistant to Pennsylvania Gov. Robert Casey.

As deputy director for management, DeSeve was responsible for coordinating the government's financial management, regulatory, procurement and information technology policies.

-Tom Shoop, GovExec.com

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

FederalNewsRadio - Federal CFO Insights - CFO Academy - Preparing Tomorrow's Federal Financial Leaders

CFO Academy - Preparing Tomorrow's Federal Financial Leaders

Ricardo Aguilera, U.S. Department of Defense Comptroller Chair, CFO Academy

In fall 2008, the National Defense University's Information Resources Management College opened a Chief Financial Officer Academy at Fort McNair in Washington, DC, featuring Pentagongraduate level courses for government financial managers. The CFO Academy's purpose is to prepare middle- to senior-level members of the federal financial community for senior 21st Century management and leadership responsibilities.

The Academy offers a variety of courses to prepare financial leaders, including lessons in accounting and finance, budget and cost analysis, internal controls and auditing, financial systems, and resource management.

The courses lead to a certificate in CFO leadership.

To learn more about the Academy visit www.ndu.edu/irmc.

Listen Here

Monday, March 16, 2009

GASB Issues New Fund Balance Reporting Standard

The GASB has issued Statement No. 54, Fund Balance Reporting and Governmental Fund Type Definitions, to provide clearer, more structured fund balance classifications and clarify the definitions of existing governmental fund types. Statement 54 addresses the diversity of practice and resulting lack of comparability that has evolved in this widely-used area of state and local government financial reports. The new standards establish a hierarchy of fund balance classifications based primarily on the extent to which a government is bound to observe constraints on how resources reported in governmental funds may be used.

More information about Statement 54 may be accessed through the GASB's website at www.gasb.org.

Friday, March 13, 2009

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Inspector General Management Reports

New Inspector General Management Reports for U.S. Department of Homeland Security:

OIG-09-33 - The State of California's Management to State Homeland Security Program Grants Awarded During Fiscal Years 2004 through 2006
(PDF, 67 pages - 1.26 MB) New 03/13/2009

OIG-09-32 - Internal Controls in the FEMA Disaster Acquisition Process (PDF, 25 pages - 651 KB)
New 03/13/2009

OIG-09-31 - FEMA's Implementation of Best Practices in the Acquisition Process (PDF, 40 pages - 930 KB)
New 03/13/2009

Recent GAO Publications

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently released the following reports, correspondence and testimonies:

Business Systems Modernization: Internal Revenue Service's Fiscal Year 2009 Expenditure Plan.
GAO-09-281, March 11.
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d09281high.pdf

Troubled Asset Relief Program: Status of Efforts to Address Transparency and Accountability Issues, by Richard J. Hillman, managing director, financial markets and community investment, before the Subcommittee on Domestic Policy, House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
GAO-09-474T, March 11.

Forest Service: Emerging Issues Highlight the Need to Address Persistent Management Challenges, by Robin M. Nazzaro, director, natural resources and environment, before the Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, House Committee on Appropriations.
GAO-09-443T, March 11.

VA Health Care: Challenges in Budget Formulation and Execution, by Randall B. Williamson, director, health care, before the Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies, House Committee on Appropriations.
GAO-09-459T, March 12.
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d09459thigh.pdf

Medicare: Improvements Needed to Address Improper Payments in Home Health.
GAO-09-185, February 27.

Counterdrug Technology Assessment Center: Clarifying Rationale for the Research and Development Funding Decisions Would Increase Accountability.
GAO-09-339R, March 12.

"Challenges Facing the New Administration and the 111th Congress," by Gene L. Dodaro, acting comptroller general of the United States, before the JFMIP 2009 Federal Financial Management Conference, in Washington, D.C.
GAO-09-510CG, March 12, 2009.

Principles of Federal Appropriations Law: Annual Update of the Third Edition
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d09443thigh.pdf

Appropriations Decisions:

B-317878,United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General-
Implementation of Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act Section 603,
Part 2, March 3, 2009

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Stimulus creates major challenges for agency money managers

What does a new road in Houston have in common with the installation of a more energy-efficient boiler at a Navy base? The same thing new cops in Cleveland have in common with biofuel researchers in California. All are being funded through the nearly $800 billion 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. And all will be on the radar of federal financial chiefs.

"It's a very interesting time," said Tom Cooley, chief financial officer at the National Science Foundation, in a recent interview. Besides the normal intensive machinations of developing an incoming administration's first budget, agency financial managers are working closely with the Office of Management and Budget to craft spending plans for the economic stimulus package.

While details of spending programs and solicitations associated with the stimulus package are starting to trickle out from the agencies, the real work for CFOs and their staffs will be in tracking how that money is spent.

"There's a fair amount of risk associated with [the stimulus spending] because of the dual goals -- getting the money out quickly while still maintaining sound and effective controls to prevent fraud and minimize waste," said Jeanette Franzel, managing director for financial management and assurance at the Government Accountability Office.

OMB is requiring agencies to track stimulus spending separately from other appropriations, which by itself will be a challenge. "Right now agencies are looking at their systems and figuring out how to do this," Franzel said.

The strict stimulus spending accounting requirements stem largely from a desire to avoid the pitfalls of the fall 2008 financial sector bailout under the Troubled Asset Relief Program, according to Franzel.

"The economic recovery funds are going out with that backdrop, so OMB has put in place a lot of transparency and accountability reporting requirements to help instill confidence and accountability in these monies," she said.

Exercising appropriate oversight of grants will be especially difficult, Franzel said, because much of that money will be managed by state and local governments. The state and local levels are "where the specific procedures are in place for preventing improper payments, making sure that individuals receiving funds are actually eligible to receive funds, etc.," she said. "That's a real challenge."

-Katherine McIntire Peters, GovExec.com

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The CFO Selection Process: Best Practices for the Obama Administration

As the American Recovery and Re-Investment Act rolls out, the Obama administration will seek, select and nominate individuals that have meaningful experience and the appropriate skill-sets to take the reigns as chief financial officers for federal government agencies.

The investment act monies will need to be distributed quickly and monitored assiduously. To make things run smoothly, each agency needs qualified CFOs to run the shop.

Today we will discuss the important role of the CFO with Edwin L. Harper, Senior Vice President, Federal Government Relations for Assurant, Inc., and Lynn Jennings, Strategic Advisor for The Partnership for Public Service.

Mr. Harper served as Chairman of the President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency, the coordinating body of Inspectors General and was involved in President Ronald Reagan's campaign against fraud, waste, and abuse. Ms. Jennings served on a team responsible for CFO selection within the Clinton administration.

Listen Here

- Edwin L. Harper -Senior Vice President, Federal Government Relations, Assurant, Inc.
- Lynn Jennings -Strategic Advisor, The Partnership for Public Service

Monday, March 09, 2009

Looking For Training? Check out the New AGA Education and Training Brochure

The brochure includes onsite, audio, conferences and online offerings to help you and your staff's education and training needs. Check out one of the courses currently being offered:

Grants Management: This course provides a general overview of grants management, including preparation, review and submittal of proposals; negotiation and acceptance of grants; post-award financial and administrative management; closeout and audit; and relevant compliance issues. Click here to learn more and get detailed information.

The 18 other on-site courses include lectures, group discussion and exercises and class problem-solving. They can be customized to meet your needs and participants are awarded CPEs based on the length of each course.

For course pricing and additional information about course content, please contact Bekka Gehrmann, Education Manager, 800.AGA.7211, at ext. 309.

CFOC Posts updates to the Master Agency Financial System Inventory

Download the latest inventory document here.

OMB Memo M-09-14: Recovery Act Implementation – Improving Grants.gov and Other Critical Systems

Recovery Act Implementation – Improving Grants.gov and Other Critical Systems

Effective implementation of the Recovery Act is a critical part of the effort to jumpstart economic activity and a top priority for the Administration. Central to carrying out the provisions of the Recovery Act with unprecedented levels of transparency and accountability is to confirm the capability of current information technology systems to meet the significant increases in financial and programmatic activity that will occur within Federal agencies during the next several months. To this end, OMB has been working closely with Federal agencies to identify system risks that could result in the disruption of effective Recovery Act implementation.

One area of risk that has been identified is in the operation of Grants.gov....

Read the Memo

Friday, March 06, 2009

Today's GAO Publication

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

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: GAO's Role in Helping to Ensure Accountability and Transparency, by Gene L. Dodaro, acting comptroller general, before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
GAO-09-453T, March 5.
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d09453thigh.pdf

Systemic Risk: Regulatory Oversight and Recent Initiatives to Address Risk Posed by Credit Default Swaps, by Orice M. Williams, director, financial markets and community investment, before the Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance, and Government Sponsored Enterprises, House Committee on Financial Services.
GAO-09-397T, March 5.
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d09397thigh.pdf

DOD Business Transformation: Status of DOD's Actions on Previous Recommendations for the Defense Travel System, by Asif A. Khan, director, financial management and assurance, before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, House Committee on Armed Services.
GAO-09-416T, March 5.
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d09416thigh.pdf

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Dr. Peter Alterman becomes Executive of FSIO

Dr. Peter Alterman becomes Executive of GSA's Financial Systems Integration Office (FSIO) Office which is managing the Financial Management Line of Business.

Dr. Alterman was named Deputy Associate Administrator (DAA) of Office of Technology Strategy at the U.S. General Services Administration Office of Governmentwide Policy in August 2008 where he was responsible for creating opportunities for intergovernmental and public-private collaboration, to ensure the development of an integrated policy and technical infrastructure for the government’s use of information technology by working closely with the Office of Management and Budget.

Previously, Dr. Alterman served as the Assistant Chief Information Officer for Electronic Authentication at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a position he's held since 2003. Additionally, Dr. Alterman previously served as the Chair of the U.S. Federal Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) Policy Authority.

The Financial Systems Integration Office (FSIO) within the General Services Administration, was formerly known as the Joint Financial Management Improvement Program (JFMIP) staff office. In December 2004, the JFMIP Principals voted to modify the roles and responsibilities of the JFMIP. As a result the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Chief Financial Officers (CFO) Council have worked closely with FSIO staff to update FSIO’s mission and scope of activities.

Dr. Alterman's contact information:
Email address: peter.alterman@gsa.gov
Phone number: 202-501-0202

OMB Reorganizes OFFM and eGov Websites

The OMB website content for OFFM and eGov have been reorganized into a logical repository of information and links related to the subjects of Federal Financial Management and eGovernment. The updated websites can be found at the links below.

Office of Federal Financial Management

Office of E-Government & Information Technology

Conference Set on Federal Financial Management

The Federal Financial Management Conference, which will feature the latest issues and trends in financial management, accountability, performance and auditing, is set for March 12.

Gene L. Dodaro, CGFM, Acting Comptroller General of the United States, will present the keynote address. The conference theme is "Financial Management in Transition." Highlights include sessions on auditing, accounting, human capital and accountability; a panel discussion of the Government Accountability Office's oversight role over the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP); presentations by Neil Barofsky, Special Inspector General for TARP, Kenneth Carfine, Fiscal Assistant Secretary, Department of the Treasury, and James Horney, Director, Federal Fiscal Policy, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

In addition, the Donald L. Scantlebury Memorial Award will be presented to Kathleen M. Turco, Chief Financial Officer, General Services Administration.

The conference, worth 7 CPE hours, is sponsored by the Joint Financial Management Improvement Program (JFMIP) principals, Financial Systems Integration Office (FSIO), General Services Administration (GSA) and the Graduate School, USDA.

Learn More and Register Here

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Oracle E-Business Suite(R) Release 12 Secures Federal Systems Integration Office (FSIO) Certification for Core Financial Systems


REDWOOD SHORES, Calif., March 3 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ --

The Financial Systems Integration Office (FSIO) has officially certified Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12. After a thorough review and analysis of release notes, responses to FSIO questions, product documentation and the results of two demonstrations, FSIO has determined that the Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 satisfies the FSIO Core Financial System Requirements.


Supporting Resources
Oracle Public Sector
Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12

ICGFM Seeks Managing Director

The International Consortium on Government Financial Management (ICGFM) is looking for a highly qualified managing director to build on the progress to date and to facilitate the ongoing successful execution of the mission through ICGFM's network of volunteer officers and board members.


Monday, March 02, 2009

Following the Money

Now that the stimulus bill is law, how does a federal agency make sure the money goes where it needs to? You can find one possible answer in a new set of monitoring tools from the Partnership for Intergovernmental Management and Accountability. Tom Cooley is Chief Financial Officer at the National Science Foundation and co-Chair of the Partnership, and he joins us to explain how the tools work.

Listen Here

AGA's Intergovernmental Partnership Aims to Limit Risks in Stimulus Spending

As agencies scramble to spend stimulus funds under the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, an intergovernmental financial management organization is offering up new tools to help ensure that accountability isn't sacrificed for expediency.

The Partnership for Intergovernmental Management and Accountability, which comprises high-ranking financial management officials in federal, state and local governments, has published a number of documents and assessment tools to help agencies monitor funds spent under the economic stimulus package.

The Partnership was established by the Association of Government Accountants in 2007 to improve accountability across governmental jurisdictions.

- Katherine McIntire Peters, GoveExec.com

Today's GAO Publications

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

Debt Management: Treasury's Cash Management Challenges and Timing of Payments to Medicare Private Plans.
GAO-09-118, January 30.
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d09118high.pdf

GAO Cost Estimating and Assessment Guide: Best Practices for Developing and Managing Capital Program Costs.
GAO-09-3SP, March 2009.