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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

THE CFO ACT OF 1990: Current Systems Considerations, Modernization and Achieving Compliance

The Chief Financial Officers (CFO) Act of 1990 called for major reforms in federal financial management. As we celebrate the first 20 years of this landmark legislation, it is important to reflect on the accomplishments and the remaining challenges. Among the foundational requirements of the CFO Act was a call for the "systematic measurement of performance, the development of cost information and the integration of systems - program, budget and financial.'"! Systems, along with people and processes, are at the heart of highperforming CFO organizations. A lot has been achieved in the past two decades. We have seen federal agencies go from a complete lack of accountability to clear, auditable financial statements, vast improvements in financial reporting, and greater visibility and transparency to American taxpayers. When we look to the future, the evolution of financial management systems that support the systematic measurement of performance, the development of cost information, and the integration of systems as called for in the CFO Act will be a continuing priority. This article addresses the current state of financial management systems and what needs to be done to continue the movement to high performance.

- Robert Maitner, AGA Journal of Government Financial Management, Winter 2010