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Monday, November 28, 2011

Are agency CFOs up for budget battles?

The federal budget environment — complicated by Congress and the shifting political winds — has only made the job of federal chief financial officer and budget teams that much more difficult.

But the good news is, they say they're looking forward to the challenge, said Jonathan Stehle, president of the American Association for Budget and Program Analysis, in an interview on In Depth with Francis Rose.

That was also the theme that emerged from a recent AABPA report, "The Road Forward, The Federal Budget and Budgeting Profession."

-Jack Moore, FederalNewsRadio.com

Thursday, November 24, 2011

DoD's IG to resign

Defense Department Inspector General Gordon Heddell is stepping down next month.

In an email to staff on Tuesday, Heddell said, "It is with very mixed emotions that I announce to you today that I have advised President Obama and Secretary Panetta that I intend to step down as Inspector General of the Department of Defense on December 24, 2011."

Heddell was sworn in as IG in 2009. Previously, he had served as the IG at the Labor Department, served 28 years with the Secret Service and was an Army aviator.
-Jolie Lee, FederalNewsRadio.com

Monday, November 21, 2011

OMB highlights report card of clean audits

For the first time in two decades, independent auditors said financial books were in order at 23 of 24 applicable federal agencies, the Office of Management and Budget announced Friday.

The Pentagon is now the only department whose finances continued to warrant a disclaimer, while the State and Homeland Security departments have progressed to "qualified" ratings. All others, according to OMB's list, now are "clean."

Since passage of the 1990 Chief Financial Officers Act, major agencies have been required to produce audited financial statements. The Pentagon, in particular, has struggled to make progress toward a congressional deadline of auditability by 2017.

-Charles S. Clark, GovExec.com

A list of Agency Financial Statement Web Links is provided below.

Department of Agriculture
Department of Defense
Department of Education
Department of Energy
Department of Health and Human Services
Department of Homeland Security
Department of Housing and Urban Development
Department of the Interior
Department of Justice
Department of Labor
Department of State
Department of Transportation
Department of the Treasury
Department of Veterans Affairs
Environmental Protection Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Agency for International Development
General Services Administration 
National Science Foundation 
Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Office of Personnel Management
Small Business Administration
Social Security Administration

KPMG Publishes 2011 Federal Word Book

Published in 2008, the first edition of The KPMG Word Book: A Directory of Financial Management and IT Acronyms, Regulations, and Terms provided a much-needed resource for individuals navigating the often bewildering maze of acronyms, regulations, and commonly used terms in federal financial and IT management. The response was immediate and enthusiastic among members of government , professional associations, students, academia, the media, and others.

The 2011 KPMG Federal Word Book: A Directory of Federal Financial Management and IT Acronyms, Laws and Regulations, Terms, and Agencies and URLs, published by the KPMG Government Institute, provides an expanded and updated version of the original classic, with some 700 terms, including 140 new entries. It has also been expanded to include a new section, Agencies and URLs – a listing of over 350 executive, judicial, legislative, and independent agencies – in addition to the original three: Acronyms, Regulations, and Terms.

Download the Word Book Here...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Contract and grant transparency is 'wave of the future'

The Recovery, Accountability and Transparency Board broke new ground in how to track grant and contract money so the public could see what's going on. Now that work is starting to spread throughout the government.

"With the Affordable Care Act and the Recovery Act, we've become quite busy over the last couple of years," said Nancy Gunderson, deputy assistant secretary for grants, acquisition policy and accountability at Health and Human Services.

-Michael O'Connell, FederalNewsRadio.com

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Road Forward: The Federal Budget and Budgeting Profession

In 2011, Grant Thornton joined forces with the American Association for Budget and Program Analysis (AABPA) for a first-time, online survey of 231 federal budget professionals. Survey topics included budget formulation and execution, budget and performance integration, budget cutting, Congress, budget technology, and human capital. The survey finds budgeteers primed for the coming budget battles.

Other findings include:
  • Preparing and justifying budgets remains their most important job.
  • Integrating budget and performance data is critical for program success but underlying difficulties make this problematic.
  • Budgeteers know how to cut their budgets, but agency bureaucracies seem to have trouble executing the cuts.
  • They need better budget technology to support large amounts of data.
  • Analytics, crisp writing, and working cooperatively under pressure are key attributes needed by new budgeteers.
  • In spite of problems and frustrations, job satisfaction is very good.

Download the report Here..

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Agencies cut improper payments by $18 billion

Agencies saved nearly $18 billion in fiscal 2011 by reducing improper payments, the White House announced Tuesday. The administration also unveiled new steps to prevent the government from paying money to the wrong people.

Agencies saved $17.6 billion last year, by reducing payment errors in Medicare, Medicaid, Pell Grants and a food assistance program.

President Barack Obama initiated the crackdown on improper payments two years ago, when he gave agencies the goal of reducing payment errors by $50 billion before 2013. The effort has since become part of the administration's Campaign to Cut Waste, which seeks to apply lessons learned by the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board to all federal spending.

As part of the crackdown, agencies reduced the 2011 governmentwide payment error rate to 4.7 percent, the administration said. In 2010, it was 5.3 percent.

The Medicare and Medicaid programs shouldered the bulk of savings, avoiding $16 billion in payment errors, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told reporters.

USDA also prevented $800 million in improper payments under its Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly the food stamps program, according to the administration.

In announcing the reduction of payment errors, the White House also revealed new steps to improve agency suspension and debarment programs.

-Ruben Gomez, FederalNewsRadio.com

Friday, November 04, 2011

DoD budget planning systems plagued by inefficiencies

The Defense Department's quest to be auditable in 2017 relies on using Enterprise Resource Planning systems, or ERPs, to perform tasks like accounting and supply chain management.

But according to a GAO report released last week, "To date, however, DOD's ERP implementation has been impaired by delays, cost increases, failures in delivering the necessary functionality, and a lack of compliance with required standards."

Asif Khan, director of Financial Management and Assurance Issues at the Government Accountability Office, has been looking at the ERPs at the Pentagon.
The GAO found six of the 10 ERPs that DoD identified as critical had "time slippages" of between two to 12 years, Khan said. And none of the programs had a master schedule.

A big hang-up for DoD is its collection of 2,000 legacy systems. These 10 ERPs are expected to replace more than 500 legacy systems.

-Jolie Lee, FederalNewsRadio.com