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Friday, November 02, 2012

For Federal CFOs, the Pressure is on

Do you feel like the frog being boiled? Only four years ago, it was cool to be in government again – but now the pot’s boiling on extra high. The heat continues to rise with the taxpayers’ distrust of the management and stewardship of their money; whether it’s anything from ballooning deficits to irksome conference spending – the federal CFO community is in the thick of things. And the view from the bunker is not pretty either, as we emerge from the turbulence of continuing resolutions, threats of government shutdowns, whilst still toiling away under the cloud of sequestration. And do not forget what we all did to make the execution of the Recovery Act a success with transparency in reporting and very little instances of fraud, waste, and abuse?

As we approach the presidential election and despite recent history and events, there has been somewhat of a hiatus from new management initiatives – but expect this to change quickly (no matter who wins the election) with a newly invigorated administration, some severe externalities hanging over us, and a backlog of legislative proposals aimed at improving how the government spends its money. The federal CFO community will continue to experience increasing pressure and demands to keep performing with ever eroding levels of resources. I see that these challenges are starting to drive an emerging agenda for the federal CFO to address and work on over the next handful of years. So, here are four of the bigger things I see on the agenda:

1. Maintain the measure of fiscal integrity;
2. Build a relentless focus on cost management;
3. Mitigate severe human capital risks; and
4. Find capital to invest in new business systems (or find someone else to run them).

-Owen Barwell, GovExec.com
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