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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

OMB reworking financial system requirements to focus on outcomes, not inputs


CAMBRIDGE, Md.— The Office of Management and Budget is finalizing a new directive to change federal financial management processes.

The goal is to make it easier for agencies to balance their books, and for vendors to provide software to help them do that.

Adam Goldberg, the executive architect for the Treasury Department, said this new guidance, which is about 30 days or so away from being finalized and made public, would update Circular A-127.

A-127 defines the processes and policies agencies should follow when managing their financial management systems. Goldberg said A-127 instructs agencies on how to meet the requirements based on which systems meet government requirements and testing.

Goldberg said Treasury, working as OMB's implementation arm, changed the approach to determine the requirements of financial management systems.

OMB last revised A-127 in January 2009, shortly before President Barack Obama took office.

Goldberg said the Federal Financial Management Improvement Act calls for agencies to meet certain requirements in how they report financial data. The revised A-127 will tell agencies what the end results have to look like, rather than saying how or by what systems, and they can get there anyway they see fit.

He added this change likely will open the door to new vendors to provide shared services or partner with one of the four federal shared service providers for financial management.

Additionally, Goldberg said Treasury is developing a product/service catalog for financial management services.  Goldberg said the catalog pilot should be in place by the end of the calendar year.

All of these efforts build on OMB's requirement from March for agencies to move to a shared service provider for financial management when it's time to upgrade their systems.

Goldberg said reducing the number of requirements and focusing them on outcomes or outputs will make it easier to make the transition.



-Jason Miller, FederalNewsRadio.com
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VanRoekel to lead OMB's management team

Steven VanRoekel will lead the Office of Management and Budget’s management team, following the departure of OMB’s No. 2 official this month.


VanRoekel, however, will continue serving as federal CIO and administrator of the Office of E-Government and Information Technology.

VanRoekel was named federal CIO in 2011 and has served as managing director of the Federal Communications Commission and in an executive director position at the U.S. Agency for International Development. He will fill in for Jeff Zients, who stepped down as OMB’s deputy director for management on May 1, about a week after the Senate confirmed Burwell as OMB director.

Meanwhile, Deputy Controller Norman Dong has been tapped to lead OMB’s Office of Federal Financial Management for now, although he will not serve as acting OMB controller. The previous OMB controller who headed that office, Danny Werfel, was named acting IRS commissioner last week.


-Nicole Blake Johnson, FederalTimes.com
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HR, Financial Management on tap at DHS


Keith Trippie, the Homeland Security Department's executive director of the Enterprise System Development Office, said the agency has invested in more than 10 IT shared services in the cloud, including email, test and development and collaboration tools.

But now DHS also is moving toward financial management and human resources shared services. He said the idea of using shared service providers is much easier now.

Trippie said the culture change is getting people to understand that buying shared services is like buying an airplane ticket: they don't need to own the plane to get across country. They just have to worry about the end result, in this case getting to their destination.


As for DHS' financial management system, Trippie said the desire to consolidate and use shared services is real this time.

DHS has tried two other times unsuccessfully to consolidate financial management systems under programs called Emerge2 and TASC, only to fail. The latest attempt was to bring the components, such as FEMA, which need new systems the most under other component systems that are in better shape.

"There are several shared services providers that are out there. The department has a bunch of legacy financial systems that we've been on," Trippie said. "Culturally over the past year, we've moved the needle where most folks are saying 'We will buy a shared service. We don't have to build that. It's not our core competency. It's not how we want to do business.'"

An executive steering committee, led by the DHS chief financial officer and chief information officer, is leading the effort to move to a shared service for financial management. Trippie said there still is a lot of work that needs to be done including potentially an acquisition.



-Jason Miller, FederalNewsRadio.com
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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Obama to Name Budget Official as Acting I.R.S. Chief


WASHINGTON — President Obama is naming Daniel I. Werfel, the controller of the Office of Management and Budget, to be the new acting commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, the White House announced Thursday.

Mr. Werfel, who currently manages much of the day-to-day operations at the budget office, will replace Steven Miller, the departing interim director of the agency, who is at the heart of the controversy over the I.R.S.'s targeting of conservative groups.

The announcement from the White House said Mr. Werfel would begin his new job on May 22.

“Danny has proven an effective leader who serves with professionalism, integrity and skill,” Mr. Obama said in the statement. “The American people deserve to have the utmost confidence and trust in their government, and as we work to get to the bottom of what happened and restore confidence in the I.R.S., Danny has the experience and management ability necessary to lead the agency at this important time.”

As one of the top officials at the budget office, Mr. Werfel has been the administration’s point man on one of the thorniest political problems in the last six months: the across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration.

As controller, Mr. Werfel is responsible for making sure that the departments and agencies of the federal government adhere to the sequestration law.

Now, the president is charging Mr. Werfel with another difficult task: overseeing the I.R.S. in the middle of a scandal. Republicans — and some Democrats — have made it clear that they intend to hold numerous hearings over the next several months. It will be Mr. Werfel’s job to comply with their demands even as he keeps the agency running.


- Michael D. Shear, NYTimes.com
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Thursday, May 09, 2013

Agencies not working together to quell improper payments


The Social Security Administration needs to work with other federal agencies and state government and share data to make sure Social Security payments are made properly, Office of Federal Financial Management Controller Daniel Werfel told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee May 8.

Werfel said an example of how agencies can work together is on curbing Supplemental Security Income payments to those people living overseas.

SSI recipients are ineligible when outside the country for more than 30 days.

SSA and the Homeland Security Department should develop a process so that SSA could access DHS-collected travel data on individuals who enter and leave the United States, O'Carroll said. As of April 2013, SSA was pursuing access to this data and developing a database matching agreement, he said.

There has been some success in lower improper payments, though. In fiscal 2012, SSA investigators recovered $96.5 million in SSA restitution and projected $398.5 million in savings from programs such as the Cooperative Disability Investigations initiative, which works with state agencies to detect potential fraud and reduces the number of fraudulent disability payments, O'Carroll said.

Read more: Agencies not working together to quell improper payments - FierceGovernment http://www.fiercegovernment.com/story/agencies-not-working-together-quell-improper-payments/2013-05-09#ixzz2Sp7a0300
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