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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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