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Friday, June 28, 2013

Fed watchdogs in their own catfight

The federal government’s inspector generals are usually seen as the watchdogs who investigate allegations of mismanagement, waste, fraud and abuse by government agencies and then demand the agencies shape up.
The IG’s also periodically review each other’s work to ensure that everyone’s following appropriate procedures in conducting agency audits.
It seems a most unusual — in fact, downright nasty — catfight erupted last week between two inspector generals when the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) reviewed some work of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation IG (PBGC- OIG).
Obviously we’re not going to get involved in the gory details, save to say that the battle is over proper compliance with government accounting standards (GAGAS).
The SIGAR team reviewed two of the PBGC team’s audits and graded them in a report on May 15 with a “pass with deficiencies.”
That sparked what became a bench-clearing brawl, most of which is laid out here.
-Al Kamen, WashingtonPost.com

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

GAO is Seeking to Hire its Next Chief Administrative and Financial Officer (CAO/CFO)

The Chief Administrative and Financial Officer (CAO/CFO) reports directly to the Comptroller General (CG) and, as such, is principally responsible for directing the administrative and financial services that support GAO through subordinate offices, which include the Financial Management and Business Operations Office, Human Capital Office, Information Systems and Technology Services Office, Infrastructure Operations Office, and the Field Operations Office.  The CAO/CFO also provides direction to the Professional Development Program; which is designed to orientate and develop newly hired analysts into GAO through rewarding job experience and quality training.

To be considered, all candidates must submit written responses to each PTQ.

  • Broad experience and in-depth understanding of strategic and operational planning; and the development and/or implementation of a multi-year strategic plan that includes and defines the financial, human capital, information technology and administrative management needs of an agency.
  • In-depth knowledge of and broad experience in budgeting, financial reporting concepts and principles and internal management control and accountability processes; and thorough knowledge of governmental financial management processes.
  • Extensive experience leading and managing financial and administrative programs and activities; including multi-year, multi-million dollar federal projects.

Compensation: $119,554 to $174,000, plus eligibility for performance bonus.

EEO: All candidates will be considered without regard to race, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, or disability. GAO provides reasonable accommodations to applicants with disabilities.

Deadline: To be considered, complete applications must be submitted to JDG Associates by 11:59 PM (EST), July 22, 2013.

Citizenship: U.S. Citizenship required.

Joe DeGioia
JDG Associates, Ltd.
1700 Research Boulevard
Rockville, MD  20850

Monday, June 24, 2013

HUD buying into shared services

atch for more action around financial management shared services in the coming months.

Industry sources confirmed the Department of Housing and Urban Development will announce its decision in the coming days to move its core financial management system to the Treasury Department's Bureau of Fiscal Service. BFS, formerly the Bureau of Public Debt, provides shared services to about 40 percent of the civilian agencies, including NASA, the Social Security Administration and components of the Homeland Security Department.

Besides Treasury itself, HUD will be the largest migration to the shared service, and it could take two years, the industry source says.

Additionally, the Interior Department announced earlier this week it awarded Unisys a $44 million contract to put its Financial and Business Management System (FBMS) in the cloud.
And the Federal Trade Commission, the Coast Guard and the Commerce Department are in the discovery phase to decide whether to move to a shared service provider.

But the fact that HUD is making the move to Treasury is a significant milestone. The agency's decision has been a long-time coming. It started the process to implement a new financial management system in 2006 by releasing a request for proposals. It eventually awarded a 10-year contract to IBM in 2010 worth $129 million to implement a new system. It was a three-phased approach starting with HUD's core financial system and then pulling in other components. The project struggled and HUD, with the help of the Office of Management and Budget, revisited its plans that same year.

HUD was one of several agency financial system projects OMB focused on during its 2010 effort to better oversee these programs.

On the IT Dashboard, HUD said it would spend $18 million in 2013 to support its legacy systems, and a total of $26.3 million on its core financial systems.

Over at Interior, Unisys will transition FBMS to a secure, cloud environment that runs SAP's Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software platform.

Interior uses FBMS to account for all income and expenditures.

-Jason Miller, FederalNewsRadio.com

Sequestration, budget cuts taking their toll on DoD financial managers

Unprecedented chaos in the federal budget, impending civilian furloughs and an increasing workload are all contributors to a sharp, sudden decline in the morale of the staff that manages and executes the Defense Department's budget, according to an annual workforce survey released Wednesday.

The study, prepared by the American Society of Military Comptrollers and Grant Thornton, found that out of more than 1,000 financial management professionals surveyed, senior government executives were most likely to report a decline in morale. Within that group, 86 percent of respondents said they enjoyed their jobs "a lot" in last year's survey. By this year, the figure had plummeted to 53 percent. Lower-level financial managers reported a similar, though smaller decline in morale: 20 percent reported high job satisfaction compared to 24 percent in 2012.

With respect to budget uncertainty, the survey reflects deep dissatisfaction with the inflexibility of the across-the-board budget cuts under sequestration, the fact that the government seems to be in a perpetual state of continuing resolutions rather than full-year appropriations, and the ongoing indecision in the political arena about whether sequestration is here to stay.

Among the most senior members of the financial management workforce, the survey also revealed deep pessimism about DoD's ability to meet its Congressional mandates to assemble its financial statements so that they can be scrutinized by independent auditors. The survey found 23 percent of senior executives admitted they have zero confidence that their respective organizations will be audit-ready by the 2014 deadline for DoD to undergo a partial audit. Only three percent said they were "highly confident" that their organization would be prepared.

-Jared Serbu, FederalNewsRadio.com

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

DoD using flawed approach to calculate $1.1B in improper payments

The Defense Department reported making just $1.1 billion in improper payments in fiscal 2011, a small fraction of the Pentagon's total outlays of more than $1 trillion.

But, in a new report, the Government Accountability Office said those estimates are neither reliable nor statistically valid because of "longstanding and pervasive" weaknesses in DoD financial-management practices as well as specific deficiencies in the department's procedures for estimating improper payments.

Lacking in DoD's current efforts to curb improper payments are basic quality-control measures, Asif Khan, GAO's director of financial management and assurance, told In Depth with Francis Rose(Federal News Radio's DoD Reporter Jared Serbu served as guest host)

-Jack Moore, FederalNewsRadio.com