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Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Financial Management Conference Scheduled

The Joint Financial Management Improvement Program–a joint program of the Treasury, GAO, OMB and OPM–will hold its annual Federal Financial Management Conference on May 8 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C.
“This one-day conference provides a forum for those in the federal financial management community to learn about current issues, exchange knowledge, and share experiences in improving financial management operations and policies,” according to the announcement.
Also, the organization is soliciting nominations through March 7 for the annual Donald L. Scantlebury Memorial Award, which recognizes “senior financial management executives who, through outstanding and continuous leadership in financial management, have been principally responsible for significant economies, efficiencies and improvements in the government.”
Further information is on the CFO Council site.

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How CXOs can close the value-proposition gap

Federal financial managers received some shrewd advice last week. Stop talking like financial managers.
Stop talking about clean opinions. Don’t talk about material weaknesses. You don’t need to mention the CFO Act or the Digital Accountability and Transparency (DATA) Act.
With new leaders coming in across every agency, federal financial managers, instead, should focus on value and mission support.
Adam Goldberg, the executive architect at the Treasury Department’s Financial Innovation and Transformation (FIT), said by focusing on how the CFO’s office furthers the agency’s mission, agency budget and financial management executives can change the conversation about back-office functions.
Richard Haley, the FBI CFO, said his folks have to communicate in the language that agents and leaders use every day. He said they shouldn’t have to work hard to understand financial management initiatives.
Goldberg said it’s about shifting the conversation to talk about what the agency needs to better support agency operations.
The point of the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA), for example, aims to close the gap between IT, acquisition and mission areas. It forces the chief information officer into discussions about planning and procuring mission critical technology.
In the human resources world, we’ve heard about chief human capital officers begging and pleading mission area hiring managers to make decisions, review applications and are involved in every step of the process. The Office of Personnel Management issued guidance in November stressing the need to engage and empower hiring managers.
The idea behind all of these efforts is to break down the siloes that have built up over time for probably no real reason, creates layers of inefficiency and leads to the perception of a stilted bureaucracy and inefficiency.
Treasury is trying to help agencies remove these barriers for the financial management folks. The department is developing a maturity model to help agencies think about how their CFO offices are impacting mission beyond just “being the money people.”

-Jason Miller, FederalNewsRadio.com
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Saturday, January 21, 2017

GAO: Many federal financial books are so sloppy they can’t be audited


The Government Accountability Office says many federal agencies’ financial books are in such bad shape that they cannot be audited.

In a report released last week, the GAO said material weaknesses in accounting procedures “hamper the federal government’s ability to reliably report a significant portion of its assets, liabilities, costs and other related information.”

The GAO said its report on the U.S. government’s consolidated financial statements for fiscal years 2015 and 2016 “underscores that much work remains to improve federal financial management.” The agency couldn’t even express an opinion on the balance sheets because of the weak financial reporting.

GAO noted that 34 percent of the federal government’s reported assets and 18 percent of its reported net cost relate to federal entities that were unable to issue audited financial statements, were unable to receive audit opinions on the complete set of financial statements or received a disclaimer of opinion on their statements.
The GAO called out the Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Defense, in particular, for weak internal controls.
The agency also took a shot at the Department of the Treasury and the Office of Management and Budget, noting that some of the “numerous recommendations” GAO made to those agencies in previous years to address internal control deficiencies remain unaddressed. The secretary of the Treasury and director of OMB are required to annually submit financial statements for the U.S. government, audited by the GAO, to the president and Congress.
-Johnny Kampis, Watchdog.org
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Friday, January 20, 2017

Despite billions invested in DoD ERP systems, few financial managers see reduction in workload

The Defense Department has spent well over a decade and tens of billions of dollars to buy enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems with the hope that they would help the military adopt modern, automated business processes and pave the way to financial auditability. But a strikingly small number of DoD financial managers think the systems have done anything to make their jobs easier.
The finding is part of an annual survey and report by the American Society of Military Comptrollers and Grant Thornton. Only 20 percent of the Defense financial workforce said the ERPs had reduced their workload. Another 20 percent said they had made no difference, and 15 percent said they’d actually made their lives more complicated than working with the decades-old legacy systems the ERPS are replacing.
This year’s report represents the ninth year in a row in which researchers have surveyed hundreds of rank-and-file and senior executive members of the Pentagon’s financial management community. Aside from IT modernization, it found at least three other common themes that repeated themselves year-after-year.
Among the most obvious: comptrollers have become fed up with budget uncertainty after having to navigate through eight consecutive years of continuing resolutions, government shutdowns and limitations imposed by the Budget Control Act. As one anonymous respondent put it: “We’re great at building a budget and manpower models based on forecast costs and requirements,” but budgets have had to be “modified continually in response to lower than expected levels of actual receipt of funds.”

- FederalNewsRadio.com
https://shar.es/1O4IMB via @fednewsradio

Thursday, January 12, 2017

US Treasury Publishes the Financial Report of the United States Government - 2016

The annual Financial Report of the U.S. Government provides to the public a comprehensive overview of the Government's current financial position, as well as critical insight into our long term fiscal outlook.

The Citizen’s Guide to the Fiscal Year 2016 Financial Report of the U.S. Government (Financial Report) summarizes the U.S. Government’s current financial position and condition, and discusses key financial topics, including fiscal sustainability. This Guide and the Financial Report are produced by the U.S. Department of the Treasury in coordination with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) of the Executive Office of the President. The Secretary of the Treasury, Director of OMB, and Comptroller General of the United States at the Government Accountability Office believe that the information discussed in this Guide is important to all Americans.

Find the Report here....

Monday, January 02, 2017

IG: Justice Department shows leadership for DATA Act rollout, but gaps remain

The Justice Department is on schedule to meet the DATA Act implementation deadline — sort of.
DOJ’s Office of Inspector General recently issued a review of the department’s progress toward standardizing its financial spending  reports, and according to the internal watchdog, “nothing came to our attention that caused us to believe that a material modification should be made” to Justice’s plans to meet the May 2017 deadline.
But the IG did note “areas of concern that potentially could impact the department’s ability to most effectively meet all the requirements within the requisite timeframe.”
Those areas of concern range from completing a full inventory, mapping and gap analysis of the department to an incomplete data extraction standard.
The inspector general looked at the first four steps of the eight-step plan recommended by the Treasury Department for DATA Act implementation. Treasury and the Office of Management and Budget are the agencies spearheading the work.
Within the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act is a requirement that agency IGs report on the law’s implementation. The first set of reports was due in November, however, the Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE) recommended last December that because the spending data would not be available for November 2016, that the first required reports be due November 2017, with additional reports in 2019 and 2020.
According to the review, the Department has three financial systems: the Unified Financial Management System (UFMS); the Financial Management Information System 2 (FMIS2), a legacy financial system; and the Systems, Applications, and Products (SAP) system.
Instead of inventorying these systems, DOJ inventoried the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) procurement information in UFMS and an initial inventory of the Office of Justice Programs’ (OJP) grant award information in FMIS2 — with the hope that the lessons learned could be applied to the other financial systems.
-Meredith Sommers, FederalNewsRadio.com
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