Financial Management:

Profile of Defense Finance and Accounting Service Financial Managers

AIMD-98-133: Published: May 28, 1998. Publicly Released: May 28, 1998.

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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO provided information on the qualifications, including formal education, professional work experience, training, and professional certifications, of personnel serving in key financial management positions in the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS).

GAO noted that: (1) the three DFAS financial management executives in its review are the Director, the Deputy Director for Accounting, and the Deputy Director for Finance; (2) each of the executives had attained master's degrees; (3) the Director had spent 30 years at the Department of Defense (DOD); (4) the Deputy Directors had DOD careers ranging from 26 to 33 years; (5) one of the executives held several professional certifications; and (6) of the 265 key DFAS financial managers responding to GAO's review: (a) about 6 percent were military officials, serving mainly as directors, deputy directors, and division directors at operating locations (OPLOC); 94 percent were civilians serving mainly as division directors, branch chiefs, and Chief Financial Officer statement staffs at centers, and deputy directors and division directors at OPLOCs; (b) 13 of the 15 military officials and 201 of the 250 civilians reported holding bachelor's degrees, with 10 of these respondents reporting more than one major; (c) about 71 percent of these 214 managers majored in accounting, while approximately 23 percent reported degrees in business-related majors other than accounting; (d) 99 respondents also reported holding master's degrees, with 3 of these respondents reporting more than one major; (e) 12 of these 99 managers held master's degrees in accounting, while about 71 percent reported degrees in business-related majors other than accounting; (f) the military officials' careers ranged from 11 to 33 years, averaging 23 years, while the civilians' careers ranged from 1 to 53 years, averaging 23 years; (g) about 69 percent of all respondents reported performing several financial management-related functions included in GAO's review during their careers; (h) 224 reported completing training in one or more of the categories included in GAO's review during 1995 and 1996; (i) of these 224 managers: about 88 percent listed general topics, such as computers, supervision, strategic planning, and communication skills, as examples of the training completed; about 39 percent reported completing financial-related training; and about 50 percent reported completing accounting-related training, such as accounting standards and financial reporting; (j) about 31 percent of the 265 respondents reported holding one or more professional certifications; and (k) of the 83 managers this group, 80 reported holding accounting and other financial management certifications.

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