District of Columbia:

New Financial Management System

AIMD-99-217R: Published: Jun 18, 1999. Publicly Released: Jun 18, 1999.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the District of Columbia's new System of Accounting and Reporting (SOAR), focusing on: (1) the training attendance statistics for SOAR; (2) the reported contract costs and total hours by deliverables for SOAR; (3) which applications of the vendor's financial management package the District of Columbia is implementing; (4) the cost of the implementation of SOAR at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC); (5) which agencies will implement SOAR; and (6) what types of resources are dedicated to transition assistance.

GAO noted that: (1) training attendance statistics for the period January 1998 through April 1999, as provided by the SOAR Deputy Program Director, indicate: (a) District-wide, over 9,000 training slots were scheduled; (b) 58 percent of those scheduled for training attended; and (c) 42 percent did not attend scheduled training; (2) the SOAR Program Director stated that the overall 42 percent non-attendance rate was unacceptable and that a number of initiatives are being considered to improve attendance; (3) District officials told GAO that they plan to pilot a job certification program for employees in financial positions at one District agency this summer; (4) District contract agreements for SOAR implementation total approximately $26 million for the period 1997 through 2002; (5) the SOAR implementation effort includes approximately 70 deliverable work products for KPMG Technical Support Services; (6) as of December 21, 1998, the SOAR Program Office had requested additional funding for six contract modifications totalling $8.4 million; (7) the District purchased 4 of the 13 available applications in the vendor's mainframe and client/server financial management product line for state and local governments; (8) these applications may be used separately or as part of an overall system, depending on the client's environment, objectives, and constraints; (9) the SOAR Program Director told GAO that the applications purchased by the District incorporate both mainframe and client/server products to meet its requirements as outlined in the request for proposal; (10) originally, UDC was acquiring a separate system that specialized in higher education accounting; (11) subsequently, UDC determined that SOAR could satisfy its requirements and opted to install SOAR rather than a separate new system; (12) the District negotiated with KPMG under the umbrella of the original contract; (13) the cost for this increased functionality is estimated at about $1 million; (14) the costs are not-to-exceed amounts and the labor categories and rates are the same as those for the ongoing District-wide implementation of SOAR; (15) it is GAO's understanding that SOAR will be implemented in all District agencies; (16) according to District officials, SOAR users have several avenues for problem solving relating to the operation of SOAR; and (17) users may use reference material, contact the SOAR Help Desk, and obtain assistance from the Technical Infrastructure SWAT Team.

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