Financial Management:

Progress of OMB's Chief Financial Officer

AFMD-88-52: Published: Jun 6, 1988. Publicly Released: Jun 24, 1988.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Chief Financial Officer's (CFO) progress in addressing his agenda of government financial management problems, including: (1) upgrading agency systems; (2) implementing standard systems; (3) reducing the number of agency systems through cross-servicing arrangements; (4) creating a council of federal financial managers; (5) establishing controllers in each agency; and (6) improving agency internal controls.

GAO found that: (1) although the original CFO agenda projected that all agencies would implement primary accounting systems by the end of 1988, two agencies accounting for 65 percent of the budget delayed implementation until 1990; (2) agencies' implementation of revised systems to meet the requirements was scheduled for the end of 1988, even though the procurement schedule for vendors with compatible systems was not completed; (3) CFO modified the agenda and target dates for cross-servicing due to problems associated with agencies adopting such arrangements; (4) all agencies administratively established chief financial officers to meet to consolidate and modernize agency financial systems; and (5) CFO continued to monitor agencies' programs to improve internal controls. GAO also found that CFO will also have responsibility for credit management, debt collection, and cash management because of their significance in providing the government with better financial operations. In addition, GAO found four factors that constrained CFO activities, including: (1) his dual capacity as CFO and OMB Associate Director for Management; (2) few staff resources to support his function; (3) lack of agency commitment to carry out financial management reform; and (4) lack of continuity during changes in administrations. GAO believes that: (1) the CFO position needs reexamination to clarify and refine his duties as necessary; and (2) CFO requires a legislative mandate, rather than an administrative appointment.

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