Year 2000 Computing Challenge:

Financial Management Service Has Established Effective Year 2000 Testing Controls

AIMD-00-24: Published: Oct 29, 1999. Publicly Released: Oct 29, 1999.

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Jack L. Brock, Jr
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Financial Management Service's (FMS) Year 2000 program, focusing on whether FMS is: (1) effectively managing its year 2000 testing; and (2) taking adequate steps to mitigate the year 2000 risks associated with four mission-critical systems that were not implemented by the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) March 1999 deadline.

GAO noted that: (1) FMS has established effective year 2000 test management controls for its six most mission-critical systems; (2) for instance, FMS developed test guidance, defined compliance criteria, and defined test roles and responsibilities; (3) together, these and other controls, provided the infrastructure needed for planning, executing and reporting year 2000 test activities, including system acceptance and end-to-end testing; (4) in line with GAO's year 2000 test guide, which is widely accepted and used in government and private industry, FMS also engaged an independent verification and validation (IV&V) contractor to ensure that testing was complete and thorough; (5) GAO reviewed this contractor's work and found that: (a) its scope was consistent with GAO's year 2000 test guide; and (b) the contractor identified no material problems with system acceptance testing of five of FMS' six most critical systems; (6) GAO also found that although the IV&V contractor did not review the sixth system, FMS took steps to gain reasonable assurance that year 2000 testing for this system was effectively managed; (7) further, FMS has established effective management controls in performing its portion of selected year 2000 end-to-end tests; (8) specifically, FMS satisfied the end-to-end testing key processes defined in GAO's guidance for three critical test events; (9) these events focused on three of FMS' most important core business functions--social security payments, Supplemental Security Income payments, and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax refund payments; (10) the tests included FMS processing payment files from Social Security Administration and IRS, printing checks, and transmitting electronic payment files to Federal Reserve Banks; (11) as of October 1, 1999, FMS reported that it had implemented two of the four systems that did not meet the March 31, 1999, OMB-imposed deadline for implementation; (12) for the remaining two, FMS reported that it has: (a) renovated and tested both; (b) implemented both at two of five sites; and (c) plans to complete their implementation by the end of October 1999; and (13) in addition, FMS has prepared and plans to test system contingency plans for these late systems as well as its other mission-critical systems.

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