Financial Management:

Profile of Air Force Financial Managers

AIMD-98-4: Published: Nov 28, 1997. Publicly Released: Nov 28, 1997.

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Lisa G. Jacobson
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Pursuant to a legislative mandate, GAO provided information on key financial managers within the Department of the Air Force, specifically focusing on the qualifications and professional work experience of 4 Air Force management executives and 173 key financial management staff representing 79 of the 88 Air Force organizations.

GAO noted that: (1) the four Air Force financial management executives included the: (a) Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Financial Management and Comptroller); (b) Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Financial Management and Comptroller); (c) Deputy Assistant Secretary, Financial Operations; and (d) Deputy Assistant Secretary, Budget; (2) each of the executives had attained masters degrees; (3) none held professional certifications; and (4) of the 173 other key Air Force financial managers responding to GAO's review: (a) almost 70 percent (117) were military officers, serving mainly as comptrollers and budget officers at major commands and as comptrollers at installations; (b) 56 were civilian personnel serving mainly in budget officer positions at installations; (c) all of the 117 officers and 41 of the 56 civilians reported holding bachelors degrees; (d) about 30 percent of respondents with bachelors degrees majored in accounting, while approximately 50 percent majored in other business-related areas; (e) 129 (99 officers and 30 civilians) also reported holding advanced degrees; (f) about two-thirds of these degrees were in business-related majors other than accounting, while the majors of the remaining respondents were not business-related, and two civilians held doctoral degrees--one in business administration and the other in law; (g) the officers' careers ranged from 3 to 38 years, averaging 18 years, while the civilians' careers ranged from 12 to 44 years, averaging 27 years; (h) officers with less than 12 years of experience were most often assigned as budget officers at installations; (i) about 50 percent of all respondents reported performing tasks throughout their careers in several financial management-related functions included in GAO's review; (j) 131 respondents (86 officers and 45 civilians) reported receiving training during 1995 and 1996, with 9 out of every 10 listing general topics, such as computers and supervision, as examples of the training completed; (k) about one-half also reported completing financial-related training during this period, while only about 2 out of 10 reported completing accounting-related training, such as accounting standards and financial reporting; (l) about 20 percent of the respondents reported holding one or more financial management-related certifications; and (m) of the 32 holding certificates, 6 were Certified Public Accountants (CPA), 6 were Certified Government Financial Managers (CGFM), and 24 were others, such as Certified Cost Analysts and Certified Acquisition Professional in Financial Management and Comptrollership.

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