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Financial Management Systems: Status of OMB's Review of Financial System Projects

GAO-12-184R Published: Feb 08, 2012. Publicly Released: Mar 12, 2012.
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What GAO Found

OMB developed the June 2010 memorandum in consultation with the CFO Council and created FSAB to assist in its oversight and review of agency financial system projects as announced in the June 2010 memorandum. In November 2010, OMB reported an overall budget savings of $1.6 billion as a result of decisions to postpone, cancel, or revise the scope of projects initially reviewed. In response to our survey, most agencies reported no change or that they did not know how the long-term project cost or completion time would change as a result of the actions, decisions, and recommendations related to the June 2010 memorandum and oversight process. However, several agencies reported that they narrowed the scope of their current project plans to focus on implementing more critical business needs first as a result of the June 2010 memorandum. They noted that this rescoping had the effect of delaying their efforts to improve accounting and reporting functions. Agencies also reported other challenges related to their financial system projects, including standardization of internal processes or data and funding delays. According to OMB staff, their plans for oversight of financial systems include (1) continuing to review agencies’ financial system projects and (2) issuing a revised Circular A-127 that will serve as guidance on the issues noted in the June 2010 memorandum. OMB did not provide details or time frames on the planned issuance of the revised circular.

Why GAO Did This Study

This letter responds to a congressional request that we review the status of the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) oversight of federal financial system projects. In June 2010, OMB announced an initiative to review federal agency financial system modernization projects at the 24 Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Act agencies. OMB provided guidance on this initiative in its June 2010 Memorandum M-10-26, Immediate Review of Financial Systems IT Projects. The memorandum provided instructions for CFO Act agencies to revise financial system modernization projects in accordance with three guiding principles and to submit their revised project plans for review.

As discussed, our objectives were to describe: (1) the approach OMB followed to develop and implement the June 2010 memorandum; (2) the changes agencies reported making to their financial system project plans as a result of the June 2010 memorandum; and (3) OMB’s future plans for oversight of financial system modernization projects.

For more information, contact Paula M. Rascona at (202) 512-9816 or .

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Financial systemsFinancial systems modernizationFinancial managementChief financial officersFinancial management systemsBudgetsIT projectsHomeland securityProject milestonesGovernment reform