How Treasury calculates the bottom line across agencies

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The Treasury Department compiles its own financial statement and that of the Homeland Security Department, but it also assembles a consolidated financial statement for the entire federal government.

After Nov. 15, when agencies will be required to turn in their annual financial statements, Treasury will have just one month to reconcile and merge them.

Developing uniformity in the financial data is crucial, said Robert Reid, Treasury's deputy assistant secretary for accounting policy, who leads the department's governmentwide operations.

'We have had some very tight deadlines imposed on us not only for our own preparation but also by the General Accounting Office, because they have very little time to review this information,' Reid said.

Agencies use different financial management and accounting systems and different reporting software. To compile the disparate information, Treasury will use the Federal Financial Management System from Savantage Solutions Inc. of Rockville, Md.

The system links information from agencies' audited financial statements to line item amounts reported in the consolidated statement. Treasury wants to ensure that the numbers in the consolidated report match up with the financial statements.

In the past, Treasury has collected a series of 2,500 balances at a low level of detail, but GAO found that process ineffective. This year, Treasury will collect high-level totals from the financial statements of 35 agencies.

The Savantage software 'reclassifies the information with the line items that we use in preparing the report,' Reid said. For example, Treasury itself will have 13 line items for the consolidated balance sheet.

'We're reshuffling the cards to meet the way we do our statements,' Reid said.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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