Acquisition, financial councils collaborate on procurement system standards

Acquisition, financial councils collaborate on procurement system standards

CAMBRIDGE, Md.--The Chief Acquisition Officers and the Chief Financial Officers councils are developing acquisition system standards that vendors can integrate into their already approved core financial systems.

Wayne Leiss, chief of the Federal Financial Systems Branch in the Office of Management and Budget, said yesterday at the 2005 Interagency Resources Management Councils conference here that the effort is just getting under way but eventually will improve the integration of procurement data into financial management systems.

"We are not looking for this to be a regulatory process, but a joint system development process that involves vendors, agencies and policy-makers," Leiss said. "We will have test cases and test the functionality of the standards."

The interagency group has met once and will continue to meet about twice a month, Leiss said. The goal is to get an exposure draft to agencies and vendors by early 2006. It aims not just to have acquisition system standards, but to test core financial systems with acquisition functionalities.

Leiss said agencies have not developed these standards previously.

"The closest things we have are interface standards between acquisition and financial management, but I don't think they were tested and they are not effective," he said. "It is complicated to do when the standard interface only applies to financial management systems.

'We currently test only very limited acquisition functions," such as recording a commitment or obligation, but not constructing procurement documents, he added.

The interface standards were ineffective, he said, because they don't take into account two significant areas: shifting authority of data and funds, and control of the data.

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