State eyes app to meet financial systems order

State eyes app to meet financial systems order

By Tony Lee Orr

GCN Staff

The State Department will use a commercial application to address criticism leveled by the General Accounting Office that the agency is not complying with federal financial reporting edicts, a department official said.

Problems found in State's financial management systems include balances that cannot be reconciled and balances requiring substantial manual efforts to correct, according to March 8 GAO testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on International Operations.

The agency will install Momentum Financials 3.3 from American Management Systems Inc. of Fairfax, Va., over the next three years, a State official said.

Officials estimate that the financial system will cost $14 million to install.

Not complying

The department is out of compliance with the Federal Financial Management Improvement Act of 1996, according to testimony by Benjamin F. Nelson, director of GAO's national security and international affairs division.

State's audit report for fiscal 1998, issued in September 1999, disclosed the lack of compliance, Nelson said.

While the department passed audits, it failed to meet federal financial systems requirements.

State also did not meet the March 1 requirement set by the Office of Management and Budget for submission of fiscal 1999 audited financial statements, Nelson told the committee.

While noting the failure to meet the financial system requirements, the State official said the department expects a passing report on its 1999 audit.

Department officials submitted a plan to correct the problem in March, said the State official, who did not want to be named.

The Momentum Financials software is a client-server application that will reside on a variety of servers State migrated to as part of its modernization program. It uses a Microsoft Windows NT LAN infrastructure. The servers will house Oracle Corp. databases, the official said.

The software initially will be installed in Paris; Bangkok, Thailand; and Charleston, S.C., he said.

The financial management systems will be installed in those cities first because those posts provide a variety of services for other federal agencies, the official said.

State is one of the few agencies authorized to cut checks in both dollars and foreign currency, creating an unusual requirement for its financial records, the State official said.

Charleston will be the first location to get the software, and the other two locations will follow, with completion scheduled by the end of fiscal 2003, he said.

The amount of customization the software will undergo has not been decided, the official said.

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