CFO Council to roll out governmentwide performance metrics next month

The Chief Financial Officers Council has settled on eight measures that agencies governmentwide can use as leading performance indicators and plans to issue them by the end of May, Office of Management and Budget controller Linda Springer said today.

'We believe there are certain things that are common and relevant across all agencies,' Springer said at the FOSE trade show in Washington.

Springer and JoAnn Boutelle, deputy CFO for the Defense Department, discussed the council's draft list of metrics, which the council expects agencies to begin using as soon as the council makes them public.

Although performance indicator is what Springer called an in-vogue term, the government's CFOs think metrics matter all the time, she said.

The challenge for the council was to settle on just a few metrics that would be of most use to department secretaries, agency chiefs and their deputies. 'You're not doing this because it's intellectually satisfying, you're doing it to make better decisions ' and to be a better steward of the taxpayers' dollars,' Springer said.

Getting the council's CFOs to agree on single definitions has been no mean feat either, said Boutelle. She is overseeing DOD's effort to create a single financial enterprise architecture'with the first version planned for release later this month.

Ultimately, OMB wants to make consolidated governmentwide data available online, said Springer, who added that she expects her agency will take responsibility for the rolling up of the metrics gathering by the government's 26 major agencies.

The council decided late last year that it made sense to have a series of metrics that could be applied governmentwide, Springer said. To that end, a subgroup began meeting in January to settle on metrics and definitions that would be amenable to agencies large and small.

To be useful, such metrics must be collected, analyzed and released in a timely manner, she said. 'We want it to be like breathing.'

Most of the data will be monthly, although a few measurements will be quarterly.

Council members also believe that the data'to be useful to agency decision-makers'must be readily accessible. That's why the council will push agencies to make their data Web-friendly.

'I can't say it enough: online, online, online,' Springer said. 'If it's paper or nothing, then do paper,' but the goal eventually should be to make the data available electronically.

Once it releases the list of metrics, the council next wants to set governmentwide goals for each performance measure. That will be tough, Boutelle said, because each agency is a little bit different from the next. Springer said there would likely be variances from agency to agency, but what those might be is still up for discussion.

Whatever the governmentwide goals, individual agencies will need to set their own goals, too, Boutelle said. 'You've got to set something that's achievable and realistic,' she said. 'If you don't set something that's achievable, people will ignore it.'

The eight metrics are:

  • Reconciled/unreconciled cash balances

  • Suspense clearing

  • Delinquent accounts receivable from public

  • Electronic payments

  • Percent of non-credit-card invoices paid on time

  • Interest penalties paid

  • Travel card delinquency trends

  • Purchase card delinquency trends.

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