IRS pressed for testing improvements to new financial system

IRS pressed for testing improvements to new financial system: TIGTA

The IRS' Integrated Financial System project team should improve transition planning and testing to enhance its chances of deploying the enterprise financial management system successfully, a report released today by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration said.

'While the IFS project has experienced delays, the project team has made progress in the areas of system integration testing, transition planning and security test planning,' said Gordon Milbourn III, TIGTA's acting deputy inspector general for audit. Significant integration testing is under way, increasing the probability that IRS' IT services group will be able to operate IFS, he said. The IG office conducted the audit from September 2003 through March. The report can be seen here.

The IRS followed up on most of TIGTA's recommendations.

IFS, a key project for the tax agency's Business Systems Modernization, is the new general ledger and accounting system based on financial management software from SAP America Inc. of Newtown Square, Pa. The agency missed previous release dates last October and April, but officials at IRS and lead Prime contractor Computer Sciences Corp. say IFS is now on track to roll out this October. [See GCN coverage here.]

CSC said it is making the final practice run this month to convert files from the legacy financial systems to IFS. It will start converting live files next month through the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30, as IRS conducts its annual accounting. The conversion process will continue into October as IRS closes its books. The IRS will produce its first monthly financial statement from the new system Nov. 10.

In addition to following the TIGTA recommendations, the IRS has assigned its CFO to the IFS project full time to increase executive level oversight. The agency also has negotiated a cost-sharing arrangement with CSC to balance financial risk and developed a detailed checklist and schedule. CSC has also bolstered its management team, the report said.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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