PMA fuels improved financial management: OMB

Agencies are improving their financial management so that they have timely and accurate information available to make decisions about program management.

Agencies also have speeded up completion of financial statements, accomplished more clean audits and strengthened internal controls, the Office of Management and Budget said in a new report released yesterday that coincided with the latest results of the President's Management Agenda.

'An agency's ability to produce timely and accurate information is rooted in the quality of its internal processes and internal controls. The PMA has changed the paradigm for financial reporting and ushered in a new level of financial accountability,' said Linda Combs, OMB Controller and director of the Office of Federal Financial Management.

Every major agency completed its year-end financial statement in the accelerated time frame by Nov. 15. Agencies now have 45 days from the end of the fiscal year in which to report. Before the Bush administration stepped up reporting requirements, agencies took up to five months to complete financial statements.

By Sept. 30, agencies must assure that they have in place a rigorous process for evaluating the effectiveness of internal controls over financial reporting under OMB's revised Circular A-123. OMB will incorporate milestones this year to accomplish this as part of the financial performance scorecard for the President's Management Agenda.

Last year 19 agencies earned unqualified clean audits, meaning the agencies provided the documentation on which they based their financial statements, which present the agency's financial position, results of operations, cash flows and compliance with regulations. The improved financial reporting and accountability led to fewer major financial weaknesses, the report said.

Over the next five years, Combs envisions agencies increasingly achieving first-class financial management practices, including:
  • Clean audits for all agencies' financial statements

  • First-ever clean audit for the governmentwide financial statement

  • Routine use of timely and accurate financial data in daily decisions and operations
  • and
  • Increased number of dependable and sound financial systems.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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