Agencies count on federal financial managers

In the federal government, they wield spreadsheets, strive for \"clean audit opinions\", and are the first line of defense in accounting for the spending of tax...

By Max Cacas
Federal News Radio

Anyone in the federal financial management community already knows that FSIO stands for the Financial Systems Integration Office, based inside the General Services Administration. FSIO supports the work of the U.S. Chief Financial Officers (CFO) Council.

Together with the JFMIP, or “The Joint Financial Management Improvement Program”, they get together yearly for the annual Federal Financial Management Conference sponsored by the Department of the Treasury, the Government Accountability Office, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Office of Personnel Management.

The goal is to improve financial management policies and procedures in the federal government.

During yesterday’s conference, the CFOs and top government accountants heard from the government’s most senior accountant, Gene Dodaro, the Comptroller General of the United States, who talked about the challenging fiscal environment throughout government.

This community will be very important to making what will assuredly be very difficult decisions by policymakers across the government in the coming decade. These are very serious issues. We are on the cusp of some very significant challenges that will test our ability as a nation to set priorities, and our ability to be innovative and creative.

During his lunchtime keynote address, Dodaro said it will be up to federal financial managers to tackle such challenges as improper payments, which he says are conservatively valued to be worth up to $98 billion dollars per year, or closing the tax gap, which is worth approximately $290 billion per year.

Also addressing the lunchtime session at the FSIO conference was Mark Reger, the Chief Financial Officer of the Office of Personnel Management. He notes that the Obama Adminstration has set a faster pace for government, one that provides both challenges and opportunities for the federal financial management community.

“They have brought in some tremendous resources,” he said. “People with some outstanding thoughts and ideas, at a time when the economy is difficult. And so it is falling on us to improve government, provide transparency, provide services, and to make sure we can be more efficient at everything we do.”

The FSIO conference also took time to recognize the hard work and accomplishments of one of its own, presenting the Donald Scantlebury Award, named after a former chief accountant at the GAO, to Sheila Conley, Deputy Chief Financial Officer and Deputy Assistant Secretary with the Department of Health and Human Services. The award recognizes her work “in strengthening financial management throughout the federal government” in her career with OMB, and the State Department, as well as HHS.

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