Improving Financial Management


In May, we brought together a group of approximately 54 individual stakeholders for a Future Search Conference. This two-day event examined federal financial management in the past, present, and future. The attendees consisted of chief financial officers, deputy chief financial officers, assistant inspector generals, line managers, staff members of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee and House Government Operations Committee, along with representatives from Office of Management and Budget (OMB), General Accounting Office, state and local government, the private sector, and academia. This group helped us to begin developing our issues for the National Performance Review (NPR). Later in the NPR process, the group reconvened for follow-up sessions to review NPR draft papers and address changes needed in the federal financial community's culture.

At the direction of the Vice President, we held additional special decisionmaking sessions for two of our issues: (1) Clarify the Financial Management Roles Between OMB and Treasury and (2) Manage Fixed Assets in the Long Term. A mini-conference was held to clarify the OMB and Treasury roles for financial policies and procedures. Selected individuals from OMB, Treasury, and several other agencies were brought together to resolve this issue. The second issue was resolved by multiple working sessions, which were held with representatives from OMB, General Services Administration, and our team to address the ways in which the government budgets and accounts for fixed assets.

We sought and obtained the views of the private sector. In addition to representatives from the Private Sector Council and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants attending our future search conference, the Financial Executives Institute (FEI) held two roundtable discussions about federal financial management. The discussions provided the NPR with the viewpoints and concerns of private sector financial managers.

Our outreach efforts also included presentations to the Association of Government Accountants, the Federal Executive Institute Alumni Association, the Federal Financial Managers Council, and meetings with many federal managers and executives. Individuals at the conferences were provided with fax sheets to report financial management problems and solutions and success and horror stories to us. We received over 85 replies.

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