The government “has made great strides to advance effective financial management” in the 30 years since the CFO Act was enacted but “many agencies are still working to implement core elements” of that law and it “has not been updated to keep pace with technology-driven change and an evolving workforce,” says a report from the Partnership for Public Service and the Deloitte firm.
Progress made under the law includes that agencies have established policies for a politically appointed CFO and a career deputy CFO; a government-wide controller position as well as a deputy director for management was created in OMB; “financial management standards and internal controls were put in place, the quality and timeliness of financial reporting improved, and agencies made progress toward modernizing their financial management systems,” it said.
One area of change since the law’s enactment, it said, involves the roughly 100,000 federal employees involved in financial management. Given changes in technology and the proliferation of data since then, the skills and competencies required at the time no longer are sufficient, meaning that agencies need to identify what is now needed, retrain current staff and effectively recruit and retain in fields such as data science.
It also said that improvement also is needed in the integrity of payments and the quality of reporting and collaboration across agencies and management functions.
It further recommended that agencies “establish long-term plans in an effort to ensure that the workforce has the skills to meet financial management’s evolving needs” and that CFOs “seek out other management function leaders for strategic collaboration and other essential activities.”