The National Aeronautics and Space Administration could
strengthen its ability to manage highly complex programs by
addressing some long-standing financial management problems,
the General Accounting Office has said.
It said the problems stem from the agency’s lack of accurate
and reliable information on contract spending.
NASA agreed that it should integrate its financial
management operations with its program management
decision-making process, lest it address symptoms rather
than underlying causes.
GAO cited an agency culture that has not fully a
cknowledged the nature and extent of its financial
management difficulties and that does not link financial
management to program implications.
In April 2003 it reported that NASA designed and implemented
the new financial management system’s core financial module
without involving key stakeholders, including program
managers, cost estimators, and the Congress.
That new system did not provide key external reporting
capabilities and GAO reported in November 2003 that the
system would not generate complete and accurate property
and budgetary data.
Broadly speaking, NASA needs to transform its financial
management organization into a customer-focused partner
in seeking program results, which requires sustained top
leadership attention combined with effective
organizational alignment, strategic human capital
management, and end-to-end business process improvement.