OMB highlights report card of clean audits

For the first time in two decades, independent auditors said financial books were in order at 23 of 24 applicable federal agencies, the Office of Management and Budget announced Friday.

The Pentagon is now the only department whose finances continued to warrant a disclaimer, while the State and Homeland Security departments have progressed to "qualified" ratings. All others, according to OMB's list, now are "clean."

"These results are not just about numbers on a ledger," Controller Danny Werfel wrote in an OMB blog post. "They are about this administration's commitment to watching every dollar that goes out the door and making sure that we have the proper controls, practices and safeguards in place on those dollars."

Since passage of the 1990 Chief Financial Officers Act, major agencies have been required to produce audited financial statements. The Pentagon, in particular, has struggled to make progress toward a congressional deadline of auditability by 2017.

"Most notable was the progress made at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Department of Homeland Security," Werfel said. "For several years, NASA has worked to remedy challenges they faced reporting certain unique assets, such as space exploration equipment. This year, their efforts paid off and they moved from a position where the auditors could not express an opinion on their financial statements to a clean opinion. DHS was also able to make progress."

Improvements at Defense, according to Werfel, are visible in Secretary Leon Panetta's recent vow to accelerate the deadline for auditability to 2014. He added that the Pentagon is improving the information it uses to manage mission-critical assets, has added resources dedicated to obtaining auditable financial statements and has "established a strong, visible governance structure."

Robert Shea, a principal at the firm Grant Thornton LLP who was associate director at OMB during the George W. Bush administration, said, "The only thing that's changed is that DHS moved from a disclaimer to qualified so that it now can issue an opinion. It's always an achievement to get clean opinions about complex government agencies," Shea said. "But we've done it for successive years. The 800-pound gorilla remains the Defense Department. Until progress is made there, it won't materially change what we know about the finances of the federal government."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.