Eight agencies honored for accountability reports

The Association of Government Accountants will honor eight federal agencies Tuesday for excellence in accountability reporting.

The agencies, which include the General Accounting Office, the National Science Foundation and the State Department, submitted clear, comprehensive and timely fiscal 2001 accountability reports, according to AGA. The Sept. 17 award ceremony will also honor the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Social Security Administration and the Energy, Interior and Labor departments.

AGA established the Certificates of Excellence in Accountability Reports program in 1997 with OMB and the Chief Financial Officers Council to help agencies streamline their reports. Ten agencies participated in this year's program.

Federal agencies are required to submit annual financial reports and performance reports to the Office of Management and Budget and Congress. The 1990 Chief Financial Officers Act requires agencies to submit audited financial statements annually, while the 1993 Government Performance and Results Act requires agencies to submit annual performance plans and reports outlining how well they are meeting their missions. To improve efficiency, the Reports Consolidation Act of 2000 allows agencies to combine financial data and performance data into one report and submit it Congress and OMB within 150 days of the end of the fiscal year.

OMB has urged agencies to submit the consolidated accountability reports since 1997, and agencies will be required to do so beginning with their fiscal 2002 reports. This year, over half the agencies voluntarily incorporated their 2001 performance reports into the accountability reports they submitted to AGA.

According to AGA, agencies have made progress in accountability reporting over the last four years.

"In general, the agencies participating in the program are producing more comprehensive, more informative, and more readable documents. Most of the award recipients have been participating in the program over a number of years and have been making gradual improvements to their reports," said Lisa Thatcher, director of the Certificates of Excellence in Accountability Reports program at AGA.

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