Agency financial chiefs lukewarm on campaign against waste

larry1235/Shutterstock.com

Just a year after the White House launched its Campaign to Cut Waste, led by Vice President Joe Biden, federal chief financial officers express some worry that investment in the centralized effort may not pay off because it isn’t aligned with agency missions.

A survey of 300 CFOs and their workforces released Monday by the Association of Government Accountants and Grant Thornton LLP showed that 69 percent of respondents said their agencies had begun looking for ways to curb spending and economize, while 31 percent said they had not. Some 45 percent said they had gotten good results, while 19 had just started implementation.

“Many CFOs view the president’s Campaign to Cut Waste as fairly typical of a new administration,” the survey analysts wrote. “Every president has certain things that he wants to accomplish, and the campaign emphasizes making agencies accountable for the use of taxpayer dollars rather than reducing the deficit. The CFOs are concerned that the requirements of the campaign sometimes divert resources that could have been better deployed elsewhere. Moreover, CFOs contend the campaign did not strategically advance the mission of the agency and so offers little return on investment, but they nonetheless endeavored to implement the campaign in a professional manner.”

Rank-and-file workers surveyed expressed similar views, though they reported less involvement.

The survey highlighted the central role CFOs play during tough budget times, reporting, for example, a high participation rate in setting the agency’s primary goals as called for under the 2010 Government Performance and Results Modernization Act. Some 71 percent of CFOs interviewed and 69 percent responding online said they were involved in goal setting.

But most of the analysis dealt with the impact of budget cuts exacerbated by the weak global economy. “It is a vicious [cycle], as budget cuts drive staff cuts, which impact performance,” the analysis stated. “While every government executive bears some responsibility for the government’s response, CFOs have a leading role because they are functionally responsible for budgeting and performance management. Continuing budget cuts, pay freezes, late appropriations, the specter of sequester, trillion-dollar deficits, and public denigration of civil servants by the media and their elected representatives make the CFO’s job a difficult one.”

Srikant Sastry, managing partner of Grant Thornton’s Global Public Sector, said, “federal agencies may have less funding available to them, but they are getting no relief from the need to provide high-quality services for the American people.”

(Image via larry1235/Shutterstock.com)

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:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    Download
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    Download

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