Progress and Improvement in Financial Performance
Improved financial performance isn.t something that happens overnight. It takes time, preparation, and discipline.
Overall, the financial performance of the Federal government continues to improve as we increase visibility into the
performance of each agency and the entire federal government. Due to this visibility, the agencies continue to take their
fiscal position seriously and are making marked progress and improvement.
When I last reported, 18 of the 24 largest Federal agencies completed their combined FY 2003 Performance and Accountability
Reports. As of this date, all agencies have submitted their Accountability reports and agency audits are complete. All
agencies are working diligently to meet the FY 2004 performance standard to submit these reports by 45 days of the fiscal
year close. Not only are the agencies reviewing their existing processes for preparing audited financial statements, but
they're also looking at best practices from other agencies that met the FY 2004 reporting deadline a year early.
A number of agencies are poised to receive a performance status upgrade for Improved Financial Performance in the near
term. Equally encouraging is that agencies aren't stopping their improvement efforts once they achieve a Green status
rating. The Department of Education, National Science Foundation, Social Security Administration, and Environmental
Protection Agency are either committing to or expanding efforts to distribute and integrate financial data into management
decision making. And not only are these agencies finding meaningful ways to distribute financial data to agency personnel,
but they.re also finding ways to better present and report this same data to the taxpayer. In the February 2004
publication titled .E-Reporting: Strengthening Democratic Accountability,. the National Science Foundation, Environmental
Protection Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and Department of State were recognized for providing
consumer driven performance information. In fact, the National Science Foundation received an A+ rating.
With all of these achievements, we must also recognize that a considerable amount of work is yet to be completed. Efforts
to implement the Improper Payments Information Act of 2002 continue on schedule and are being closely monitored. At this
time, most agencies have completed compiling their program inventories, with the majority of the corresponding risk
assessments scheduled for completion by the end of May 2004. The goal is to have all milestones completed by September 30,
2004 to allow adequate time to report agency results in the 2004 Performance and Accountability Reports on November 15,
2004. Efforts surrounding the Improper Payments Information Act have received considerable government and media attention
this quarter. As we identify improper payments, we will communicate our achievements in eliminating them.
I opened by making the point that financial performance doesn.t improve instantaneously. That makes our achievements that
much more notable. I look forward to communicating additional progress as agencies continue to implement new financial
management systems, receive unqualified audit opinions, and eliminate improper payments in the coming quarters.