Letter from Linda M. Springer . January 2005
As recently as ten years ago, CFO Act agencies were not required to issue audited year-end financial statements. Since then, agencies have been
engaged in a process of catching up to long-established private sector practices of financial reporting.
On November 15, 2004, a record 22 of the 23 CFO Act agencies completed their Performance and Accountability Reports - just 45 days after the end of
the fiscal year. Before the Administration came to office, these agencies took as long as five months to complete their financial reports. 18 of the
23 agencies received unqualified opinions in an environment of increased audit rigor, as well as substantially improved timeliness.
The issuance of the consolidated Financial Report of the United States Government was also accelerated to December 15, 2004 - one month after the
standalone agency reports were issued. This compares to a release date of late February 2004 for the fiscal year 2003 report.
With this year.s successful effort, the public and Congress have information in a more timely manner to assess how well an agency is meeting its
mission. The American taxpayer can now readily access information showing them how their tax dollars are used much sooner than before.
Federal agencies implemented the requirements of the Improper Payments Information Act (IPIA) of 2002 for the first time. Reporting required by
the IPIA was captured in a common format in each agency.s Performance and Accountability Report.
This year.s efforts provide the necessary baseline from which short and long-term program payment accuracy improvement strategies will be
established. Agencies are now expanding sampling and rate development to all risk susceptible programs while continuing their efforts to reduce and
ultimately eliminate improper payments. Beginning with this quarter, these efforts are being tracked in a new PMA program initiative.
The Department of Commerce and the State Department achieved green status in the Improved Financial Performance Initiative during this quarter.
Both agencies have used a combination of process and system improvements to reach this important milestone. We congratulate them for their leadership
in the Federal financial management community.
Linda M. Springer