Comments Sought on Accounting Software Standards

If you're interested in having a say in how accounting software is chosen and used in the federal government, here is your chance.

The federal government is seeking comments on a new document that explains the government's specifications for accounting software. The document has been prepared by the Joint Financial Management Improvement Program (JFMIP), a cooperative program of the Department of the Treasury, the General Accounting Office, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Office of Personnel Management.

JFMIP recently issued a new version of its Core Financial Systems Requirements document, which outlines the basic functionality that core financial systems must have in order to support agency missions and comply with laws and regulations.

Core financial systems support management of the general ledger, funds, payments, receipts, costs and reporting. All of these areas must be designed under JFMIP standards to support the preparation of agency budgets and annual financial statements as well as support management decision-making and reporting with timely, complete, reliable and consistent information.

An excerpt from the document:

"The Federal Government recognizes the importance of using state-of-the-art financial systems to support Government operations and to provide quality and timely financial and related information to program and financial managers. Congress enacted the CFO Act of 1990, GMRA, and FFMIA of 1996 to improve financial management, assign clearer responsibility for leadership to senior officials, and require new financial organizations, enhanced financial systems, and audited financial reporting.

"Improving Federal financial management systems is critical for financial and program managers. The improvements provide better information for decision-making, and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of services provided by the Federal Government. Proper financial management and reliable financial systems must provide for:

  • Accountability. Inform taxpayers, agency personnel, and the Congress, in terms they can readily understand, on how the Nation’s tax dollars are being spent, and that Federal assets are being protected.

  • Efficiency and Effectiveness. Provide efficient and effective service to the Federal agencies’ internal and external customers (e.g. general public, contractors, partnerships, state and local Governments, other Federal agencies/organizations, the military, and foreign governments).

  • Better Decision-Making. Provide agency heads, program managers, and the Congress with timely reports linking financial execution and program results."

JFMIP certifies software packages for federal use. Commercial software is tested against requirements laid out in the core requirements document.

JFMIP is specifically seeking input on 10 proposed changes to the document, including changes that make certain system requirements mandatory.

Comments should be sent by Aug. 20 to:

Joint Financial Management Improvement Program
Suite 430
1990 K Street N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20006
Attn: Core Financial System Requirements, Steve Balsam

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