JFMIP pushes standardization

The federal government's drive to have a standardized finance and accounting system took another step forward earlier this month when the Joint Financial Management Improvement Program (JFMIP) office released its latest requirements document.

The JFMIP Inventory, Supplies and Materials System Requirements document brings together the common financial information requirements necessary in systems to support the logistics management process.

"This document is designed for systems designers to give them their essential requirements for logistics," said Elvon Lloyd, a Defense Department liaison to JFMIP who worked on the document. "Before this document, the systems requirements were not laid out well and designers had to guess" if they were complying with JFMIP regulations.

The document is one of a series of functional systems documents published by JFMIP that deal with federal financial management systems. The first, Core Financial System Requirements, was published in January 1988. The program also published the Framework for Federal Financial Management Systems in January 1995.

"Inventory, Supplies and Materials System Requirements addresses the shared information requirements between federal financial and inventory systems," Karen Cleary Alderman, JFMIP executive director, wrote in the document's foreword. "The functionality to support the requirements identified in this document does not necessarily reside in a single software application or functional system. In fact, the information may reside in a number of applications or systems, whether automated or manual."

JFMIP is the governmentwide organization responsible for setting standards for agencies' financial management systems. It includes the General Accounting Office, the Office of Management and Budget and the Treasury Department. Since the program's founding, OMB has mandated that federal agencies comply with JFMIP standards to ensure sound financial practices and reporting.

The new document will help systems designers specify what is in their inventory systems. The document specifically covers three areas:

* Inventory held for sale by the federal government.

* Inventory used within the federal government.

* Stockpiled materials such as oil and gas.

Robin Quindlan, deputy director of systems interoperability for DOD, led the project. Quindlan was chosen to lead the effort because the department accounts for about 95 percent of the inventory held in the federal government.

"DOD has the vast, overwhelming majority of inventory in government," Lloyd said. "When you take into account all of the spare parts they have, and everything else that keeps the services supplied, it's huge."

The National Institutes of Health, under the Department of Health and Human Services, accounts for a large portion of the remaining inventory, as does Treasury with the U.S. Mint, he said.

In fiscal 2002, the federal government reported more than $183 billion in inventory.

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