DOT financial system misses mark

Inspector general finds that, after three years, the pilot system does not meet federal standards

DOT financial systems page

The Transportation Department has delayed rolling out its new commercial off-the-shelf financial management system to its agencies after an audit by the department's inspector general found that, after three years, the pilot still does not meet federal standards.

The department started testing its new financial management system, called Delphi, in 1998 with a pilot at the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). The system uses Oracle Corp.'s Federal Financials software.

DOT's Departmental Accounting and Financial Information System (DAFIS), which is still being used across the department, was designed in the 1980s, is expensive to maintain and no longer complies with the mandated requirements.

But after piloting the new system for three years and spending at least $26 million just for development, the FRA still cannot rely on Delphi for financial management. The shortcomings include a lack of access controls to prevent tampering with financial data and the inability to account for money spent in the previous fiscal year without resorting to major manual workarounds, according to the Aug. 7 IG report.

DOT already has set a goal to fix the problem of access to prior-year funds by Dec. 31, and other issues are also being addressed. But all of the problems taken together prompted the IG to recommend that the department delay rolling out the system to larger, more complex agencies such as the Federal Aviation Administration.

In a letter to the IG's office, DOT deputy chief financial officer David Kleinberg agreed on "the need for the essential functions of Oracle Federal Financials to be tested and operating before DOT agencies move into production." He said implementation has been discontinued until all of the problems at FRA are resolved.

DOT has no written agreement with Oracle or Computer Sciences Corp., the contractor leading the implementation, to fix the problems. But the department has not paid for anything on the implementation since July 23, according to the IG report.

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