Accounting for projects becomes a challenge

The most pressing emerging issue for government financial managers implementing

new technology is how to perform good project management, according to a

survey of federal chief financial officers released last week.

The shortage of skilled workers within government and the trend toward

outsourcing technology projects make it difficult to actively manage programs.

However, one CFO interviewed for the report — the Millennium Association

of Government Accountants CFO Survey — suggested that lower-level "techies"

will mature into project managers.

CFOs also noted the need for independent verification and validation

in systems implementation, particularly because of the shortage of skilled

workers and reliance on contractors for sophisticated technology development

and deployment.

Respondents also said technology is a good means to centralize financial

activities, such as using online chat rooms or videoconferencing for audit

settlements.

The survey, produced by the AGA and Grant Thornton LLP, was unveiled

July 6 at the annual AGA Professional Development Conference and Exposition

in San Francisco. A companion report, Millennium AGA Oversight Survey, focuses

on communications between CFOs and inspectors general.

For 2001, both reports will focus on electronic government and begin

by asking federal CFOs and IGs what electronic government means to them.

The 2001 reports will look specifically at how e-government will impact

financial operations, both on the back end and in providing public services,

as well as its implications on agency audits.

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