Benefits systems requirements drafted

Benefit System Requirements exposure draft

The government group working to improve federal financial management systems has published a draft document that details proposed requirements for benefits systems.

The Joint Financial Management Improvement Program (JFMIP) published its draft document detailing benefit systems requirements last month. It is one of a series of documents spelling out requirements for various aspects of federal financial management systems.

The benefits systems requirements document, which is available for comment until July 15, covers federal financial systems for benefits that are not health-care related. Such programs include retirement, disability and other income protection programs ranging from Social Security to the Thrift Savings Plan.

"The document addresses the goal of the Chief Financial Officers Council and the JFMIP to improve the efficiency and quality of financial management in the federal government," said Karen Alderman, JFMIP executive director, in the foreword to the draft.

The document is designed to assist agencies when developing new benefit systems and when improving or evaluating existing benefit systems. It defines the baseline functionality that benefit systems must have in order to support agency missions and comply with laws and regulations.

Under the Federal Financial Management Improvement Act of 1996, agencies must produce timely and reliable financial statements that illustrate their compliance with federal financial management systems requirements, federal accounting standards and the government standard general ledger.

Many agencies have improved their ability to balance their books, but auditors have expressed concerns that some agencies have to make Herculean efforts to produce a clean statement and have not yet made the required changes to their financial systems.

Rep. Stephen Horn (R-Calif.) earlier this year gave federal financial management a grade of C-minus.

The benefits systems requirements were formulated by an interagency task force led by Dennis Kordyak, acting deputy assistant secretary for management at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The full document is available online at JFMIP's Web site at www.jfmip.gov/jfmip.

About the Author

Christopher J. Dorobek is the co-anchor of Federal News Radio’s afternoon drive program, The Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, and the founder, publisher and editor of the DorobekInsider.com, a leading blog for the Federal IT community.

Dorobek joined Federal News Radio in 2008 with 16 years of experience covering government issues with an emphasis on government information technology. Prior to joining Federal News Radio, Dorobek was editor-in-chief of Federal Computer Week, the leading news magazine for government IT decision-makers and the flagship of the 1105 Government Information Group portfolio of publications. As editor-in-chief, Dorobek served as a member of the senior leadership team at 1105 Government Information Group, providing daily editorial direction and management for FCW magazine, FCW.com, Government Health IT and its other editorial products.

Dorobek joined FCW in 2001 as a senior reporter and assumed increasing responsibilities, becoming managing editor and executive editor before being named editor-in-chief in 2006. Prior to joining FCW, Dorobek was a technology reporter at PlanetGov.com, one of the first online community centers for current and former government employees. He also spent five years at Government Computer News, another leading industry publication, covering a variety of federal IT-related issues.

Dorobek is a frequent speaker on issues involving the government IT industry, and has appeared as a frequent contributor to NewsChannel 8’s Federal News Today program. He began his career as a reporter at the Foster’s Daily Democrat, a daily newspaper in Dover, N.H. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California. He lives in Washington, DC.


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