Financial software put to test

Joint Financial Management Improvement Program

Aiming to improve commercial financial management software, a governmentwide organization has come out with an improved version of the test used to determine if vendors can sell their wares to the federal agencies. The Joint Financial Management Improvement Program recently completed the new evaluation test that is used to measure how commercial software meets the government's financial software requirements.

The certification test is an essential piece of the overall effort to urge agencies to use commercial software and move away from government-designed systems. The test enables vendors to get the certification that allows them to sell their commercial financial management systems to federal agencies.

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. JFMIP completed the system requirements earlier this year, and it has now completed the test that will be used to evaluate those requirements.

The new test is more robust than the initial one, said Stephen Balsam, a JFMIP staff member. The initial test incorporated about 500 transactions, the results of which people had to check. The new test is more automated and requires vendors to run more than 1,500 transactions, he said.

The test and the requirements documents are designed to provide vendors with a set of base guidelines for government agencies. Agencies must test the systems further for any unique requirements, Balsam said Oct. 1 during a JFMIP forum in Washington, D.C.

The test is the first large-scale update in three years. Financial management products that passed the original test were given three-year certifications. Those certifications are set to expire.

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, 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,, 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, 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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