Interior's shared-services center takes on double duty

The Interior Department's National Business Center (NBC) will soon undertake financial management of and human resources support for the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board -- a rare responsibility given to one federal shared-services center.

In the two years since the Office of Management and Budget announced an initiative to consolidate agencies’ financial management systems, there has been little indication of progress. Congress recently questioned the risks involved in continuing the project and whether completion is feasible.

As called for in the President’s Management Agenda, the government intends for many financial management operations to be concentrated in shared-services centers, where one service provider handles back-office functions for several agencies to save money. OMB wants any department planning an update to its financial management system to consider using one of the shared-service providers or a commercial one, instead of conducting operations internally.

The board will migrate to NBC’s Oracle financial accounting system, a shared enterprise resource planning application. NBC will process collections, manage vendor and travel voucher payments, and generate the Standard Form-224 Treasury statement of transactions for the board.

NBC offers agencies a choice of several financial management ERP applications, including Oracle Federal Financials, CGI Momentum and soon SAP’s financial system.

NBC’s human resources shared-service center had already been helping the board. Next, the board will transition to NBC’s Federal Personnel Payroll System and Web-based time and attendance system, Quicktime.

NBC expects to take over financial management services for the board and transition the agency to the new human resources systems in midsummer.

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