CIOs crucial to financial-management performance

Financial management isn’t just for chief financial officers anymore. Just ask Agency for International Development CFO Lisa Fiely, who recently helped roll out a new financial-management system for her agency at locations all over the world.

Although the CFOs are the experts in understanding the new system, the rollout would not have succeeded without constant interaction with her agency’s CIO.

“The collaboration and support we got from our CIO was tremendous,” Fiely said at a panel discussion Wednesday in Vienna, Va., hosted by the Industry Advisory Council. “They were right there with us.”

Other CFO experts at the panel agreed that as agencies modernize their financial management systems, they must reach out and collaborate with their CIO counterparts.

“That’s a theme we need to talk about—Do we have a CFO and CIO that work together?” said Adam Goldberg, financial integrity and analysis breach chief at the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Federal Financial Management.

Kathleen Turco, CFO at the General Services Administration, said that when her agency lost a clean audit opinion, she worked extensively with the CIO’s office to develop a plan to fix the agency’s financial-reporting problems.

This experience convinced Turco that every government CIO needs to understand the financial-management auditing cycle.

“It’s not just about the budget anymore,” she said. Audit cycles, essentially, last all year, “there’s no let up.”

Turco also said CIOs must be fluent in OMB Circular A-123, which implements financial controls for government agencies in the spirit of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act that directed private corporations to implement internal controls for financial reporting.

“We’re living and breathing it here at GSA,” she said.

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