GSA to award contract for evaluating financial shared-services providers

The General Services Administration will likely release in early 2008 a request for proposals to test and evaluate the capabilities of commercial shared-services providers, said Mary Mitchell, program manager for the Financial Management LIne of Business and executive director at GSA’s Financial Systems Integration Office.

GSA will use the testing strategies to assure that shared-services providers are capable of implementing financial management systems successfully and that the systems meet core and agency-defined requirements under the FM LOB consolidation initiative. Mitchell anticipates that GSA will publish the RFP during the first three months of next year. GSA has received comments on an information request and is analyzing those now, she said.

GSA also is closely watching the acquisition for commercial shared-services providers under the Human Resources Line of Business for lessons it can apply, Mitchell said at an industry event today sponsored by the Bethesda chapter of AFCEA.

“We are following the HRLOB acquisition closely and meeting with them regularly," she said, "in particular on the issue of how you tease out in the demonstration phase that these are real capabilities and that the team actually has the skills to handle complex financial systems.”

The long-term objective of FM LOB is to standardize core financial business processes and financial data. Agencies will adopt standard business processes as they migrate to new financial management systems.

Two business standards -- for payments and fund control -- have advanced to final OMB review, Mitchell said. GSA and the Financial Systems Integration Office recently released a governmentwide accounting approach.

Under FM LOB, agencies will compete their financial management systems among private and federal shared-services providers, which will provide information technology hosting, application management and system implementation services to agencies, according to GSA and Office of Management and Budget policy. Each shared-services provider will provide those services to multiple agencies using a common application to reduce the duplicative approaches currently used.

One of the four federal financial management shared-services providers, the Transportation Department, went live this week with its fourth customer, the Government Accountability Office, said Larry Neff, deputy chief financial officer. Transportation also provides financial management services for the National Endowment for the Arts, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Institute for Museum and Library Services. Three of its customers also use its accounting services.

Transportation updated its core financial system to the latest version of Oracle Federal Financials, which includes the capability to perform project accounting and produce financial statements overnight and on demand.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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