Road map supports expanding CFO roles

The Council for Excellence in Government has provided a compilation of required and emerging decision-making responsibilities of federal financial management executives.

Federal chief financial officers might find that they have more opportunity to participate in decision-making in the next administration as agencies look for ways to deal with new budget constraints and skilled workforce shortages, according to a report released Nov. 13 by the Council for Excellence in Government.

The council, a government reform and performance organization, said it published the Federal CFO Roadmap for current and incoming CFOs to give them a common starting point to understand their required duties in financial management and how their roles and responsibilities are evolving.

The publication examines the evolution of the federal CFO’s role. Traditionally, CFOs primarily have focused on ensuring agencies comply with financial management requirements. But the publication explores how CFOs can get more involved in decisions about managing agencies programs. The council produced the road map with BearingPoint and under the direction of the council’s Strategic Advisors to Government Executives (SAGE) community, which brings together current and former federal CFOs and other senior financial management leaders.

As the year progresses, officials with the new administration will be focused on determining top priorities at each agency, said Patricia Healy, former deputy CFO at the Agriculture Department and now with CGI and chairwoman of the CFO SAGE community.

“With agencies relying more and more on federal CFOs to help guide decision-making and provide transparency to Congress and the public, there is a real opportunity for the CFO to be a key player during this transition period and beyond,” she said.

In the 18 years since passage of the CFO Act, which required that major agencies have a CFO and established their core responsibilities, CFO’s have migrated “from the back office to the front office” at agencies, said Vincent Dennis, former deputy director of the National Reconnaissance’s Office for Business Plans and Operation and now with BearingPoint and a CFO SAGE.


The road map brings attention to that development and offers insight how CFOs can continue to lead on major agency management initiatives, he said.

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