The Chief Financial Officers (CFO) Act of 1990 establishes the legal framework for improved Federal financial management. The Act provides senior officials with clear responsibilities and requirements in key financial management areas, including leadership, organization, and reporting. The Act requires agency CFOs to prepare, and annually revise, a plan to implement the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Federal Financial Management Status Report and Five-Year Plan. This report outlines plans to fulfill that requirement while, at the same time, helping the Department accomplish Priority 4 in its Strategic Plan--to transform the U.S. Department of Education into a high-performance organization.
One of the objectives under Priority 4 states that ED will increase accountability through performance measures, improved financial management and evaluation. In support of that objective, members of ED's Financial Management Quality Implementation Team annually review and update ED's Financial Management Strategic Plan. The plan's objective is to promote accountability through improved financial management. The Department has also published for the first time an annual Accountability Report for fiscal year 1995 which tells the Education story--our history, current mission, priorities and progress. The report highlights our program and financial accomplishments and describes our future efforts to constantly improve how we serve our customers. The first ever Department-wide financial statements are a central part of this report.
This report focuses on the four visions articulated in the Financial Management Strategic Plan: an integrated financial management system; strong internal financial management partnerships; strong external partnerships; and a well trained and accountable workforce. It reviews accomplishments and provides a blueprint for continuing improvement in financial management at ED. The following are a few highlights:
A department-wide financial management strategic planning process is fully in place;
A project is underway to improve financial management training department-wide;
Education's Central Automated Processing System (EDCAPS) project is proceeding with significant department-wide support;
Streamlined procedures have been developed for drawing Education funds that will provide more accurate and timely financial information to community partners nationwide;
ED's Cooperative Audit Resolution and Oversight Initiative (a recent winner of the Vice President's Hammer Award) is creating effective partnerships among Department officials, auditors, State and local officials through a paradigm shift in audit follow-up;
Projects to improve cash management and accounts receivable processes are progressing;
FY '95 audited financial statements have been issued covering the entire Department. The statements are included in our newly designed FY '95 Accountability Report--a corporate style annual report;
Automated payments are being made for the Direct Loan Program and the financial closeout of grant funds has been automated;
Customer service improvements such as automated FEDWIRE requests, the Payment Account Query System, and the Monthly Electronic Expenditure Reporting System are ongoing; and
Program office access to financial management data is being expanded so that program staff can more effectively serve their clients.