23 of 24 agencies get financial audit opinions

Monday - 11/21/2011, 3:11pm EST

Every civilian agency has improved their financial management to get at least a qualified opinion from auditors.

The Office of Management and Budget announced Friday the results of the fiscal 2011 financial audits with the Homeland Security Department and NASA improving how they manage their books.

"For several years, NASA has worked to remedy challenges they faced reporting certain unique assets, such as space exploration equipment," wrote Danny Werfel, OMB's controller, on a blog post. "This year, their efforts paid off and they moved from a position where the auditors could not express an opinion on their financial statements to a clean opinion. DHS was also able to make progress, moving from a similar position where they could not get an opinion to now receiving a qualified opinion."

Only the Defense Department received a disclaimer decision by auditors. DoD established a goal to get to full financial auditability by 2017. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta also wants the military's Financial Improvement and Audit Readiness plan to incorporate a new requirement that the department's statement of budgetary resources (SBR) — one piece of the audit pie — be ready for an audit no later than 2014.

"To achieve this goal, DOD has established a path forward that focuses on improving the information the agency uses most in order to manage mission critical assets," Werfel wrote. "In addition, DOD has increased its resources that are dedicated to obtaining auditable financial statements and has established a strong, visible governance structure ─ key steps that will enable success for the agency."

Along with DHS, the State Department received a qualified opinion. The other 21 agencies received clean opinions.

"And today, I am pleased to announce that — for the first time since the passage of the Chief Financial Officers (CFO) Act over 20 years ago — 23 of the 24 applicable agencies obtained an opinion from the independent auditors on their financial statements," Werfel said. "These results are not just about numbers on a ledger. They are about this administration's commitment to watching every dollar that goes out the door and making sure that we have the proper controls, practices, and safeguards in place on those dollars. And although this effort is an ongoing challenge, we are excited that we continue to make progress on improving financial reporting and internal controls."

Werfel is leading an effort across the CFO community to improve certain aspects of the 20-year-old CFO Act.

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