10:48 am, April 19, 2014

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  • 4

  • wow
    "Federal chief financial officers were responsible for $1.2 trillion in federal spending in 1990. Now it's $3.8 trillion" these are numbers that should be reserved only for astronomers
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  • CFO Act little Value
    After 36 years in federal financial management at 3 federal agencies, experienced Feds need to speak up about how ineffective the CFO Act really is. At two of the federal agencies I worked at, both CFO positions were never staffed by financial professionals, just former program executives that only cared about one thing - clean audit opinions. Ver interesting since not a single financial decision was made based on financial statement data. All such decisions were made based on budgetary data. It would be most revealing to find out how much money has been wasted putting useless annual financial statements together, auditing them, resolving unimportant and petty audit findings, and publishing useless Performance and Accountability Reports. Does anyone really believe the general public is aware of these wastes of their tax dollars? Does it really matter if an agency can complete an audit in 45 days? Much of the CFO Act requirements comes from rules imposed on private sector companies. The only thing is that the Federal government does not operate like the private sector nor it ever. Private sector companies have to turn a profit, need I say more. I could go on and on about what a colossal waste of money has resulted from the CFO Act but it would take a book. For now, lets just refer to it as the Full Employment for Auditors Act.
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  • RTDFed has it right
    Christopher Hanks
    Given what's been spent, and what will be spent, attempting to produce balance sheets and income statements for DOD as required by the CFO Act, it would be useful if someone in Congress would call on the GAO to do a cost-benefit analysis of the effort. GAO might have some trouble doing that seeing as how the GAO itself had a very strong hand in the writing of the CFO Act 23 years aga and has been pounding the table ever since on how "important" it is for the DOD to achieve "full compliance" with the Act. It would be a nice test of GAO's to be truly objective and independent, if the Congress were to ask them to do that. In 1969, so almost 45 years ago, in a hearing before the Senate Government Operations Committee, Senator Alan Cranston of California (a former State Comptroller) expressed his view about the wisdom of letting GAO recommend programs to Congress and then evaluate them: “The fundamental point is if they (GAO) make a recommendation and it is adopted by Congress, they, then, have a sort of vested interest in that particular program, and their independence and their ability to judge is somewhat impaired, and, I think, less reliable.”
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  • Is Mr. Mazur right?
    Christopher Hanks
    It's good to know Mr. Mazur is confident that the FASAB is operating as a truly independent body setting accrual accounting standards for the federal government. Perhaps Mr. Mazur can explain, therefore, why the FASAB has decided that future liabilities associated with the Social Security and Medicare programs do NOT need to be included on the balance sheet of the federal government, but rather need only be reported on a separate report called the "Statement of Social Insurance" (SOSI) -- a report that most people have never heard of, much less paid attention to. The history of the FASAB's deliberations on this matter is documented on the FASAB website -- for example, see http://www.fasab.gov/pdffiles/sffas_37final.pdf for example. There readers will learn that: "The key difference among members is in regard to the timing of the recognition of expense and liability for social insurance programs. Some members believe that an expense is incurred and a liability arises for social insurance programs during the working lives of participants, and that some portion of the benefits accumulated at the balance sheet date should be recognized as a liability. Other members agree with Statement of Federal Financial Accounting Standards (SFFAS) 17, Accounting for Social Insurance, that an expense is incurred and a liability arises for social insurance programs when the participants have met all eligibility requirements and the amount is “due and payable.” In other words, some FASAB members (the public members - surprise) believe future liabilities for Social Security and Medicare should be included on the government's balance sheet regardless of the age of the beneficiaries (in the same way that future pension and health-benefit liabilities are reported on private-sector balance sheets), while the other members (the government members - surprise) think only the liabilities associated with beneficiaries reaching SSI and Medicare eligibility age in the current period need to be reported on the Balance Sheet. I'm sure that the massive future liabilities associated with the SSI and Medicare programs have nothing to do with the fact that the FASAB government members' decision to vote against doing what the FASAB public members consider to be standard, conventional accrual-based accounting on these matters.
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