Letter from the Acting Chief Financial Officer
I am pleased to present the fiscal year (FY) 2012 financial statements for the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA).
In FY 2012, GSA took steps to reposition itself as a more effective steward of taxpayer money and to provide more value to its customer agencies across the federal government. The acting administrator, who arrived at GSA on April 2, 2012, began this process by conducting an exacting top to bottom review of every GSA office. This review examined the agency’s organizational structure, business practices, and culture, while also working to develop new strategies for meeting the agency’s statutory mission.
One major step taken to transform GSA was the consolidation of financial management functions across the agency. All budget, finance, accounting, and internal control functions and employees in the Public Buildings Service, the Federal Acquisition Service, and GSA’s 11 Regional Offices were transferred to the Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO). This new financial organization centralizes in the OCFO the accountability, responsibility, and authority for all financial policy and operations in the agency. It will also promote better transparency and reporting of GSA’s financial decisions, and allows for an expanded and more rigorous internal control program across the agency. The change will also save the agency money by eliminating duplicative activities and standardizing operating procedures in offices across the country.
The initial work related to this reorganization is complete, but additional analysis and alignment are required to refine and improve the new OCFO organization. These activities will continue to be a priority in the next fiscal cycle. In addition to the consolidation of all financial activities, GSA took a number of other actions in the latter half of FY 2012 to re-enforce financial controls and to improve fiscal discipline, including:
- Dramatically cutting agency spending on travel and conferences – including cancelling 47 conferences – and instituting new, centralized reviews and approvals for all employee travel and GSA-hosted conferences.
- Restricting the use of recruitment, relocation, and retention bonuses, as well as other employee incentives and special pay, and instituting a new requirement that both the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and the Chief People Officer must approve any special pay in the agency.
- Instituting a more rigorous budget formulation process to increase the CFO’s central budgetary control across the agency by at least one organizational level, and in most cases by two organizational levels.
- Instituting a senior level committee, co-chaired by the CFO and Chief Information Officer, to review and approve all IT spending transactions above $150,000, and to identify IT spending that is duplicative, inconsistent with policy, or not aligned with the agency’s strategic goals.
- Reducing the amount for the Senior Executive Service annual bonus pool by 85 percent for FY 2012 performance.
- Eliminating funding for all organizational performance awards (i.e., group awards) for FY 2012 performance, and eliminating peer recognition awards programs.
- Instituting agency-wide hiring controls that have reduced the agency’s hiring to approximately one tenth its traditional rate.
Based on an independent audit, GSA has received an unqualified “clean” audit opinion on its financial statements, representing the sixth consecutive clean opinion. The audit opinion reflects a financial operation that meets U.S. Department of the Treasury guidance, federal financial regulations, and generally accepted accounting principles.
I would like to thank the financial management professionals throughout GSA for their hard work and dedication over the last year. I am confident these employees will continue to seek ways to deliver more value to GSA’s customers and to improve the agency’s financial compliance, accountability, and transparency.
Acting Chief Financial Officer
November 8, 2012