Letter from the Chief Financial Officer

2021 AFR Header Image
Gerard Badorrek Chief Financial Officer

Introduction

On behalf of the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), I am pleased to provide the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Agency Financial Report (AFR). The AFR represents the culmination of our financial management community's efforts to accurately track and disclose GSA's financial status, and to ensure that the agency continues to act as a good steward of public funds.

Thank you to all of GSA's financial services personnel for their dedication, diligence, and excellent work in compiling this report, as well as staff from across GSA who partner with the Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO) to assure GSA-wide accountability and transparency.

OCFO faced significant headwinds in FY 2021 including adapting to a mandatory telework environment, reprioritizing strategic initiatives to support the agency's business lines, and ensuring a collaborative, engaged workforce in the face of a national pandemic.

I am proud of the agility and flexibility demonstrated by our leadership and staff in OCFO. Despite the once in a generation challenges posed by COVID-19, FY 2021 was still a year of great achievement and significant strategic value for GSA.

Audit and Compliance

In FY 2021, GSA's independent auditors identified no material weaknesses in their annual audit of GSA's financial statements. In addition, the auditors did not identify any instances in which GSA's financial management systems did not substantially comply with the requirements of the Federal Financial Management Improvement Act of 1996, and there was no reportable non-compliance with provisions of laws tested for FY 2021.

GSA followed our established procedures for remediation of audit and noncompliance issues. GSA developed a corrective action plan for each FY 2020 audit finding, and assigned it to a senior accountable official. As a result, all corrective actions plans were implemented and all FY 2020 control deficiencies were resolved during the year.

GSA's independent auditors identified two significant deficiencies. The first significant deficiency pertains to information technology access, segregation of duties, and configuration controls. The auditors identified some employees were granted incompatible system access roles and several employees retained access to internal systems after leaving GSA. Also, controls over change and configuration management that establish procedures to properly authorize, test, and approve hardware, software, and firmware programs were not consistently used.

The second significant deficiency relates to management's review controls over undelivered order balances. As part of its business operations, GSA incurs obligations and outlays. Obligations are legally binding agreements that will result in an outlay. GSA monitors this balance to ensure adequate funding is available for its operations and its financial statements are accurately reported. GSA did not record a reversing entry, which resulted in an overstatement of obligations incurred and an understatement of unobligated balances.

FY 2021 Key Accomplishments

Rapid-Response COVID-19 Planning Support

OCFO's unique position at the intersection of GSA finance, performance, and budget made it a critical partner for agency leadership in responding to the unprecedented management and operational challenges posed by COVID-19. Each year, OCFO establishes a set of cultural values. In FY 2021, the cultural values were critical thinking, innovation, and relentless pursuit of values. These values were evident across all areas and were particularly apparent in OCFO's support to GSA's COVID-19 response, which included:

  1. Developing automated tools for employees to report work locations and provide agency leadership with daily information on staff disposition. This automation and attendant executive reporting was rolled out by OCFO's Robotics Team in just a few weeks at the start of the mandatory telework order and has been a critical part of ensuring: the health and safety of the workforce, COVID exposure notifications, incident response, and reentry planning.
  2. Partnering with GSA IT to provide advanced data analytics, including the creation of an automated tool to map COVID-19 infection rates across the country and compare identified trends against GSA occupancy levels within Federal duty stations.
  3. Leading financial oversight and reporting for the execution of millions of dollars in new funding from the CARES Act (P.L. 116-136, 134 Stat. 281), developing new reporting and tracking capabilities to identify COVID-19 funding obligations and labor costs, and executing COVID payment reconciliations, lease amendments, and one type payments.

Customer-Centric Budget and Performance Advisory Support

OCFO's mandate is to drive value and improved performance across GSA and to serve our business line partners as informed financial advisors. An important part of this mandate is providing tailored budgeting and financial performance tools to the Public Buildings Service (PBS) and the Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) to enable their critical cross-government missions.

In FY 2021, OCFO led a modernization project to innovate and improve the Personnel, Compensation, and Benefits (PC&B) system for PBS. The replacement system consolidates both human resource staffing actions and funding requirements into a consolidated platform, enhancing the ability of PBS leadership to monitor costs, evaluate execution, resource critical initiatives, and forecast future funding requirements.

OCFO also created a new tool to provide accessible and automated data displays to enable FAS to view, analyze, and download key monthly FAS financial data (budget and operating results). By consolidating and standardizing data in a streamlined platform, the solution will save significant workload for OCFO and FAS analysts, provide a single source of truth for financial data, and instill the use of accurate, real-time intelligence into FAS financial decision making.

Development of the Draft FY 2022-26 Agency Strategic Plan

In FY 2021, the OCFO led the development of GSA's FY 2022-26 Agency Strategic Plan and associated Agency Priority Goals and Annual Performance Plan. This required engagement with new and existing leaders to ensure that the plan is reflective of, and ambitious in articulating and driving achievement of, agency and administration priorities.

The proposed plan outlines fundamental strategies for delivering real estate, acquisition, and technology services to the Government and the American people. The OCFO led strategic discussions with the Administrator and Deputy Administrator, Heads of Services and Staff Offices, and key program leaders, to define its strategic objectives and propose many new metrics that will enable the agency to drive and measure success over the coming years.

Agency-Wide Leadership in the Adoption of Emerging Automation Technologies

FY 2021 was a year of great success for OCFO's Federal-leading workload automation program, including achieving the important milestone of 101 automations deployed across the agency since the inception of the RPA Program. Perhaps equally critical, the team now has a Robotic Process Automation (RPA) application running in FAS, PBS, and the majority of Staff Offices within GSA. The successful scaling and cross-agency rollout of RPA solutions has created an "automation first" mindset in many organizations and offices, dramatically increasing operational efficiency.

The RPA applications deployed saved workload hours, decreased process throughput times, and increased accuracy and quality. From a qualitative perspective, the OCFO is also proud of the impact the Automation Program has had in improving employee experience, engagement, and satisfaction, particularly in a year where COVID-19 stressed all of these critical workforce factors. As GSA employees and leaders continue to support additional adoption of emerging automation technologies, the OCFO will support GSA's continued work to optimize processes and create capacity to address new or changing requirements and value-add work.

Sharing Best Practices and Proven Approaches GSA-Wide and Across Government

OCFO founded an Analytics Community of Practice (A-CoP) in FY 2021 to promote increased data literacy, the adoption of modern analytics tools, business data integration, and more robust critical thinking skills. In the first 6 months since its launch within OCFO, the A-CoP has held 10 community meetings, 5 showcase events, 4 training sessions, and rapidly grown to over 200 OCFO members. As the A-CoP continues to expand and scale its operations, it will leverage events like the recent Datathon, which challenged cross-functional OCFO teams to consider the future Federal real estate footprint, to drive more insightful and thoughtful conversations about GSA's strategic challenges, and to identify methods for infusing key priorities with data analytics. In addition to providing value- add analysis, the A-CoP has been an excellent way to promote engagement, enable cross- functional relationship-building, and generate motivation and excitement.

In FY 2021, OCFO continued its leadership of the Federal RPA Community of Practice (RPA CoP). RPA CoP membership grew to over 1,200 Federal employees representing over 100 departments and agencies. During the mandatory telework period, the RPA CoP accelerated its knowledge sharing events, achieving a total attendance of over 5,000 at 25 webinars.

Conclusion

In these unprecedented times, the OCFO workforce demonstrated its continued agility and flexibility, while advancing GSA's culture of strong financial transparency and management. Based on the results of the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, in June of 2021, the Partnership for Public Service identified OCFO as the top financial organization in the 2020 Best Places to Work in the Federal Government Survey and #19 out of all 411 agency subcomponents assessed. With notable achievements in audit & compliance, budget and performance advisory support, and the adoption of automation technologies, FY 2021 was a year of significant achievement for OCFO.

Kind regards,

Gerard Badorrek signature

Gerard E. Badorrek
Chief Financial Officer
November 12, 2021

Last Reviewed: 2021-12-07