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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Financial Management Plans and Reports


Bureau of Resource Management
Report
November 15, 2010

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Overview

Introduction

The Department of State’s financial activities operate in approximately 270 locations in 172 countries. We conduct business transactions in over 150 currencies and even more languages and cultures. Hundreds of financial and management professionals around the globe allocate, disburse and account for billions of dollars in annual appropriations, revenues and assets. Among the Department’s customers are 45 U.S. Government agencies in every corner of the world, served twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

The Bureau of Resource Management (RM) is headed by the Department’s Chief Financial Officer who serves as the corporate financial manager and strategic planner. RM has overall responsibility for the preparation and execution of the budget; management of financial systems, reporting and internal controls; management of global financial operations and services; directing the Department’s strategic planning and performance reporting efforts; administering interagency administrative support cost sharing related to overseas missions; and coordinating interagency resource planning efforts with the intelligence community. RM produces a number of essential documents including the Joint State/USAID Strategic Plan, Department Performance Plan, Agency Financial Report, Department Performance Report, A Citizen’s Guide to Foreign Affairs, Joint Summary of Performance and Financial Information, Executive Budget Summary, and the Congressional Budget Justification Document.

RM employs over 500 people around the globe, primarily in Washington, Charleston, South Carolina and Bangkok, Thailand. RM’s services to its customers are critical to carry out the Department’s mission effectively.

The RM management team and staff have a proven record of outstanding achievement as evidenced by (but not limited to):

  • Successful resourcing of all Secretarial-level priorities while simultaneously resolving a huge funding shortfall for current services;
  • Successful implementation of new financial management systems;
  • Successful implementation of a grading system to measure transparency and quality of budget requests for all interagency activities at post (ICASS);
  • Growth in requests for and use of the Post Support Unit as a centralized financial processing unit for overburdened post financial management staff; and
  • Implementation of Quality Management System under ISO 9001 standards and Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) frameworks for core financial operations and systems.
MISSION

To integrate strategic and performance planning, budgeting,and performance, and to secure the resources necessary to accomplish the Department of State’s mission.

The RM mission statement is incorporated into the Department’s strategic goal for Strengthening Consular and Management Capabilities. Pursuant to the CFO Act of 1990, this designation makes the CFO responsible for all financial management activities related to Department programs and operations. This overview relates to the CFO role and financial management responsibilities set forth under the CFO Act.

BUREAU OF RESOURCE MANAGEMENT GOAL STATEMENT

To establish world financial services, integrate budget, planning and performance, and ensure that all RM employees know they play a crucial role in the success of American foreign policy.

Performance measures for this goal include timely financial reporting, elimination of material weaknesses in internal control, the achievement of unqualified (“clean”) audit opinions, elimination of improper payments, and implementing financial systems and processes that meet Federal requirements. In addition to these, RM endeavors to consolidate and standardize financial operations, leverage best business practices and electronic technologies, and build a first-rate finance team.

FY 2010 Results

Providing World Class Customer Service.

Central to our vision of a premier, global financial system is the worldwide cadre of financial managers who rely on our financial systems to conduct the Department’s business and support bureau missions. It is critical our systems meet the needs of this diverse customer base. Product review groups have been instituted to better enable us to work with our customer base, identifying priorities for improvements to systems, associated business processes, and support mechanisms.

Implementing Financial Systems and Processes that Meet Federal Requirements.

In FY 2008, we stabilized the Global Financial Management System (GFMS) after its major conversion in FY 2007. Since the initial conversion to GFMS, the Bureau of Resource Management has implemented numerous software changes and enhancements across a wide array of systems including compensation, reporting and management information, and accounting and logistics. In FY 2010 alone, 53 major software releases were placed into production; a 35% increase over FY 2009. These software releases include over 1,600 software changes and enhancements; over 328 payroll changes to compensate our employees accurately and timely; 232 enhancements addressed reporting and management information priorities identified by users and product review groups; 482 addressed accounting, disbursing, and logistic enhancements resulting in process improvements and efficiencies; and 34 enhancements assured securing our employees’ sensitive data in our systems and thereby ensuring compliance with Personally Identifiable Information. Ongoing system improvements continued to contribute to the Department achieving a ‘Green’ rating (98.45% invoices paid on time), on the closely tracked CFO Council’s Performance Measure at OMB. Interest penalties were the lowest on record; $48,000 over a twelve month period. We continue to receive the high marks on the Overseas Customer Survey: Regional Financial Management System (RFMS) Direct Connect garnered a satisfaction rating of 4.3 (out of 5), its highest marks ever. Used by over 3,000 customers, both the Consolidated Overseas Accountability Support Toolbox (COAST) and RFMS have reached the highest customer satisfaction ratings ever, 94.6% and 91.2%, respectively, for a combined 10 point improvement over last year.

The new external auditor has significantly increased the volume of requests for information about Information Technology systems. In FY 2010, the audit team generated 175 audit requests, up nearly 20% from the number of requests made in FY 2009 and dramatically higher than the amount of requests made by the prior long-term external auditor.

Leveraging Best Business Practices and E Government.

The Global e Travel initiative achieved significant migration success in FY 2010 by expanding the use of a web-based commercially available off-the-shelf system (COTS) solution approved by GSA. As of September 2010, we migrated all domestic bureaus as well as 111 posts. These entities collectively generate over 93% of the Department’s temporary duty (TDY) travel volume. In the last 12 months, we have delivered 15 customer-driven enhancements were delivered with new software releases.

The Department’s effort of migrating to a Grant Management Line of Business solution took a major step forward in FY 2010. The Department expanded its pilot program under our State Assistance Management System (SAMS) using GrantSolutions with the Global Monitoring and Combating Trafficking in Persons organization. In addition, an interface between SAMS and GFMS went live in production in August 2010. Additional bureaus are expected to begin using SAMS in FY 2011. GrantSolutions automates the full range of assistance management activities, from solicitation through award, post-award monitoring and closeout.

The Department continued to execute a phased deployment strategy that — when completed — will completely replace six legacy payroll systems with a single, COTS-based solution that is better suited to address the widely diverse requirements of the Department and the other 45 civilian agencies that rely on the Department for overseas payroll. Not only will the Global Foreign Affairs Compensation System (GFACS) address common requirements in a more consistent and efficient manner, it will leverage a rules-based, table-driven architecture to promote compliance with the statutory differences found across the Foreign and Civil Service Acts and, perhaps more importantly, the local laws and practices applicable to the many countries in which civilian agencies operate.

Much work has been accomplished in the steps leading up to implementing annuitant payments in GFACS later this calendar year. All design and development have been completed. Testing is underway and will continue to ensure the accuracy of payments to our Foreign Service retirees.

Looking Forward.

RM will continue to work to ensure fundamental financial management “compliance” results – on time, accurate financial statements that achieve an unqualified (“clean”) audit opinion, financial systems and processes that meet Federal requirements, and effective internal controls.

OMB continues its initiative to standardize government-wide business processes to address the Federal government’s long-term need to improve financial management and assist agencies in substantially complying with the Federal Financial Management Improvement Act (FFMIA). Also, over the next several years, a number of new Federal accounting and information technology standards will become effective. These include government-wide projects to standardize business requirements and processes, establish and implement a government-wide accounting classification, and support the replacement of financial statement and budgetary reporting to the Department of the Treasury. The Department’s implementation of new standards and government-wide reporting will strengthen both our financial and information technology management practices.

In FY 2011 and beyond, RM will continue to expand its centralized processing services to support additional posts and wholesale systematic consolidation of some financial processes. For Global e Travel, we anticipate reaching the goal of 95% of overseas temporary duty travel voucher volume being supported, network connections permitting. Next year will also bring focus on greater consolidation of financial and other administrative systems into RM’s existing portfolio of systems, incorporating each into a disciplined and certified system development and maintenance organization.

The annuitant payments to retired Foreign Service staff and qualified beneficiaries are expected to be generated through GFACS beginning in early FY 2011. Later in FY 2011, a pilot population of locally engaged staff (including staff employed by serviced agencies) will be paid using GFACS. The remainder will shift to GFACS on a phased country-by-country basis that is expected to conclude in FY 2013. The final migration will involve the Department’s American payroll (i.e., Foreign Service and Civil Service staff) and is expected to occur in FY 2014.

RM will also undertake activities that support effective strategic decision-making and mission performance. These activities include strengthening the Department’s financial management analytic capabilities. With its financial data warehouse, RM will work to expand its analytical capability to provide the Department’s senior management with timely and thorough financial/cost analysis to support funding decisions. At a time when the U.S. Government (USG) is facing a significant deficit, the Department will undoubtedly be faced with some difficult choices over critical but competing priorities. Having the CFO establish or independently verify the fully loaded costs of programs or initiatives, with affordable cost alternatives and expected results, will be essential in maximizing the effectiveness of the Department’s funding. This ability to better quantify costs with results will also bolster the Department’s credibility with Congress and OMB.

Financial Management Systems

Through the Joint Financial Management System Program, the Department is integrating its overseas and domestic financial operations onto a common, global financial management software platform in Charleston, South Carolina. This is dramatically improving operations and reducing costs by eliminating system redundancies and replacing obsolete and unsupported financial systems. It is also providing the infrastructure for integrating other administrative activities within the Department, such as the Integrated Logistics Management System, Global eTravel, State Assistance Management System, and other domestic and post-level systems.

The diagram depicts the state of our vision, a virtual global financial management system.

Diagram depicting the Global Financial Management System (GFMS) vision and concept.D

The common platform underlying the Department’s global financial management solution is CGI-Federal’s Momentum™ financial management system. Momentum is a certified federal financial system used widely in the federal market place. This solution uses the same software and technical platform to support the Global Financial Management System domestically, the Regional Financial Management System overseas, and USAID’s Phoenix financial management system. Together with our efforts on Global Direct Connect, this enables a single integrated view of financial data through data standardization, common business processes, and the seamless exchange of information through the Department’s financial and administrative sectors. The GFMS, RFMS and Global Direct Connect components of State’s solution are further described below.

Global Financial Management System.
Photo showing American Embassy Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo, that received the Gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification in 2010.

Embassy Gold LEED Certified

American Embassy Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo received the Gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification in 2010. Approximately 90% of the Republic of the Congo’s exports is petroleum. Department of State/OBO

The Global Financial Management System (GFMS) venture is a series of major, incremental projects to address significant weaknesses, and establish a single global financial management system that integrates the Department’s overseas and domestic financial operations onto a common financial management software platform in Charleston, South Carolina. In doing so, GFMS provides a single integrated view of financial data through data standardization, common business processes, and the seamless exchange of information through the Department’s financial sectors. Such integration improves operations, eliminates system redundancies, and replaces obsolete and unsupported financial systems. It will also provide the infrastructure for integrating with other activities within State.

GFMS is critical to State’s day-to-day operations. The GFMS supports execution of State’s mission by effectively accounting for business activities and recording associated financial information, including obligations and costs, performance, financial assets, and other data. The original GFMS vision has been achieved. However, our responsibility to provide quality services, make available useful information for decision making, protect our investment, and meet new and emerging requirements continues. On-going activities to meet our business needs include perfective and adaptive enhancements, COTS product updates to current release levels, and integration and reporting improvements. The most important projects include:

COTS Software Update. The GFMS venture is based on CGI Federal’s Momentum commercial off-the-shelf product and requires periodic updates with new vendor software releases. New releases typically contain software corrections to previous releases as well as new functionality for processing improvements, emerging requirements and regulatory changes. Installing new releases results in GFMS using the latest vendor supported software thereby ensuring uninterrupted maintenance support, avoiding premature obsolescence, and fully leveraging the vendor’s investment in the product. The COTS Software Update is targeted to move GFMS from the Momentum Release 6.0 to the Momentum Release 6.6. In addition to corrections and new functionality, Momentum Release 6.6 will contain DoS-specific enhancements addressing our overseas system requirements. The Update will be deployed via three sub-projects – GFMS Update, GFMS Data Warehouse Update, and RFMS Update. Updates to Momentum Release 6.6 are scheduled to be implemented in FY 2013 and FY 2014, upon completion of the above predecessor projects.

Accounts Receivable Migration. When the GFMS was implemented in 2007, migration of accounts receivable from the existing legacy system (Domestic Accounts Receivable Tracking System - DARTS) was excluded to mitigate risk and keep the implementation scope manageable. Implementing Momentum Accounts Receivable will eliminate the custom DARTS interface, provide a cohesive fully integrated accounts receivable capability, and retire the obsolete legacy DARTS.

Integration Improvements. The Department will take advantage of Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) and Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) features available in its existing integration platform to improve business processes and lower the total cost of ownership of the agency’s financial systems. These concepts have already been used and proven effective in the integration of GFMS with the Department’s logistics system (ILMS). For example, requisitions entered in ILMS undergo real time funds availability checks directly in GFMS. Additionally, when vendors or contract information changes occur in GFMS, they are automatically forwarded to ILMS via the webMethods integration platform.

The first phase of integration improvements for GFMS will enable GFMS and RFMS (both on the Momentum platform) to communicate with each other in real time, thereby eliminating several complex batch interfaces, improving business processes, and enhancing the timeliness and accuracy of accounting information in both systems. The second phase will expand the use of the enhanced integration platform to additional interfaces.

Regional Financial Management System.

RFMS is the global accounting and disbursing system that has been implemented for posts around the world. RFMS includes a common accounting system for funds management, obligation and voucher processing; the RFMS/D system to provide disbursing services; and the Consolidated Overseas Accountability Support Toolbox (COAST) post-based system for analysis, reporting and other post-level activities. The system incorporates State’s standard account structure and improves transaction standardization and timeliness between post and headquarters, which results in the consistent, timely processing and recording of financial data on a worldwide basis. Plans for FY 2011 include the completion of Global Direct Connect deployments, further improvements to the COAST offering, with continued rollout of a much improved encryption capability and pilot deployment of cashiering capabilities.

Global Direct Connect.

Our Global Direct Connect initiative moves posts that have operationally practical and reliable network connections from their batch processing environment to a real time, on-line connection. As a result of our efforts through FY 2010, there are now 166 (out of a possible 180) posts using Global Direct Connect. We will convert the remaining 14 posts in FY 2011.

Financial Management Information to Improve Decision Making.

With the consolidation and streamlining of our worldwide financial systems operations, the ability to capture and maintain accurate, meaningful financial information, and provide it to decision makers in a timely fashion, has vastly improved.

To support overseas financial management officers and post decision makers, RM implemented COAST reporting in late FY 2006. In subsequent years, improvements were added to provide the capability to develop budget plans and monitor execution of those plans. Improvements were also made to the information “drill down” to allow significant flexibility in filtering and summarizing financial transactions. RM continues to enhance its COAST reporting tool, which provides daily updates on all financial transactions to 180 posts overseas and domestic bureaus, allowing them to analyze, and “slice and dice” their financial data for local reporting purposes using modern reporting and query tools on their local workstation. Future enhancements currently in progress will allow for access to payroll specific data at the post and bureau level, and will take advantage of COAST’s existing “drill down” and other reporting functionality. This will give Department financial managers far greater insight into payroll costs, including providing detailed reporting on overtime and other premium pay types.

Domestically, and in support of Department-wide reporting, RM implemented the GFMS Data Warehouse in FY 2007. Based on a modern, browser-based technology platform, the GFMS Data Warehouse enables users to access financial information from standard, prepared reports or customize queries and reports in real time to compile the financial information needed for informed decision making on a day-to-day basis. The GFMS Data Warehouse also provides, on a daily basis, critical financial information to the Department’s Enterprise Data Warehouse. In addition to adding and improving reports and queries, managerial cost accounting and acquisitions reporting modules have been added to the GFMS Data Warehouse since its inception. The GFMS Data Warehouse contains summary and detailed data for FY 1998 to FY 2010. There are currently 115 tables internal to the Data Warehouse containing a total of almost 2 billion transactions in the GFMS data warehouse. Plans for FY 2011 include expanding available content, developing security reporting, and further enhancement of management reporting capabilities, including executive-level dashboard reporting. Upgrades to more current technology platforms will also occur in FY 2011.

Photo showing the American Consulate Jerusalem that was completed in March 2010.

New Consulate

The American Consulate Jerusalem was completed in March 2010. Department of State/OBO




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