Department of Agriculture: Status of Efforts to Address Major Financial Management Challenges

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Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "In January, we issued our Performance and Accountability Series on management challenges and program risks at major agencies, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The report for USDA focused on a number of major management challenges, including enhancing financial management, and continued the high risk designation for Forest Service financial management. For many years, USDA struggled to improve its financial management activities, but inadequate accounting systems and related procedures and controls hampered its ability to get a clean opinion on its financial statements. After eight consecutive disclaimers ... continued below

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United States. General Accounting Office. June 10, 2003.

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Description

Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "In January, we issued our Performance and Accountability Series on management challenges and program risks at major agencies, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The report for USDA focused on a number of major management challenges, including enhancing financial management, and continued the high risk designation for Forest Service financial management. For many years, USDA struggled to improve its financial management activities, but inadequate accounting systems and related procedures and controls hampered its ability to get a clean opinion on its financial statements. After eight consecutive disclaimers of opinion, USDA's Office of Inspector General issued an unqualified opinion on USDA's fiscal year 2002 financial statements and reported that significant progress had been made in improving overall financial management. For each of USDA's agencies that prepared separate financial statements for fiscal year 2002, the audit opinions were also positive. Specifically, unqualified audit opinions were issued on the financial statements of the Forest Service, Federal Crop Insurance Corporation/Risk Management Agency, Commodity Credit Corporation, the Rural Development mission area, and the Rural Telephone Bank. While we consider these clean opinions a positive step, some of these could not have been rendered without extraordinary efforts by the department and its auditors. Achieving financial accountability will require more than heroic efforts to obtain year-end numbers for financial statement purposes. Without reliable financial systems and sound internal controls, it is not possible to have sound data on a timely basis for decision making. Before USDA can achieve and sustain financial accountability, and thus be in a position to have reliable system-generated data as needed, it and its component agencies, particularly the Forest Service, must address a number of serious problems that USDA's Office of the Inspector General (OIG) or we have reported."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • June 10, 2003

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  • June 10, 2014, 6:42 a.m.

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United States. General Accounting Office. Department of Agriculture: Status of Efforts to Address Major Financial Management Challenges, text, June 10, 2003; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc290133/: accessed August 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.