Federal CFOs to Trump Administration: Don’t Make Us Start Over
21st annual AGA and Grant Thornton survey looks at challenges facing CFOs during transition to next administration

(WASHINGTON, D.C., Nov. 30, 2016) — A new survey conducted by AGA and Grant Thornton, The CFO in Transition, finds that federal chief financial officers’ greatest fear is slowing or halting progress on initiatives such as shared services. CFOs have seen their roles evolve in the 26 years since passage of the CFO Act, and they hope to be seen by the next administration as strategic advisors who understand agency priorities and have access to data analytics tools. The survey, which was conducted over the summer and whose accompanying report was released today, addresses suggestions for the next administration, enterprise risk management (ERM), data transparency, budget reform, human resources and more. Key takeaways include:

  • Responsibility for ERM must remain outside of the CFO’s office; otherwise, it risks becoming only financially focused and a compliance exercise.
  • Respondents generally view the Obama administration’s push toward shared services as one of its most successful management initiatives, and hope the next administration builds on this progress.
  • CFOs feel implementation of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act) has been successful, and believe it can add valuable mission support.
  • Budgetary uncertainty remains a key concern, as the federal budget has been completed on time only once in the past 20 years. More budgetary certainty, created in part through budget reform, would allow CFOs to focus on larger, more critical, analytical and planning issues.

AGA CEO Ann M. Ebberts said the survey results should serve multiple purposes for the financial management community. “This report provides insight into the evolution of the CFO role over the years, for both new and experienced federal employees. It also underscores the effort required to address ERM, shared services and DATA Act requirements, and calls into question why the scope of CFO responsibilities varies so widely across agencies,” Ebberts said. “The incoming administration has the opportunity to make positive changes to empower and improve the role of the agency CFO.”
“The role of the CFO in the federal government is changing, and rapidly,” said Jim Taylor, managing director with Grant Thornton Public Sector. “This past year has seen an increased focus on shared services, a significant update to OMB Circular A-123 that puts ERM front and center, months of work on a large overhaul of financial systems to implement the DATA Act, and preparations for transition to a new administration. And CFOs are right in the middle of it all, as strategic leaders helping to drive change throughout agencies.”
About AGA: AGA is the member organization for government financial management professionals. We lead and encourage change that benefits our field and all citizens. Our networking events, professional certification, publications and ongoing education help members build their skills and advance their careers.
About Grant Thornton Public Sector: Grant Thornton Public Sector helps executives and managers at all levels of government maximize their performance and efficiency in the face of ever-tightening budgets and increased demand for services. Grant Thornton Public Sector gives clients creative, cost-effective solutions that enhance their acquisition, financial, human capital, information technology, and performance management.


For More Information:
Anna Schumann | Communications and Marketing Manager, AGA
800.AGA.7211, ext. 308 |