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AGA conducts independent research and analysis on all aspects of government financial management and has been instrumental in assisting the development of accounting and auditing standards and in generating new concepts for the effective organization and administration of government financial management functions. 

These reports include research studies and white papers surrounding emerging issues/technologies developed by AGA's Corporate Partners and Committees, annual surveys of Chief Financial Officers and Inspectors General and detailed summaries of summits and forums.

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PIO/CFO Executive Summary Report 2022

How Government is Patchworking Major Initiatives to Restore Trust in Government

CFO Survey Pulse Update

As the CFO’s portfolio continues to grow, they have become a critical partner in rebuilding trust by delivering value to their internal customers, such as the mission/program areas, and external customers, including citizens. This paper outlines how CFOs are delivering value by brokering strategic partnerships, enhancing transparency of financial information, maintaining proper stewardship of funds, and creating a workforce with a laser focus on the customer.

Grants Competency Model Survey Analysis

Researchers surveyed 370 grants management professionals from federal, state and local governments for information on their career development experiences and needs. AGA aims to initiate conversation through this report that will lead to definitions of requisite skills for grants management professionals.

The State of Cybersecurity in Government

To better understand the current costs and risks of cybersecurity, volunteers from AGA's Corporate Partner Advisory Group Technology Committee interviewed agency leaders across the federal government. Information gathered from those interviews was combined with research from industry journals and federal reports and presented in this report.

January 2022 CFO Survey: Pulse Update

In the face of a pandemic, a new presidential administration, a workforce in transformation, and trillions of dollars in stimulus funds in distribution, federal CFOs continue to lead their organizations as agents of strategic change. This paper explores the state of efficiency and effectiveness in today’s workplace and its implications on the future of work.

2021 Inspector General Survey: Charting the Future of Independent Oversight

This report is the latest in a series of surveys of the IG community, to collect information on progress and overarching issues that affect federal IG operations. It captures insights from interviews with Inspectors General in the oversight of trillions of dollars in pandemic relief.

Reduce Government Fraud with a Dynamic Approach

Experts in fraud mitigation share solutions that work, or don't work, against the escalating challenge of fraud prevention and detection. The report outlines fraud trends and recommendations for improvement.

Embracing the Future of Government Payments — Federal and State Agencies Continue to Reduce Paper Checks

The research included interviews with payment officials from federal and state governments. Study participants cited cost savings, better service, more secure payments, stronger internal controls, and greater accountability and transparency because of digital payments.

2021 Annual CFO Survey: The COVID Challenge

Over a year into the pandemic caused by COVID-19 and after $5 trillion in stimulus funding was released through six major pieces of legislation, CFOs face a new challenge -- making long-term decisions for the ‘new normal,’ meaning the post-pandemic future of work. This report explores the methods used by public sector CFOs to build resiliency in their organizations and make decisions in the wake of the crisis.

2021 ERM Workshop Summary Report

Effects of COVID-19 on federal agencies and how Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) drives organizational value and adaptive performance. Summary report from the 2021 ERM Workshop.

RPA in Federal Financial Management Organizations

Facing limited budget resources and rising stakeholder expectations for better and faster financial and performance data, federal agencies are turning to new tools and tactics to fulfill their mission goals and improve operational efficiency.

2020 Annual CFO Survey: Managing Finances for the Future

Federal and state CFOs and budget officers described the ways they moved to respond, restore and resume finance operations, as well as monitor and disburse more than $2.6 trillion in funds related to the pandemic.

2020 ERM Workshop Summary Report

Enterprise Risk Management's (ERM) impact on organizational value and performance. Summary report from the 2020 ERM Workshop.

2019 PDT Executive Session Summary Report

Government organizations are exploring new ways to be more organizationally agile and responsive in today's world. The finance organization is no exception which is why the future is an agile finance function. Summary report from the 2019 PDT Executive Session.

2019 Inspector General Survey: Challenges and Opportunities Await

The report is the fifth in a series of surveys of the IG community, to collect information on progress in the IG community as well as overarching issues currently affecting federal IG operations. The report also identifies matters that may impact IGs in future years and reveal broad trends in the IG community.

2019 Intelligent Automation Survey: Automation and the Government Finance Office of the Future

Summary information from a nationwide survey of governments' use of advanced technologies including Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Intelligent Automation (IA).

2019 Annual CFO Survey: A Business Case for Change: CFOs and the Path Forward

AGA conducts an annual survey of the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) community in federal and state governments. According to responses from this 24th annual AGA CFO Survey, federal CFOs believe it is time to rationalize the duties assigned to their offices so there is a consistent focus across the federal government to the major challenges facing departments and agencies. The results of this year’s survey demonstrate a business case for change…now.

2019 ERM Workshop Summary Report

Best practices on ways Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) can, and does, drive organizational value and enhance performance. Summary report from the 2019 ERM Workshop.

2018 PDT Executive Session Summary

Technology is transforming the way government CFO offices approach business activities, especially to enhance and streamline procedures. Summary report from the 2018 PDT Executive Session.

2018 National Grant and Cooperative Agreement Recipient Uniform Guidance Implementation Survey

Summary data from a nationwide survey of federal financial assistance recipients and awarding agencies to identify their challenges in implementing the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (2CFR200), known as Uniform Guidance. The report suggests mitigations that can be shared with stakeholders, such as federal and pass-through awarding agencies, Congress, OMB, AGA members and participating entities.

The CFO Office of the Future

Trends in technology and how they impact the government finance function.

Forum on Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

Robots, the future is now! Summary report from the 2018 Forum on Robotic Process Automation.

2018 CFO/CIO Summit Summary Report

CFOs and CIOs are working together to improve efficiency and transparency, reduce risk, and strengthen their workforce. Summary report from the 2018 CFO/CIO Summit.

2018 PIO/CFO Summit Summary Report

Bridging Cost, Performance and Evidence. The value of dialogue between the financial management, performance and evidence communities. Summary report from the 2018 PIO/CFO Summit.

2018 ERM Workshop Summary Report

Best practices on ways Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) can, and does, drive organizational value and enhance performance. Summary report from the 2018 ERM Workshop.

2017 Shared Services Summit Summary Report

Maintaining momentum in shared services implementation. Summary report from the 2017 Shared Services Summit.

An Agency Guide for ERM Implementation

A handbook to help government agencies to consider organizational, management, and other aspects of designing, establishing, and implementing an Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) program.

DATA Act: Agency Best Practices and Approaches to Implementation

Agency progress in meeting the DATA Act implementation schedule and best practices in meeting the requirements.

Successfully Implementing Cooperative Audit Resolution

This playbook outlines a proactive approach to implementing some of the broad policy reforms contained in the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (Uniform Guidance). It illustrates how key provisions in the Uniform Guidance can be leveraged to create a continuous feedback loop for program improvement, not just for the federal government, but also for those who receive funds through federal awards.

Bringing Financial Reporting Into the Age of Open Data and Open Government — Three Approaches

The report identifies three ways IT could be leveraged from existing financial databases to improve the accessibility of government financial and related information to better obtain a meaningful understanding of what the information portrays.

Optimizing Your Choice of Shared Service Models

A study of shared service models in the federal government.

The CFO Act at 25: Perspectives from Two Decades of CFO Surveys & Prospects for the Future

In this report, we provide insights gleaned from the federal CFO community through annual surveys conducted by the AGA and Grant Thornton LLP. Although there has been an evolution of priorities for the community, six broad issue areas emerge as continual or current challenges for federal CFOs: 1) role of the CFO; 2) human capital; 3) financial management systems and data; 4) cost information and management; 5) shared services; and 6) performance and risk management.

User Experiences: Shared Services in Government Financial Management — Part 2

Summary information from a nationwide survey of governments' use of shared services. Many believe shared services offers cost savings and efficiency gains that have been recognized in the private sector, but have been slow to be recognized in government.

Partnerships Matter: How a Federal, State and Non-Profit Collaboration Improved Efficiencies in Delinquent Debt Collection (by the Alliance to Transform State Government Operations)

This report captures how a small group of association and government officials successfully solved an intergovernmental problem with implications for timely delivery of hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for states across the country. The project demonstrates collaboration and effective communication among the right people are key to solving intergovernmental problems – especially those that are process-based.

Blended and Braided Funding: A Guide for Policy Makers and Practitioners

This guide examines two administrative approaches for increasing efficiency and effectiveness across programs: braiding and blending funds. With braided funding, financial assistance from several sources is coordinated by those receiving the funds, to support a single initiative or strategy, while each individual award maintains its award-specific identity.

Control Challenges over Federal Grants and Benefits

The report highlights efforts to improve internal controls relative to the grants and benefit programs that are administered through state and local governments and not-for-profit entities

User Experiences: Shared Services in Government Financial Management

Summary information from a nationwide survey on governments' use of shared services to incrase effectiveness and efficiency and reduce costs.

Transforming State Government from the Inside Out

Summary findings from the 2014 Summit to Transform State Government from the Inside Out that included key leaders from 34 states. 

Making Better Decisions: Leveraging Resources in Challenging Financial Times

Three practical decision tools contained in this call-to-action are intended to help government officials write laws, regulations or guidance. The tools provide a common platform and mechanism to evaluate the appropriateness and clarity of requirements, and the nature of data needed to assess programs.

Government Prepaid Cards Lower Costs and Improve Access

Summary information from interviews with governments that implemented a prepaid debit card program. The research found that governments and the recipients of government payments derive significant benefits by using prepaid debit cards in lieu of paper checks.

Government-wide Financial Reporting

The report provides an overview of improper payments, delineates the challenges federal agencies face in evaluating, preventing and detecting improper payments and shares best practices in combating the problem.

e-Reporting

This project examined literature, research, best reporting practices and technologies relating to e-Reporting and concludes by making six recommendations for policy makers and standard setters on how to best provide the public with timely access to data it can trust and understand.

Mobile Transactions

Summary information from a nationwide survey of the use of mobile phone transactions in government programs. The majority of survey respondents believe that mobile transaction applications have the potential to provide important benefits to both government agencies and their citizens.

Leveraging Data Analytics in Federal Organizations

Summary information of a nationwide survey on the federal government's use of data analytics and what agencies are doing with the resulting information.

Using Performance Information to Drive Performance Improvement

The report explores the federal government's use of performance information to drive performance improvement and provides recommendations for how the process can be extended into agencies, across all programs and beyond changes in personnel and administrations.

Improper Payments: Not Just the Purview of the CFO Anymore?

The report provides an overview of improper payments in federal financial assistance programs, delineates the challenges agencies face in evaluating, preventing and detecting improper payments (internal control environment, legislation, technology, information-sharing, etc.), and suggests possible improvements to the process.

What Do Citizens Want From Public Sector Reporting?

Advocates of good government have encouraged governmental entities to make information, especially financial and performance, publicly available, citing the goals of accountability and transparency. Summary report from focus groups held in 2010 and 2011.

The CFO Act 20 Years Later: What Worked? What Didn’t? What Were the Lessons Learned? What Should be the Path Ahead?

Lessons learned and reforms related to the CFO Act twenty years after it became law.

The Maturity of GRC in the Public Sector: Where Are We Today? Where Are We Going?

The report assesses the maturity of Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) in the public sector and includes information to help federal agencies understand how GRC can drive better performance, reduce costs from redundant controls and manual processes, and help federal agencies take a proactive approach to risk management.

Redefining Accountability: Recovery Act Practices and Opportunities

This report focuses on the implementation of the Recovery Act and how new and innovative management and accountability practices have been developed to proactively assess risk, provide oversight, add greater transparency and accountability, and communicate with intergovernmental funding recipients. 

Creating an Interactive Single Audit Database

The report explores using eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) to digitally link A-133 findings identified in the SF-SAC summary form directly to the narrative text in the auditor’s report. 

State and Local Governments' Use of Performance Measures to Improve Service Delivery

The report explores state and local governments’ use of performance measures to monitor the delivery of services and make adjustments, if necessary, to improve the delivery and assure the achievement of desired results.

Managerial Cost Accounting in the Federal Government: Providing Useful Information for Decision Making

The report conveys hows how a good cost-accounting system that interfaces with budget and performance data systems can provide information useful for decision making. It examined how some agencies are better using management costing techniques, such as activity-based costing and activity-based management (ABC/ABM) to support decision making, including budget decisions.

Grants Management: How XBRL Can Help

The report evaluates the state of grants management in the federal government and makes recommendations for improvement.

Performance-Based Management

Calls for better transparency in government are on the rise, and citizens want more than information about fraud, waste and abuse. Performance-based management (PBM) can meet the challenge. It is designed to compile and deliver the data easily and routinely. Decision-makers can then use the data to manage and improve government and create the transparency that taxpayers want to ensure that needed change happens.

Procuring Audit Services in Government: A Practical Guide to Making the Right Decision

The guide helps government managers make the right decision when procuring audit services. The guide provides a resource to help non-auditors understand the distinction between audit and other professional services that have an evaluative nature. Readers will have a better understanding of what they are buying when they procure an audit.

Characteristics of Effective Audit Committees in Federal, State and Local Governments

The report identifies the characteristics of effective, mature audit committees in local, state and the federal government.

XBRL and Public Sector Financial Reporting

The report outlines the benefits of developing and using an XBRL-taxonomy (short for eXtensible Business Reporting Language) to tag data in a state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR). The report provides a brief technical overview of XBRL as well as graphics demonstrating the process of converting the CAFR data into XBRL, creating the instance document and rendering the instance document into a readable conventional file format.

SAS 70 Reports: Are They Useful and Can They Be Improved?

The report addresses the usefulness to governments of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ (AICPA) Statement on Auditing Standards (SAS) No.70, Service Organizations, and whether improvements to the implementation of the standard could increase its usefulness. 

21st Century Federal Financial Managers — A New Mix of Skills and Educational Levels?

The report identifies the skills federal financial managers need to do the work of the government in the 21st Century and makes recommendations for action to improve the capacity and capability of the workforce.

The Federal Travel Card — Uses, Policies and Best Practices

The report covers the use of travel cards by federal government departments and agencies including policies and procedures regarding the use of purchase and travel cards, major reasons for travel card use, benefits of travel card use, actual use patterns, and best policies and practices regarding the management of travel card programs.

Should State and Local Governments Strengthen Internal Controls by Applying SOX-Like Requirements?

The report explores the state of internal controls in state and local government entities and provides best practices and recommendations for improvements.

The State Travel Card — Uses, Policies and Best Practices

The report covers the use of travel cards by state government departments and agencies including policies and procedures regarding the use of purchase and travel cards, major reasons for travel card use, benefits of travel card use, actual use patterns, and best policies and practices regarding the management of travel card programs.

Process-Based Financial Reporting

The vision of federal financial reporting presented in the report is streamlined compliance reporting and greater transparency through multidimensional reporting.

Federal Real Property Asset Management

The report identifies federal real property management alternatives, existing standards, guidance and current practices and provides recommendations to improve federal real property management.

The State Purchase Card: Uses, Policies and Best Practices

The report provides an overview of state governments’ purchase card use and their policies regarding the purchase card. Included in the report is an assessment of the major reasons for adopting the purchase card, actual card use patterns, state policies regarding card use, as well as best practices and purchase card management innovations.

Challenges in Performance Auditing: How a State Auditor with Intriguing New Performance Auditing Authority is Meeting Them

The citizens of Washington state voted to give their state auditor the most extensive authority in the country to conduct comprehensive, independent performance audits of state and local governments. The report documents the initial actions taken by the state auditor to implement the provisions of the initiative and prepare to conduct performance audits. 

PAR — The Report We Hate to Love

The report examines the usefulness of Performance and Accountability Reports (PARs) for their intended audiences, and how that usefulness can be improved.

The Federal Purchase Card: Use, Policy & Practice

The report provides a federal government wide review of the use of the purchase card including reasons for use, actual use, policies regarding use and employee card authorizations, best practices, purchase card management innovations, and an assessment of the financial implications of the program, including a cost benefit analysis using agency assessments of cost savings of purchase cards as compared to use of purchase orders.

Financial Management Shared Services: A Guide for Federal Users

The report includes a number of best practices, worse practices and lessons learned for users and potential users of financial management shared services in the federal government.

Audit Federal Financial Controls: Sooner Rather Than Later?

The report made the case for auditing controls over financial reporting and discusses whether auditing of internal controls in the Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) mode could benefit financial management in the federal government.