Program Eligibility

All federal agencies are encouraged to demonstrate their commitment to excellence by participating in the CEAR program, regardless of statutory requirements to produce a PAR or AFR. The FY2020 CEAR Program Guidelines are available. Please download your choice of format below. 

FY2020 CEAR program
guidelines (MS-Word)
 FY2020 CEAR program
guidelines (PDF)

Program Benefits

PARs and AFRs may be the most important communications vehicle federal agencies have to present information on spending and program management. 

Participation in the CEAR program leads to: 

  • Improved reports: AFRs and PARs will show how agency leaders integrate financial and performance management. Unlike annual "performance budgets," these reports are free from advocacy.
  • Valuable training in report preparation: Each participating agency may register up to five staff members for AGA's free two-hour training to learn strategies and best practices for comprehensive, informative agency reporting.
  • Technical development: Any federal agency can appoint senior-level staff to act as program reviewers. Serving as a reviewer offers an opportunity for in-depth analysis of other agencies' PARs/AFRs and Summaries of Performance and Financial Information (SPFI) and insights to improve their own agency reports.

Recipients of the Certificate of Excellence in Accountability Reporting gain:

  • Professional and public recognition: Agencies awarded the CEAR certificate will be recognized by their peers at an awards ceremony and dinner. Agencies can publicly recognize the individuals who prepare the reports and acknowledge their dedication and hard work. AGA also promotes the exceptional accomplishment within the federal government community through press releases and may recognize these agencies in communications, such as Topics, the Journal of Government Financial Management and the AGA website.
  • Validation of accountability: The U.S. Congress, Office of Management and Budget, Department of the Treasury, and Government Accountability Office recognize CEAR as evidence of a complete presentation of an agency's programmatic and financial affairs.
  • Prestigious national award: During an award ceremony each May, AGA presents the prestigious CEAR award to agency representatives. Some agencies also receive special awards to acknowledge specific components of their reports.

Questions? 
Email cear@agacgfm.org or call 800.242.7211 ext: 322

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Important Dates

  • Nov. 16, 2020–Dec. 30, 2020: Auditor's report must have this date.

    Auditors must have Nov. 16, 2020 date on reports; however, due to delays caused by COVID-19, agencies requiring extra time can request an extension until December 30, 2020 to submit the report to OMB and Congress.

  • Dec. 2, 2020: Reviewer’s Training
  • Dec. 11, 2020: Agency applications due
  • Dec. 15, 2020: Reviewer applications due
  • Dec. 15, 2020–Jan. 29, 2021: CEAR Program agency application and filing fees due
  • Feb. 26, 2021: SPFI (optional)