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Fiscal Accountability and Shared Services

May 24, 2018

The President’s Management Agenda views shared services and solutions as key tools for agency reform. Today, leading firms in the private sector use a full-service shared services model for financial management that is driving increased efficiency gains through innovation and automation. However, the Federal Government lags behind the private sector and experiences significant challenges when trying to replicate commercial best practices.

Accomplished: Discussed “Fiscal Accountability: Financial management shared services models, best practices, and challenges” with approximately 70 government and industry professionals. Heard from 3 OCFO leaders on their shared services journeys from HUD, Depart of State, and Depart of Justice. We propose recommendations to OMB that will enable agencies to accomplish administration priorities.

Summary Recommendations:

  • Expand number and use of common solutions and use of centralized services
  • Promote Best-practices through proven commercial innovation and tools

Recommendations to 5 Core Shared Solution Challenges (received from break-out group work):

  1. Old technology, outdated processes, and culture of compliance creating an inflexible environment:
    1. There is resistance to new processes and ways of conducting business. Recommend ample advanced notice and focused change management practices to increase the success of an adoption.
    2. Promote actions on movement from low to higher-value business analysis skillsets
    3. Create an environment and systems that will attract Millennial and younger talent
  2. Enterprise-wide, there are duplicative back-office financial management services (contracts, people, and technology) at hundreds of locations
    1. Promote Reimagine efforts across cabinet agencies on how to tackle inefficiencies. Establish target goals and further internal standardization and consolidation efforts.
    2. Promote internal agency efficiency through a culture of employee upward feedback
    3. Create a culture of sharing, best processes, and broader information sharing across agencies that will promote operational improvement
  3. There is “low” customer service satisfaction for back-office administration activities
    1. Providers of service should migrate to customer service orientation with SLA’s and feedback mechanisms like those used in the commercial industry.
    2. Recommend increased, real-time, and transparent information sharing
  4. Commercial innovation has outpaced Federal capabilities
    1. Expand use of public/private partnership models from industry to bring innovation
    2. Some agencies finding the budget cycle and process restrictive to acquiring new innovation. Recommend expanded use of multi-year funding and contracting and more flexible acquisition arrangements.
    3. Make more R&D funding available to agencies
  5. Commercial vs. Government benchmarks are widening
    1. Proceed with Federal / Industry benchmarking assessing gaps
    2. Utilize tools like tight SLAs and the ability to decrease costs.
    3. Utilize the right mix of public and private workforce and innovation automation to decrease gaps.

The event was hosted in partnership with the Shared Services Leadership Coalition and the Senior Executives Association.

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