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

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While the role of federal chief financial officer (CFO) has been evolving since enactment of the CFO Act of 1990 (CFO Act), so, too, have the operational and political environments in which they operate. Over the past 25 years, CFOs have tactically supported each administration’s efforts either to do more with less; reinvent government; assess and rate programs; and pursue priority goals — all done in a macro context that has included wars and financial crises; major technological advances; and heightened citizen interest and engagement on government matters.

In this report, we provide insights gleaned from the federal CFO community through annual surveys conducted by the Association of Government Accountants (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.

Looking forward, the question naturally arises as to whether the federal financial management structure in place is best-suited to handle the new initiatives and challenges that will inevitably arise. Informed by insights gained from two decades of conducting CFO surveys — and having shared those results with past and present members of the CFO community in recent months — we provide two alternative visions for future CFOs that could significantly improve federal financial management and enhance the stewardship of taxpayer dollars.
Read the full report and learn more about the two alternative visions for future CFOs

Flip through an online version posted by AGA