For the last 25 years, the federal chief financial officer (CFO) has walked a fine line between being a part of the political and policy leadership of their organizations, and — given the background many CFOs have as career staff — the role of financial technician wherein they are counted on to provide accurate, timely financial data. But that role is morphing to accommodate increasing needs for data and information to support evidence-based decision making. As reported in previous CFO surveys conducted by the Association of Government Accountants (AGA) and Grant Thornton LLP, the CFO community, for the most part, has successfully built the financial infrastructure necessary to achieve clean audit opinions and provide required financial reports.
Now, the challenge is finding cost-efficient ways to produce relevant and actionable data that can be used by program and policy staff to make better-informed decisions about resource allocation and program effectiveness. Given this new and emerging role, coupled with persistent budgetary constraints, CFOs are seeking creative ways to meet their traditional responsibilities while addressing the demands arising as keepers of much of the key financial and performance data collected across government.
This year, the presidential election and likely major changes to policy and budgetary priorities could be a major focus for federal financial management leadership and staff. We surveyed CFOs and other leaders in the CFO community to find out how they are addressing this impending change in leadership, and to identify the major issues facing them and the major challenges they anticipate during the transition to a new administration.
Read the full Annual CFO Survey: The CFO in Transition