Financial Management in the Federal Government: Efforts to Improve Performance
CRS Report for Congress
in the Federal Government:
Efforts to Improve Performance
June 17, 2003
Virginia A. McMurtry
Specialist in American National Government
Government and Finance Division
Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress
Financial Management in the Federal Government:
Efforts to Improve Performance
This report provides an overview of efforts to reform and improve financial
management in the federal government in the last 25 years. The Federal Managers
Financial Integrity Act of 1982, generally regarded as the first of these efforts, was
intended to strengthen internal controls and accounting systems. The Chief Financial
Officers Act of 1990 followed and created a new leadership structure for financial
management, including two new positions in the Office of Management and Budget
and 24 chief financial officer (CFO) and deputy CFO positions in the major executive
departments and agencies. Other provisions in the CFO Act as originally enacted
addressed improvement of financial management systems, requirements for audited
financial statements and management reporting, and changes in audits and reporting
requirements for government corporations.
Amendments to the CFO Act have extended its original purview. In 1993 the
Government Performance and Results Act built upon agency financial information
mandated by the CFO Act by stipulating new performance measurement
requirements. Provisions in the Federal Financial Management Act of 1994
substantially extended the requirements in the CFO Act for audited financial
statements. In addition to requiring annual audited financial statements from the
CFO Act agencies, the 1994 law required preparation each year of consolidated
government-wide statements, covering all federal executive branch agencies. The
Federal Financial Management Improvement Act of 1996 built upon prior legislation
and incorporated into statute certain financial system requirements already
established as executive branch policy.
In the 107th Congress, the Accountability of Tax Dollars Act of 2002 further
amended the Chief Financial Officers Act, extending the requirements for preparation
of audited financial statements to most executive branch agencies. The Improper
Payments Information Act of 2002 requires federal agencies to identify programs that
are vulnerable to improper payments and to estimate annually the amount of
underpayments and overpayments made by these programs; the estimates are to be
reported to Congress by March 31 following the end of the fiscal year.
The report also considers activities within the improved financial performance
initiative, one of five government-wide reform efforts under the rubric of the
President’s Management Agenda. Areas for special emphasis under the initiative
include enhancing the quality and timeliness of financial information, reducing
erroneous payments, and strengthening asset management by the federal government.
This report will be updated as necessary.
Chief Financial Officers Act.....................................2
Amendments to the CFO Act.....................................3
Government Management Reform Act of 1994..................3
Federal Financial Management Improvement Act.................4
New CFO Positions........................................4th
New Laws in the 107 Congress..................................5
Accountability of Tax Dollars Act of 2002......................5
Improper Payments Information Act of 2002....................6
President’s Management Agenda..................................6
Aspects of the Financial Management Initiative..................7
Possible Policy Concerns....................................8
in the Federal Government:
Efforts to Improve Performance
Traditional notions of the financial management function typically were
confined to the work of government accountants, auditors, and budget analysts. In
the view of the former Comptroller General, Charles Bowsher, as conveyed in an
article published in 1985, such a narrow concept of financial management in the
federal government “has not served us well, because it has helped perpetuate in
agencies fragmented and isolated analyses and reporting that should come together1
for optimum effect.” According to a broad construction formally delineated in a
General Accounting Office (GAO) report that same year, “Financial management
in the federal government encompasses all or part of the processes and functions of
planning and programming, budgeting, budget execution and accounting, and audit
and evaluation.” Further, all of these component processes need to be supported by
a fully integrated data and information system.2
In the past 25 years Congress has enacted a series of laws to reform and improve
financial management in the federal government. The Federal Managers Financial
Integrity Act of 1982 (FMFIA), generally regarded as the first of these measures, was3
intended to strengthen internal controls and accounting systems. It established
reporting requirements whereby the agency head must provide a statement on
whether the agency has adequate and effective management controls consistent with
standards prescribed by the Comptroller General and conforming to Office of
Management and Budget (OMB) guidelines. If the agency is not in compliance, the
1Charles A. Bowsher, “Government Financial Management at the Crossroads: The Choice
is Between Reactive and Proactive Financial Management,” Public Budgeting and Finance,
vol. 5, summer 1985, p. 11.
2U.S. General Accounting Office, Managing the Cost of Government: Building an Effective
Financial Management Structure, v. II: Conceptual Framework, Report by the Comptroller
General, GAO report AFMD-85-35-A (Washington: 1985), p. 2.
396 Stat. 814-815; 31 U.S.C. 3512. Arguably, the Inspector General Act of 1978, with its
focus on increased accountability in the federal government through improved audits and
investigations, might be viewed as the earliest in this series of related financial management
reform laws. For further discussion of the IG Act, see CRS Report 98-379 GOV, Statutory
Offices of Inspector General: Establishment and Evolution, by Frederick M. Kaiser. For
further discussion of FMFIA, as well as other laws mentioned below, see CRS Report
RL30795, General Management Laws: A Selective Compendium — 107th Congress,
coordinated by Ronald C. Moe.
report must identify any material weaknesses in the systems and describe remedial
plans. The agency head must also assess whether accounting systems conform to
requisite standards.4 By the end of 1989, however, after seven years under FMFIA,
only limited progress had occurred, and the General Accounting Office “reported that
the government did not have the internal control systems necessary to effectively
operate its programs and safeguard its assets and that its accounting systems were
antiquated and second-rate.”5
Chief Financial Officers Act
The Chief Financial Officers (CFO) Act of 19906 followed, representing the
culmination of a bipartisan effort, stretching over five years, to increase federal
accountability through additional financial management reforms. A major component
of the legislation was the establishment of a new leadership structure for federal
financial management, consisting of two new positions within the Office of
Management and Budget: a new Deputy Director for Management (to serve as the
federal government’s chief financial officer), and a Controller (to head the statutorily
established Office of Federal Financial Management).
In addition, the law created 24 chief financial officers for the major executive
departments and agencies; there were also 24 deputy CFOs.7 Of the 24 CFO
positions, those in the 14 cabinet-level departments, the Environmental Protection
Agency, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration are filled by
presidential appointees, confirmed by the Senate. The remaining eight CFO positions
(for the Agency for International Development, Federal Emergency Management
Agency, General Services Administration, National Science Foundation, Nuclear
Regulatory Commission, Office of Personnel Management, Small Business
Administration, and the Social Security Administration), along with all 24 deputy
CFO positions, are career positions, filled by agency head appointment.
Other provisions in the CFO Act, as originally enacted, addressed improvement
of financial management systems, requirements for audited financial statements and
management reporting, and changes in audits and reporting requirements for
government corporations. A noteworthy new reporting requirement called for the
4While the FMFIA reporting requirements remain in force, they are now submitted as part
of an agency’s accountability report, pursuant to the Reports Consolidation Act of 2000
(P.L. 106-531, 114 Stat. 2537).
5U.S. General Accounting Office, Federal Financial Management Improvement Act Results
for Fiscal Year 1999, GAO report AIMD-00-307 (Washington: Sept. 2000), p. 7.
6104 Stat. 2838; codified as amended at 31 U.S.C., chapters 5, 9, 11, and 35; also 5 U.S.C.
7There were originally 23 CFO agencies, but when the Social Security Administration was
established as an independent agency, pursuant to the Social Security Independence and
Program Improvements Act of 1994 (108 Stat. 1467), an additional CFO position was
created, bringing the total to 24.
preparation annually of a financial management status report and governmentwide
five-year financial management plan.8
Each of the 24 agency CFOs reports directly to the agency head and is
responsible for all agency financial management operations, activities, and
personnel.9 The CFOs develop financial management budgets, produce financial
reports, and monitor budget execution.
The 1990 law also established a Chief Financial Officers Council, chaired by
OMB’s Deputy Director for Management. Other members stipulated in the CFO Act
included the Controller, the Fiscal Assistant Secretary of Treasury, and the 24 agency
CFOs. In March, 1994, the council adopted recommendations for reform.
Membership was expanded to include the 24 career deputy CFOs, to provide
cooperation and continuity of effort beyond the average shorter tenure of the CFOs
(mostly political appointees), and four new officer positions were added. The CFO
Council meets periodically to coordinate relevant agency activities, and has
developed into an important interagency entity.
Amendments to the CFO Act
Amendments to the CFO Act have extended its original purview. In 1993 the
Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) built upon agency financial
information mandated by the CFO Act; GPRA stipulated new performance
measurement requirements, extending the initial language in the CFO Act regarding
“systematic measurement of performance” for selected activities.10
Government Management Reform Act of 1994. Provisions in the11
Federal Financial Management Act of 1994 (incorporated into the Government
Management Reform Act), substantially expanded the requirements in the CFO Act
for audited financial statements. Initially, under the CFO Act, all covered agency
heads were to prepare and submit to OMB audited financial statements for each
revolving and trust fund and for accounts that performed substantial commercial
functions. In addition, a three-year pilot program (eventually involving 10 of the
original 23 agencies) commenced, requiring preparation of audited financial
statements for all agency accounts. The 1994 amendments extended the requirement
for audited financial statements covering all accounts to include all 24 CFO agencies.
Beginning March 1, 1997, and annually thereafter, the agency head is to submit to the
OMB director “an audited financial statement for the preceding fiscal year, covering
all accounts and associated activities of each office, bureau, and activity of the
8The 2001 financial management report and plan, issued May 1, 2002, is available
electronically at [http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/financial/fm_reports.html].
9As described in the next section, three additional CFO positions have been created.
However, these newer CFOs are not entirely comparable to the other 24.
10See P.L. 103-62, 107 Stat. 285.
11Enacted as Title IV of the Government Management Reform Act of 1994; P.L. 103-356),
agency.” The financial statements for FY2002 indicated 21 of the 24 CFO agencies
receiving unqualified opinions.12
The 1994 law also expanded the purview of audited financial statements, by
requiring preparation each year of consolidated governmentwide statements, covering
all federal executive branch agencies. The Secretary of the Treasury, in coordination
with the director of OMB, submitted the most recent set to the President and
Congress in March, 2003. As in the five previous years, GAO once again issued a
disclaimer, indicating it was unable to give an opinion on the statements, because of:
“(1) serious financial management problems at DOD, (2) the federal government’s
inability to fully account for and reconcile billions of dollars of transactions between
federal entities, and (3) the federal government’s inability to properly prepare the
consolidated financial statements.”13
Federal Financial Management Improvement Act. The Federal Financial
Management Improvement Act (FFMIA) of 199614 built upon the prior legislation
and incorporated into statute certain financial system requirements already
established as executive branch policy. The FFMIA established a general requirement
for CFO agencies to “implement and maintain financial management systems that
comply substantially with federal financial management system requirements,
applicable federal accounting standards, and the United States Government Standard
General Ledger at the transaction level.” The 1996 law requires auditors to report on
agency compliance with these requirements, and agency heads to correct deficiencies
within certain time periods. The law also requires the OMB director and the15
Comptroller General in GAO to make annual status reports to Congress.
New CFO Positions.In addition, three new CFO positions have been
created. These additions, however, differ somewhat from the group of the 24 CFO
positions previously established. In 1993, the law creating the Corporation for
National and Community Service (CNCS) provided for a Chief Financial Officer, to
be appointed by the President, with advice and consent of the Senate; the listing of
duties for the CFO includes some language identical to that found in 31 USC 902,
12OMB, “Most Ever — 21 Agencies — Earn Auditors’ Approval,” news release 2003-05,
Feb. 6, 2003. Available electronically at [http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/pubpress/
13David M. Walker, Fiscal Year 2002 U.S. Government Financial Statements: Sustained
Leadership and Oversight Needed for Effective Implementation of Financial Management
Reform, Testimony before the House Subcommittee on Government Efficiency and
Financial Management, April 8, 2003. GAO-03-572T, p. 2.
14Enacted as Title VIII in the Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act for FY1997; 110
Stat. 3009-389; 31 U.S.C. 3512 note.
15For the most recent report in the series, see U.S. General Accounting Office, Financial
Management: FFMIA Implementation Necessary to Achieve Accountability, GAO Report
03-31 (Washington: October 2002). OMB provides a composite report on material
weaknesses reported by auditors in an appendix to the annual financial management status
report; OMB also provides a compilation of agency FMFIA reports in this annual report
(pp. 37-38 of report for 2001, cited above).
but other provisions are not the same.16 In 1999, a provision in the Treasury and
General Government Appropriations Act, 2000 created the position of Chief
Financial Officer within the Executive Office of the President (EOP), to be appointed
or designated by the President, with the same authority and duties as other CFOs “to
the extent the President determines appropriate and in the interests of the United
States.”17 Therefore, the CFO in the EOP is also distinct from those in the 24 CFO
agencies, although the provisions were codified as a separate section of the CFO
chapter.18 Both the CFO in the CNCS and CFO in the EOP are members of the CFO
The Homeland Security Act of 2002 provided for a third new CFO position.20
Unlike the appointment procedure for CFOs in other cabinet-level departments, the
CFO in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is to be appointed by the
President with no Senate confirmation requirement. With respect to specific duties
and responsibilities of the CFO for DHS, Sec. 103 (e) Performance of Specific
Functions states: “Subject to the provisions of this Act, every officer of the
Department [the CFO included] shall perform the functions specified by law for the
officials office or prescribed by the Secretary.”21 The law makes no reference to the
CFO Act or to chapter 9 of Title 31. In addition, unlike all the other CFOs, who
report directly to the agency head, the CFO for DHS may report to the Secretary, or
to “another official of the Department, as the Secretary may direct.” 22
New Laws in the 107th Congress
In addition to the legislation calling for a CFO position in the newly created
Homeland Security Department, the 107th Congress enacted two other laws with
implications for improving federal financial management.
Accountability of Tax Dollars Act of 2002.The Accountability of Tax23
Dollars Act further amended the Chief Financial Officers Act, extending the
requirements for preparation of audited financial statements to most executive branch
agencies. Under certain circumstances OMB may exempt agencies with budgets
under $25 million from the auditing requirement for financial statements in a given
16P.L. 103-82, 107 Stat. 882, 42 U.S.C. 12651f.
17P.L. 106-58, Sec. 638, 113 Stat. 475.
1831 U.S.C. 901(c)(1)-(4).
19According to the Council’s web site, there were 26 agency members as of March 2003.
Members listed came from the 24 CFO Act agencies, absent the Federal Emergency
Management Agency, apparently because of its transfer to the new Homeland Security
Department. Also included were OMB, EOP, and CNCS. See [http://www.cfoc.gov],
visited May 27, 2003.
20P.L. 107-296, Sec. 103; 116 Stat. 2145.
21Ib i d .
22Ibid., Sec. 702, 116 Stat. 2219.
23P.L. 107-289, 116 Stat. 2049. Nov. 7, 2002.
fiscal year. The OMB director must annually notify designated congressional
committees of any such exemptions and the reasons for each (Sec. 2). A
memorandum from the OMB director regarding requirements of the new law listed
78 executive agencies and commissions now subject to coverage (in addition to the
prior 24 CFO agencies). The director also exercised the provision in the law to waive
the requirement during an initial transition period, allowing agencies not having
prepared audited financial statements in the past to have an exemption for FY2002.24
In the same memorandum the director noted that the newly covered agencies,
along with the 24 CFO agencies, will all be subject to the provisions of OMB
Bulletin 01-09, Form and Content of Agency Financial Statements, beginning with
FY2003.25 This bulletin requires agencies to consolidate their audited financial
statements and other financial and performance reports into combined Performance
and Accountability Reports and accelerates the deadlines for submission. Previously
CFO agencies had the deadline of 150 days after the end of the fiscal year (i.e., early
March) to submit the reports, but the due date for the combined FY2002 reports was
moved up to February 1, 2003. Next year the reports covering FY2003 will be due
by January 30, 2004. Then beginning with FY2004, the reports will be due by
November 15, just six weeks after the close of the fiscal year. Two agencies, the
Department of the Treasury and the Social Security Administration, submitted their
FY2002 reports within 45 days of the end of fiscal year, meeting the new deadline
two years ahead of schedule.
Improper Payments Information Act of 2002. The Improper Payments26th
Information Act was also enacted toward the end of the 107 Congress. This law
requires federal agencies to identify programs that are vulnerable to improper
payments and to estimate annually the amount of underpayments and overpayments
made by these programs; the estimates are to be reported to Congress by March 31
following the end of the fiscal year. “Improper payments” include any payments that
should not have been made or were made in an incorrect amount (payments to
ineligible recipients, for ineligible service, duplicate payments or for services not
received, or that do not account for credit for applicable discounts). For any program
where improper payments are estimated to to exceed $10 million, the agency head
is to include a report on actions being taken to reduce the improper payments.
President’s Management Agenda
In addition to these recent legislative actions, the President’s Management
Agenda represents an ongoing effort in the executive branch for “improving27
management and performance in the federal government.” One of five government-
24OMB, “Requirements of the Accountability of Tax Dollars Act of 2002,” Memorandum
for Heads of Selected Executive Agencies from Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr., Dec. 6, 2002.
25OMB, Form and Content of Agency Financial Statements, Bulletin No. 01-09, Sept. 25,
26P.L. 107-300, 116 Stat. 2350, Nov. 26, 2002.
27U.S. Office of Management and Budget, The President’s Management Agenda — FY2002
wide initiatives coming under the rubric of the Agenda is improved financial
Aspects of the Financial Management Initiative. With respect to the
financial performance initiative, there is concern with enhancing the quality and
timeliness of financial information. A central element here is the accelerated
timetable for submission of the audited financial statements, as described above. To
assist in working toward production of agency financial statements just six weeks
after the end of the fiscal year, agencies are now required to produce interim financial
statements during the fiscal year, and, as noted above, submit their audited financial
statements with their annual performance reports in a combined performance and
A second focus involves reducing erroneous payments, usually overpayments
of benefits, akin to improper payments, as recently addressed in the Improper
Payments Information Act. In an initial effort to estimate erroneous payments in
major benefit programs, prior to enactment of the new law, 15 agencies reported to
OMB their estimates of erroneous payments for 2001, which totaled over $30 billion.
The largest estimated amounts reported included $12.1 billion for erroneous
payments in Medicare, $9.2 billion for Earned Income Tax Credit, $3.3 billion for
housing subsidy programs, and $1.6 billion for Supplemental Security Income.
According to the discussion in the budget, “Program-wide erroneous payment
estimates can only help stem the loss to the federal government in waste, fraud, and
abuse — too much of which is taking place without an accounting.”29
The third area of major emphasis for the financial performance initiative entails
strengthening asset management. Financial statements suggest that the federal
government owns some $700 billion in assets, consisting of property, plant, and
equipment, inventories and related properties, and loans receivable. The assets
reported in the balance sheet are not comprehensive, however, since national defense
assets and land holdings are not captured. Improving asset management is integral
to efforts to improve financial management.30
(Washington: OMB, 2001), p. 1. Subsequently referred to as Agenda. For an overview, see
CRS Report RS21416, The President’s Management Agenda: A Brief Introduction, by
Virginia A. McMurtry. For a more extended review, see CRS Report RL31409, The
President’s Management Agenda, by Ronald C. Moe and Henry B. Hogue. A discussion
providing a status report for the respective initiatives in the Agenda was included in the
President’s budget submission for FY2004. See U.S. Office of Management and Budget,
Fiscal Year 2004 Budget of the U.S. Government (Washington: GPO, 2003), “Governing
with Accountability,” pp. 35-46. For an online update about developments related to Agenda
initiatives, see [http://www.results.gov].
28The four other governmentwide initiatives include strategic management of human capital,
competitive sourcing, expanded electronic government, and budget and performance
29OMB, Fiscal Year 2004 Budget of the U.S. Government, p. 41.
30Ib i d .
Assessing Progress. A “Management Scorecard” to measure progress on
the five governmentwide Agenda initiatives previewed in the President’s budget
submission for FY2003; subsequently it has been updated on a quarterly basis by
OMB. The scorecard uses a traffic-light motif of green for success, yellow for mixed
results, and red for unsatisfactory. For each initiative, there are multiple “standards
for success,” or core criteria which an agency must meet in order to get a green
rating. There are likewise listings for each initiative of conditions amounting to
“fatal flaws”; if an agency displays any one of these, it receives red. A yellow grade
applies when an agency is free of red conditions and has achieved some but not all
of the core criteria.
The four core criteria for “getting to green” on the improving financial
performance initiative are as follows:
!financial management systems meet federal financial management system
requirements and applicable federal accounting and transaction standards as
reported by the agency head;
!accurate and timely financial information;
!integrated financial and performance management systems supporting day-to-
day operations; and
!unqualified and timely audit opinions on the annual financial statements; no
material internal control weaknesses reported by the auditors.31
On the most recent scorecard, reflecting status on March 31, 2003, only one
agency, the National Science Foundation, had met all the core criteria and received
a grade of green for improving financial performance. Six agencies received yellow,
while 19 were accorded red, indicating failure on at least one of the requisite
In addition to the current status grades on the scorecard, agencies are also given
a progress score for each initiative: green for implementation proceeding as planned,
yellow for some slippage, and red warning of an initiative in serious jeopardy. Most
agencies received higher marks for progress than for current status. With respect to
improving financial performance, 19 received green, five yellow, and only one red.33
OMB hopes that status grades for agencies will at least move to yellow by July 1,
Possible Policy Concerns. The general objective of improving financial
performance in the federal government is noncontroversial. Likewise, virtually no
31OMB, Performance and Management Assessments (Washington: GPO, 2003), p. 5. This
volume was part of the President’s budget submission for FY2004.
32For the March 31, 2003, scorecard, an electronic version is available at [http://
www.r e sul t s .gov/ a ge nda/ s cor ecar d.ht ml ] .
33Ibid. The Department of Homeland Security was not graded on progress, having just been
34Jason Peckenpaugh, “OMB Plans Top-Level Pressure to Move Agencies out of ‘Red’,”
GovExec.com Daily Briefing, May 27, 2003.
criticism has been directed to the major components of the initiative delineated so
far. Striving toward more timely and accurate financial information, reducing
erroneous payments made by the government, and bringing greater order to the
management of federal assets appear beyond reproach.
Legislative action on the two financial management measures in the 107th
Congress, previously discussed, might be viewed as a congressional “endorsement”
of a sort for two of the three components of the initiative. The Accountability of Tax
Dollars Act, by expanding the audited financial statements requirement to over 75
more agencies in the executive branch, arguably conveyed support for the goal of
timely and accurate financial information. The Improper Payments Information Act
provided a statutory mandate for collecting information already underway voluntarily
in some agencies via the erroneous payment component of the initiative. It should be
noted, however, that expanding the agency coverage of audited financial statements
and reducing instances of incorrect payments had both received congressional
attention in the 106th Congress as well, prior to announcement by President Bush of
In order to reap full benefits from more timely and accurate financial data, some
say, such information needs to be taken into account by government decision makers,
both within the executive branch and Congress. The financial statements may prove
of interest for various facets of congressional oversight. Likewise, some say, the
clearer identification of overpayments and underpayments may lead to administrative
actions to correct deficiencies in program implementation. At the same time
Congress may use the information for oversight hearings or for consideration of
possible amendments in the authorizing legislation to remedy existing statutory
weaknesses which may have become evident.
The Accountability of Tax Dollars Act of 2002 and the Improper Payments
Information Act of 2002 constitute the latest in a series of financial management
reform measures enacted in the last 25 years. The improving financial performance
initiative in the President’s Management Agenda has focused attention in the
executive branch on meeting the core criteria for achieving a green mark on the
scorecard. While 19 agencies received a green score for progress on the financial
performance initiative, only one has received green for current status of financial
performance by meeting all four of the core criteria as of March 31, 2003.
Despite OMB’s recent concern with improving federal financial management,
much remains to be done before all agencies comply with the four core requirements.
For example, the first criterion stipulates that agency heads must be able to report that
their financial management systems meet federal management system requirements
35For example, H.R. 5521 (106th Congress), the Accountability of Tax Dollars Act of 2000,
was an earlier version of the measure enacted in 2002. Also see U.S. Congress, Senate
Committee on Governmental Affairs, Report of Senator Fred Thompson , Chairman..., onthnd
Management Challenges Facing the New Administration, committee print, 106 Cong., 2
sess. (Washington: GPO, 2000), p. 3, regarding the problem of overpayments.
and applicable federal accounting and transaction standards. Since 1982, pursuant
to the Federal Managers’ Financial Integrity Act, agency heads have been reporting
annually on nonconformance with governmentwide financial systems requirements.
According to the reports covering fiscal year 2001, there were 191 instances of
nonconformance in the 24 CFO agencies at the beginning, and 188 at the end of the
year. The bulk of these (153) were reported by the Defense Department, but after 20
years of the annual reporting, more than half of the agencies reported instances of
nonconformance.36 Continuing emphasis from OMB, along with attentive
congressional oversight, may encourage agencies to persevere in the task of
improving financial performance, so as to arrive at compliance with the four criteria.
36OMB, Financial Management Status Report and Government-wide 5-Year Financial
Management Plan, May 1, 2002, p. 38. Available electronically at [http://www.
whitehouse.gov/ omb/financial/fm_reports.html ].