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Only one-third of financial execs satisfied with IT investments

Jul. 13, 2010 - 06:00AM   |  
By SEAN REILLY   |   Comments
Thirty-six percent of federal executives interviewed for an annual survey expressed at least some satisfaction with the return on their investments into information technology.
Thirty-six percent of federal executives interviewed for an annual survey expressed at least some satisfaction with the return on their investments into information technology. (Microsoft)

ORLANDO, Fla. Only about a third of federal financial managers say they are satisfied with the return on investments they have made in information technology aimed at improving their financial management.

Thirty-six percent of federal executives interviewed expressed at least some satisfaction with what their agencies were getting, while 30 percent were neutral and the remaining 34 percent were "not satisfied" or "not at all satisfied."

This was one finding of the latest annual survey of public-sector chief financial officers and other financial executives conducted by the Association of Government Accountants. The survey was unveiled at an AGA conference here today.

Also, more than half of federal financial executives believe that the reporting process for the annual audited financial statement needs a makeover.

The unscientific sampling draws on 135 interviews with state and federal financial management and audit executives, complemented by online survey responses from another 133 public-sector financial professionals.

Among the federal group, almost two-thirds of those surveyed said the cost of financial management operations had risen in the last two years. And for the most part, they saw the ensuing reports as valuable to other government officials, but not the general public.

A "clear majority want to see new [annual financial] statements, preparation processes and auditing procedures," the survey says.

For many, however, reporting requirements imposed by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act do not appear to be a heavy burden. Asked to estimate the percentage of time and resources those take up at their offices, almost three-quarters of federal respondents put the figure at 15 percent or less. Along with their state counterparts, an overwhelming majority expected the Recovery Act's detailed reporting requirements to become "the norm for all financial reporting."

Whatever the challenges, state and federal financial managers are mostly happy with their jobs, the survey results indicate, with 85 percent saying they enjoy the work "a lot" or "most of the time."

The survey was produced by AGA, the National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers, and Grant Thornton LLP.

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