Federal Financial Management Changes in 2017: It Started in 2016

Financial dataIt was a big year for Federal Financial Management in 2016, and 2017 is shaping up to be another important year for all of you FMers out there. Here’s a two-part rundown of big changes in 2016 that will continue to affect our field in 2017—we’ve included quick tips and reminders for adapting to these changes, and resources for how to stay up to date in our ever-changing field.

1. Revisions to the Red Book: Principles of Federal Appropriations Law

What happened? In March 2016, GAO released revisions to the first and second chapters of the 4th edition of Red Book.

What changed? GAO stated it will no longer publish hard copies of the Red Book and will annually update the 4th edition once it is complete (likely to start updates in 2018).

What does this mean for 2017? Two big revisions in the Red Book involve resolving conflicts between statutes and unclear legislation. Here are some hints for making decisions in 2017:

  • Resolving Conflicts between Statutes. Yes, sometimes laws appear to conflict with other laws. What do you do? GAO has established a set of principles in resolving conflicts between statutes. Follow these in order: 1) Harmonize Different statutes, 2) Specific laws control general laws, and 3) Later laws prevail over earlier laws.
  • Unclear Legislation. And, sometimes we just do not understand the plain meaning of a law. What do you do? For unclear legislation, use legislative history. This refers to the body of documents from the time of introduction of a bill to the time of enactment and even afterwards. The order to follow is merely a guideline. Some may have greater weight than others. So, use the following sources of documentation: 1) Committee reports, 2) Floor debates, 3) Hearings, 4) Post-enactment statements, and 5) Development of statutory language.

What resources can get you up to speed (and keep you on top of) changes to the Red Book? Look for GAO to announce additional revised chapters throughout 2017, and enroll in our popular Appropriations Law Seminar.

2. Revised OMB Circular A-123

What happened? In July 2016, OMB published a long-awaited revision to OMB Circular A-123.

What changed? Agencies are now required to have Senior Management Councils overseeing internal control programs, ERM Programs including Risk Profiles, and rigorous documentation in internal controls assessments against more detailed internal control standards.

What does this mean for 2017? There a few deadlines to watch out for that will be here before you know it!

  • Due June 2, 2017: A risk profile developed in coordination with agency strategic reviews
  • Due: September 15, 2017: ERM assessments integrated with management evaluation of internal control as required by FMFIA

What resources can get you up to speed with the revised A-123? Download our complimentary webinar! And catch our follow-up blog post where we addressed questions from the audience.

Management Concepts now offers a revised Internal Controls course that will help you meet the 2017 deadlines and create an efficient organization.

The Federal workforce will see new challenges and opportunities throughout the year, and the Financial Management professionals will see the same workforce opportunities and challenges as everybody else. Stay up to date on Federal Financial Management skills and required knowledge by enrolling in training, and by subscribing to our blog!

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