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The Future of Federal Financial Management

Advancing the FM Vision with Action: Providing a Balanced View of Federal Finances Using GTAS

A financial report should not be a balancing act. Let’s talk about strengthening federal financial reporting through GTAS, the short name for the Governmentwide Treasury Account Symbol Adjusted Trial Balance System.

Why do we need GTAS? We need it for a balanced view of federal finances. GTAS is designed to help improve the quality of federal financial data. Good data is a benefit because it provides information more quickly and reduces the audit burden.

Today, audit data from more than 150 federal entities and audit closing packages from 40 of the largest entities are compiled to create the Financial Report of the United States. The report provides the President, Congress, and the American people with a comprehensive view of the federal government's finances. The report shows the federal government’s financial position and condition, revenues and costs, assets and liabilities, and other obligations and commitments.

GTAS holds federal entities accountable by requiring 11 monthly GTAS filings each year. These new reporting requirements for agencies allow Treasury to perform month-to-month analyses of the agencies’ data, which helps alleviate unexpected audit findings down the road. By identifying issues earlier in the fiscal year, Treasury and agencies are able to address problems earlier, alleviating the year-end reporting burden. GTAS also supports Office of Management and Budget submission requirements.

Over the next few years, Fiscal Service will pilot a trial balance audit using GTAS data. The pilot’s goal is to determine whether agency financial reports can be eliminated in developing the Financial Report of the United States. The potential payback could be a significant reduction in time and cost government-wide – and allow audits to focus on high risk agencies and programs.

The bottom line? GTAS results in more accurate financial reporting and gives a balanced view of federal finances, with major potential benefits down the road by making balancing easier for federal entities. That’s good for everyone, from federal financial managers to American taxpayers.

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Last modified 02/07/19