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The Future of Federal Financial Management

Transformation Stories

We call it data visualization.
For citizens, it's eye opening.

"With the DATA Act, we can now identify the geographic location of grants and combine that data with employment and census data to evaluate the true impact of our agency's programs."

Tim is the CFO of the Small Business Administration and a 20-year financial management professional. He is bringing together financial, performance, and award data to understand the true impact of small business development programs. He is redefining the role of the CFO.

"It all began with the DATA Act. The DATA Act required us to report on the geographic location where SBA loans and grants are awarded. This enabled us to link the expense of SBA programs with a broad range of economic and administrative data to create a more complete picture of how SBA programs are affecting a locality’s employment rate and economic health."

There is a new emphasis on program evaluation at the SBA. By combining cost analysis and performance management, the agency is evaluating whether its programs are achieving their intended results. The SBA now has an active community of practice where managers explore the use of evidence and evaluation to make more informed decisions about policy, strategy, and resource management.

This has changed the role of the agency's CFO and finance staff. Today, Tim is looking for ways to perform the routine transaction processing of a finance office most efficiently. "By shifting from low-value to high-value work, more of my staff can perform the analyses that will maximize the SBA’s effectiveness in enabling the health and vitality of small business."

This chart shows federal financial management maturity levels. The chart illustrates a stair-step progression from lowest to highest, and shows that the higher financial management maturity climbs, the more it can focus on data-driven decisions to improve performance. At a lower level of maturity, the focus is on processing and operations. Each step represents a level. The first level is core budget and accounting operations. The second is financial and regulatory controls. The third is data management and analytics. The fourth is communicating results. The fifth is strategic planning and mission support.

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Last modified 02/25/19