Budget and Financial Management

Progress and Agenda for the Future Gao ID: T-AIMD-96-80 April 23, 1996

A solid framework for improving the government's financial management has been established during the past six years. This framework consists of (1) the original Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990 and its expansion through the Government Management Reform Act of 1994; (2) the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board, created in 1990; and (3) measures to improve the budget process, such as the enactment of credit reform. The next step is to improve the federal budget process to take advantage of accurate and reliable financial information as the basis for sound budget and policy decisions. The Comptroller General urges reform in the following three areas: the budget process, accountability for costs and performance, and the use of improved reports to better inform policy and budget decisions. Improved financial management and reports are essential to improving the government's ability to account for taxpayer dollars. Continuing fiscal pressures will place a premium on the proper stewardship of increasingly scarce public resources. Recent efforts to improve federal financial reporting will, if properly implemented, redress long-standing weaknesses.

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