CFOs Are Charting a Stormy Course – Survey
A survey has shown how CFOs use cost-cutting, performance management, and the drivers of high-performing organizations to help their agencies through financial storms while continuing to produce results for the American public.
The Association of Government Accountants (AGA) and Grant Thornton LLP today release the 17th annual survey of federal Chief Financial Officers (CFO). The AGA and Grant Thornton LLP collected responses from over 300 federal CFOs and their workforces, including in-person interviews with 115 senior executives and managers to produce the survey findings.
The current financial climate creates a challenging task for CFOs. The survey finds that one of the key ways the CFOs are weathering these storms is by nurturing and protecting their workforce. Another key finding is that the President’s Campaign to Cut Waste is a lot of work. Every President has a financial and management agenda, and CFOs understand that it is their job to implement it.
“Across all levels of government, we are seeing accountability professionals under constant pressure to contain costs and still produce results,” says Relmond Van Daniker, AGA’s Executive Director. “Because of the large amount of funding involved and its impact on the other levels of government, insights about federal finances are critical to understanding how government is going to respond effectively to these continuing pressures.”
The survey also found that CFOs have a strong culture in their organizations, and that culture aids both the offices and their agencies in achieving results. With smaller staffs driving up workload for the remaining staff, continuing pay freezes driving morale down, and elections making the federal workforce fair game for attacks, CFOs are going to need that strong culture to keep everyone focused on results.
“Federal agencies may have less funding available to them, but they are getting no relief from the need to provide high-quality services for the American people,” says Srikant Sastry, Managing Partner of Grant Thornton’s Global Public Sector. “Continuing budget cuts, employee pay freezes, late appropriations, the specter of sequester, and trillion dollar deficits make the CFOs job not for the faint of heart.”
Because the Campaign to Cut Waste does not strategically advance the mission of agencies, it sometimes diverts resources that could be used better elsewhere. CFOs organize and align their offices with the missions of their agencies so every CFO success is an agency success. The CFO workforce is not as optimistic as the CFOs about how they will weather the financial storms.