New DoD ERPs can be harder to use than legacy systems
The new enterprise resource planning systems the Defense Department is relying on to achieve clean audits in many cases are more difficult for users than legacy systems, said Elizabeth McGrath, the DoD deputy chief management officer, before a Sept. 14 House panel.
"Although a nice new system sounds a lot easier than a legacy system, really there are a lot more internal controls and complexities," McGrath told the House Armed Services subcommittee on oversight and investigations.
The military departments face a fiscal 2014 Pentagon-imposed deadline to achieve an auditable statement of budgetary resources financial statement and a congressional deadline of fiscal 2017 to achieve full audit readiness.
The Air Force has concluded that its centerpiece ERP, the Defense Enterprise Accounting and Management System, won't be ready to meet the end-of-fiscal 2014 goal. It will utilize a mix of legacy systems and DEAMS combined with tighter process controls to meet it, said Marilyn Thomas, Air Force deputy assistant secretary for financial management and comptroller.
That approach may not be sustainable, however, Thomas said, stating that the Air Force needs to complete DEAMS "because we really need DEAMS to achieve full audit readiness in 2017 in a way that is sustainable."
And the department may not meet its audit readiness goals, warned Robert Hale, the Pentagon comptroller, telling the subcommittee that he is reasonably confident, but not absolutely sure that the DoD will make it.
There may be unanticipated problems, he said, and "uncertainty in the budgetary world" could cause delays. "If we go through sequester, it will both affect the resources and drain an enormous amount of time," Hale said.
During his opening statement, he made a plea for "a return to a more orderly budgetary process," stating that congressionally initiated government spending showdowns have required time-consuming planning efforts. "Sometimes I think I spend most of my time planning for things I hope don't happen," Hale said.
- go to the hearing webpage (prepared testimonies and webcast available)
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