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Government and People
United States General Accounting Office
Washington, D.C. 20548
Accounting and Information Management Division
The Honorable Ernest J. Istook, Jr.
Subject: District of Columbia: New Financial Management System
Dear Mr. Chairman:
The House Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on the District of Columbia has had a continuing interest in the District's efforts to acquire a new financial management system. On March. 3, 1999, we briefed your office as part of a series of assignments focusing on the status of the acquisition progress of the District's new System of Accounting and Reporting (SOAR).
This letter provides additional data responding to follow-up inquiries on training attendance, contract costs, software applications, the implementation of SOAR at the University of the District of Columbia, and transition assistance.
Question 1: What are the training attendance statistics for SOAR by agency?
GAO Response: Training attendance statistics for the period January 1998 through April 1999, as provided by the SOAR Deputy Program Director, indicate the following:
The following table provides a breakdown of reported attendance by District agencies for SOAR training courses.
Table II: Reported Training Attendance by District Agency for the Period January 1998 Through April 1999
Source: District of Columbia Office of the Chief Financial Officer, SOAR Program Office. We did not independently verify this information.
The SOAR Program Director told us that the overall 42 percent nonattendance rate was unacceptable. He pointed out that training costs are currently being financed centrally under the umbrella contract with KPMG. He stated that a number of Initiatives are being considered to improve attendance, for example, having agencies absorb the coat of the training when their employees fail to show up for scheduled training. Also, District officials told us that they plan to pilot a job certification program for employees in financial positions at one District agency this summer. Under this program, employees would be certified for financial positions based on training and testing.
Question 2: What are the reported contract costs and total hours by deliverables for SOAR?
GAO Response: District contact agreements for SOAR Implementation total approximately $26 million ($21 million for the contract with KPMG and $5 million for James Martin Government Consulting) for the period 1997 through 2002. The SOAR implementation effort includes approximately 70 deliverable work products for KPMG. The following table reflects the reported contract amounts and total hours for the deliverables in the various phases of the project.
Table 2 Reported Contract Amts. for SOAR Deliverables
Source: District of Columbia Office of the Chief Financial Officer. SOAR Program Office. We did not independently verify this information.
As of December 21, 1998, the SOAR Program Office had requested additional funding for six contract modifications totaling $84 million. The modifications were to support (1) knowledge transfer at the minor agencies through fiscal year 2000, (2) centralized transition assistance for remaining agencies through fiscal year 2000, (3) interfaces for remaining agencies and feeder systems, (4) SOAR implementation at the University of the District of Columbia, (5) specific knowledge transfer at D.C. Public schools, and (6) the implementation of the Advanced Purchasing Inventory Control system (ADPICS) modules for the Office of the Chief Financial Officer.
Question 3: Which applications of the vendor's financial management package is the District of Columbia government implementing?
GAO Response: The District purchased 4 of the 13 available applications in the vendor's mainframe and client/server financial management product line for state and local governments. These applications may be used separately or as part of an overall system depending on the client's current environment, objectives, and constraints. The SOAR Program Director told us that the applications purchased by the District incorporate both mainframe and client/server products to meet its requirements as outlined in the request for proposal. The 13 applications available in the vendor's product line from which the District could have selected are described below.
The mainframe financial software includes the following:
The client/server financial software
includes the following:
As shown in the following table, the District has installed and plans to fully implement three of these applications and a portion of a fourth.
Table 3: KPMG Applications Installed by the District of Columbia for SOAR
Source: KPMG Technical Support Services.
Question 4: What is the cost of the implementation of SOAR at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) and what are the components of that cost?
GAO Response. Originally, UDC was acquiring a separate system that specialized in higher education accounting. Subsequently, UDC determined that SOAR could satisfy its requirements and opted to install SOAR rather than a separate new system. The District negotiated with KPMG under the umbrella of the original contract. The cost for this increased functionality is estimated at about $1 million. The costs are not-to-exceed amounts and the labor categories and rates are the same as those for the ongoing District-wide implementation of SOAR. KPMG developed a two-phased work plan that includes project management and systems and process integration. The components of the cost are based on the following:
Question 5: Which District agencies do not plan to utilize the new financial management system, and why?
GAO Response: It is our understanding, based on discussions with the SOAR project office and review of implementation documents, such as the project plan, agency rollout schedule, and training plan, that SOAR will be implemented in all District agencies.
Question 6: What types of resources are dedicated to transition assistance?
GAO Response: According to District officials, SOAR users have several avenues for problem solving relating to the operation of SOAR. Users may use reference material (tool kits, SOAR instruction manuals, and training materials), contact the SOAR Help Desk and obtain assistance from the Technical Infrastructure SWAT Team. This team works on an adjunct basis to the Help Desk; and its primary function is to focus on solving critical and urgent infrastructure problems related to current financial Systems implementation. The SWAT team presently consists of 16 members from the following offices:
We conducted our work from March 1999 through May 1999 in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. We requested comments on a draft of this letter from the District's Chief Financial Officer. The Chief Financial Officer provided clarifying comments that we incorporated into this letter as appropriate.
We are sending copies of this letter to Representative James P. Moran, Ranking Minority Member, Subcommittee on the District of Columbia, House Committee on Appropriations; Representative Thomas Davis, Chairman, and Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton, Ranking Minority Member, Subcommittee on the District of Columbia, House Committee on Government Reform; Senator Kay Bailey Hutchins, Chairwoman, Subcommittee on the District of Columbia, Senate Committee on Appropriations; Senator Richard Durbin, Ranking Minority Member, Subcommittee on the District of Columbia, Senate Committee on Appropriations, and Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, Restructuring and the District of Columbia Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs; and Senator George Voinovich, Chairman, Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, Restructuring and the District of Columbia, Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs. We are also sending copies to the Honorable Anthony A. Williams, the Mayor of the District of Columbia, and Valerie Holt, Chief Financial Officer, District of Columbia. Copies will be made available to others upon request.
If you or your staff have further questions or would like to discuss our responses in more detail, please contact me or Norma Samuel at 202-512-4476. Key contributors to this assignment were John C. Martin and Linda Elmore.
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