By Rob Starr, Content Manager, Big4.com
The New Year is starting out well for Accenture. Earlier this month, Accenture Federal Services announced it had been awarded two contracts from The U.S. Department of the Navy to help the Navy in its push for financial auditability. Vince Vlasho, who is the Managing Director for Accenture’s Navy business unit, recently spoke with Big4.com about his firm’s involvement with this critical initiative.
He started his talk with us by supplying an overview of how his company came to be involved.
“Fairly recently, Secretary (of Defense) Panetta issued a mandate that he wanted to get the Department of Defense to an audit ready state,” Vlasho said, going on to mention there were two key milestone updates required. The first was to have the Statement of Budgetary Resources audit ready by the end of 2014 and the second was to have the rest of the financial statements audit ready in 2017.”
Vlasho went on to say that the Navy was one step ahead of Panetta’s announcement.
“The Navy’s program is called the Financial Improvement Program (FIP). It’s really a program where the Navy is taking a look at business processes, data, information systems and internal controls so they can understand what an auditor might look for,” Vlasho said.
To that end, Accenture was recently awarded two contracts totaling more than $30 million to help with these processes. The first is a three-year, $25.5 million contract to work with six commands and the Marine Corps to prepare this audit readiness. The second is a three-year, $5.37 million Federal Information System Controls Audit Manual (FISCAM) contract. Its job is to evaluate the design and operating effectiveness of IT general computer controls and business process automated controls for the Navy Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system.
Vlasho, who graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and was an active duty naval intelligence officer prior to joining Accenture, provided a general example of how the Navy’s audit readiness goals could be reached with help from these contracts.
“We’re going through and helping them test processes, to help them understand what controls an auditor might be looking for when evaluating an invoice, for example, to make sure it is valid and paid properly in a timely fashion,” he said.
The FISCAM review of the Navy ERP will help the Navy assess General Accounting Office compliance and both contracts support the overall FIP program.
Vlasho also used the invoice example to highlight how other important criteria would be used as benchmarks.
“They (auditors) might come in and look at the contract the invoice is posted against to see if the paperwork lines up with how the contract is set up and its structure. Did the person who signed off on the invoice have the appropriate authorities? Does the invoice tie into the accounting lines set out in the contract?”
Navy’s ERP system
Some of Accenture’s other work entails looking at the Navy’s ERP system against 266 information system controls from FISCAM.
Vlasho summed up the whole operation by saying there was a high degree of teamwork needed.
“We have teams dedicated to each of the commands,” he said. “They’re working with these commands to identify internal controls an auditor might look at and making sure those commands have the right documentation and controls in place,” he said, adding Accenture had a great team .
“I’m very proud of the results that we’ve seen to date,” he said.