Core Competencies for Financial System Analysts in the Federal Government A Joint Project of the Financial Systems and Human Resources Committees of the Chief Financial Officers Council and the Joint Financial Management Improvement Program CC-4 September 1997 OQ~f6~>~/5lcrt/6 Foreword Core Competencies for Financial System Analysts in the Federal Government is the fourth document in a series of core competencies publications developed jointly by the Chief Financial Officers Council and the Joint Financial Management Improvement Program. These documents include the: Framework for Core Competencies for Financial Management Personnel in the Federal Government, which established core competencies for accountants, budget analysts, and financial managers; Core Competencies in Financial Management for Program Managers in the Federal Government; and Core Competencies in Financial Management for Information Technology Personnel in the Federal Government. The Financial System Analyst, working in cooperation with Information Technology Personnel, plays a crucial role in developing and maintaining effective financial management systems, as prescribed in three major pieces of legislation--the Chief Financial Officers Act (CFOs Act) of 1990, the Information Technology Management Reform Act (ITMRA) of 1996, and the Federal Financial Management Improvement Act (FFMIA) of 1996. The CFOs Act requires agency CFOs to develop and maintain agency financial management systems that comply with applicable accounting principles, standards, and requirements; internal control standards; and requirements of OMB, the Department of the Treasury, and others. The ITMRA requires agencies to establish goals, ensure performance measurements are prescribed, benchmark agency processes, analyze missions and revise mission- related and administrative processes before investing in information technology, and ensure information security policies, procedures, and practices are adequate. The FFMIA requires each agency to implement and maintain financial management systems that comply substantially with Federal financial management systems requirements, applicable Federal accounting standards, and the U.S. Standard General Ledger. The Financial Systems Analyst is a key person on whom the CFO depends for developing and maintaining effective financial management systems. This document contains core competencies, or the knowledge, skills, and abilities, considered necessary for the financial system analyst to meet the challenges in today's changing environment. For each of the core competencies, the degree of knowledge, skill, and ability required is reflected for entry (level 1), mid (level 2), and senior (level 3) positions in terms of low, medium, and high. The sources for developing the knowledge, skills, and abilities are discussed in the narrative preceding the matrix. Contents Foreword Introduction Core Competencies for Financial System Analysts 2 Financial Management and Accounting Principles and 3 Practices Federal Financial System Requirements 4 Financial Management Controls 5 Business Process Analysis and Redesign 6 Knowledge of System and Information Technology 7 Project Management 8 General 10 Specialized Knowledge Required for Financial 11 Systems Professionals .. Introduction Background The impetus for developing core competencies began in 1994 following a governmentwide training symposium, sponsored by the Chief Financial Officers Council and the JFMIP, to share information and identify priorities for human resource development. The priorities identified at the symposium included developing core competencies for financial management personnel, which would assist CFOs and managers in obtaining and retaining a highly qualified workforce with knowledge, and know-how. The Framework for Core Competencies for Financial Management Personnel in the Federal Government discusses the rationale, in broader terms, for developing core competencies. In part, this Framework document states the time has come for the Government to ensure that there is uniformity and consistency, to the extent feasible, in human resource development. The Financial Systems and Human Resources Committees under the CFO Council, working in conjunction with the JFMIP established an interagency team to develop the core competencies for financial system analysts. A companion document on core competencies in financial management for computer system specialists is concurrently being developed by an interagency team. Both teams worked closely with one another, since the coordination between the two disciplines of financial management and information technology is needed to ensure the implementation of a successful financial management system within the organization. For these core competencies to be most effective, management from all disciplines need to fully support and promote the use of these documents on core competencies within their organizations. To the maximize benefits throughout the government from using core competencies, agencies are encouraged to share their best practices in education and training with other departments, and with JFMIP for posting to FinanceNet. Purpose of this Document This document is intended to be used as a reference tool and guide for financial system analysts at all levels (as reflected in the matrix identifying the core competencies) and in any organizational component performing financial management functions. As new financial management systems are being developed to meet the informational needs of agency management, central agencies requirements, Congress and other outside parties, this document will help foster better communication among the financial management and information technology communities, who must work together to develop and implement a system that will provide the financial information needed. Core Competencies for Financial System Analysts The core competencies for Financial System Analysts identify the knowledge, skills, and abilities considered necessary to perform effectively in today's rapidly changing environment. The core competencies are identified by the following levels: Level 1 Entry level: Typically consisting of introductory fundamental, basic, and routine activities; normally 1 to 3 years of experience as a financial system analyst. Level 2 Mid level: Consisting of applying proficiencies as a fully functional and experienced analyst; normally 2 to 4 years as a financial system analyst. Level 3 Senior level: Normally a team leader or supervisor, typically consisting of activities which address complex, expertise, program impact, or extended operations involving multiple organizations. The core competencies reflect the degree of knowledge, skills, and abilities required for a financial system analyst. The degree is identified as low, medium, or high within each level. For example, the degree of knowledge, skills, and abilities required of accounting by a financial system analyst is less than what one would expect for an accountant, and the rankings in section A of the matrix show them to be low to medium for the financial system analyst. In overall terms, the matrix reflects the progression expected as an individual moves from one level to the next. Training Resources For the competencies described in this document, there are numerous courses available within each agency, from established educational institutions, and from the many vendors in the business of professional education. Classroom instruction is very important in order to gain the essential principles and policies of various financial management processes and techniques. However, this knowledge must be reinforced with practical applications toward achieving these competencies. Financial system analysts will also benefit from management training in leadership, quality management, team management and oral and written communications in terms of facilitating their application of financial management principles. An excellent resource for financial system analysts to find the types of training to meet their specific needs is through the Internet. The FinanceNet address--http://www.financenet.gov/--provides access to the web pages that contain many of the course catalogs and training materials from both private and public sector organizations in the education and training business. Core Competencles (Knowledge of, Ability to Use, or Levels Learning Objectives Skill in Using) 1 23 A. Financial Management and Accounting Principles and Practices 1. Accounting concepts and principles L M M 1. Obtain general understanding of traditional accounting practices, operations, and procedures. L M M 2. Acquire knowledge on the different methods of accounting including accrual, obligation, and cost methods. 2. Federal accounting concepts and L M M Acquire general understanding of: standards o Federal accounting concepts and appropriation process. o Federal Financial Reporting. o Federal Financial/Accounting Standards. o Internal agency fund control practices. 3. Agency accounting policies and L M M Acquire knowledge of agency/organization: procedures o accounting policies and procedures o agency financial reporting Core Competencies (Knowledge of, Ability to Use, or Levels Learning Objectives Skill in Using) 1 2 3 B. Federal Financial System Requirements 1. Financial systems requirements issued L M H Acquire general understanding of: by central agencies o FMIP Framework for Federal Financial Systems o JFMIP Federal Financial System Requirements (FFMSR) o OMB Circular A-127 - Federal Financial Systems 2. Applicable legislative, administrative L M H Identify and interpret planning requirements resulting and regulatory requirements from major legislative and administrative changes as they apply to the incumbent's financial systems. o Treasury Financial Manual (TFM) o OMB Circulars 3. Working knowledge of functionalities L M H 1. Acquire basic understanding of the functional in agency financial systems process of financial systems being supported, e.g., payroll, accounts payable, etc. L M H 2. Acquire knowledge of agency accounting and related financial management and information systems through: o Interviews and discussions with agency financial systems professionals. o Review and analysis of agency application operations manuals and user manuals. 4. Understanding of agency financial L M H 1. Acquire general knowledge of the technical design systems architecture structure supporting the agency's financial systems. L M H 2. Acquire working knowledge of the functional system integration, e.g., core and feeder systems. 4 Core Competencies (Knowledge of, Ability to Use, or Levels Learning Objectives Skill in Using) C. Financial Management Controls 1. Management controls concepts and H H H 1. Acquire a general understanding of the importance principles of a strong system of management controls. M M H 2. Acquire an understanding of how management controls reasonably ensure that: o financial integrity is maintained for the recording of transactions and the recording of results. o transactions are executed in accordance with management's general or specific authorization. o resources are safeguarded against waste, loss, and misuse. 2. Establishing management controls M M H Identify and implement appropriate general controls and application controls. 3. Assessing, improving and correcting L M H Monitor and evaluate systems of management controls management controls with appropriate documentation, identify deficiencies, and assist in correcting deficiencies. Core Competencies (Knowledge of, Ability to Use, or Levels Learning Objectives Skill in Using) 1 2 3 D. Business Process Analysis and Redesign 1. Mission and functions of agency L M H Acquire knowledge of the agency/organization's and/or organization structure, mission, functions, and major components. 2. Agency's strategic plan L L H Obtain understanding of the Agency's Strategic Plan and the agency's strategy for change. 3. Evaluation of financial L M H Acquire knowledge of tools and techniques and the processes/systems ability to analyze processes and costs of specific practices and procedures. 4. Development of alternatives to L M H Acquire knowledge of tools and techniques and the improve/redesign processes/systems ability to reengineer/redesign business processes/systemsin order to achieve more efficient operations. Core Competencies (Knowledge of, Ability to Use, or Levels Learning Objectives Skill in Using) 1 2 3 E. Knowledge of System and Information Technology 1. Analyze and test off-the-shelf L H M 1. Acquire knowledge of available commercial off-the- software packages or other software shelf software packages. L H H 2. Relate functional requirements to commercial off- the-shelf software packages capabilities to eliminate as much customization as possible. 2. Systems design concepts L M M Acquire general knowledge of System Development Life Cycle. 3. Data management concepts L L M 1. Acquire knowledge of data stewardship responsibilities. L M H 2. Acquire knowledge of data architecture methodologies. L L L 3. Acquire knowledge of database administration. 4. System architecture concepts for L M M Acquire knowledge of system hardware and software, hardware, and telecommunications environment supporting agency elecommunications financial system. 5. Computer security requirements L M H 1. Acquire knowledge of functional security requirements for financial systems. L L L 2. Acquire general knowledge of technical security. 6. Continuity of operations (concept of L L L Acquire general knowledge of technical operation of backup and recovery) financial system, including production control concepts. Core Competencies (Knowledge of, Ability to Use, or Levels Learning Objectives Skill in Using) 1 23 F. Project Management 1. Project planning L M H 1. Acquire knowledge of structure of appropriations and other funds that support existing and future programs and the mission of the Agency and how fund management impacts on programs achievement and financial systems. L M H 2. Acquire knowledge of budget preparation process, strategies, and options for specific areas of responsibility on financial programs and systems according to prescribed format and specifications. L M H 3. Acquire knowledge of current and desirable accounting functions, policies, procedures, and financial system performance related to the project. 2. Project monitoring L H H Perform life cycle management on the development of a new or substantially modified system as a means of accomplishing its activities and tasks. 3. Acquisition management L M H 1. Administer and manage contracts for goods and services to ensure quality performance and prevent cost overruns. L M H 2. Acquire, monitor, control resources according to established specifications for the development and implementation of new or the modification of the existing financial systems. Core Competencies (Knowledge of, Ability to Use, or Levels Learning Objectives Skill in Using) 1 2 3 F. Project Management (con't) 4. Team building skills L M H 1. Demonstrate team-building techniques necessary to ensure a cohesive and productive workplace: o Possess the ability to integrate people from many disciplines into an effective team. o Be able to use basic coaching, brainstorming, directing, and delegating techniques and skills to foster teamwork and project success. o Possess the necessary skills to be able to negotiate effectively for materials, supplies, and services that are essential to the success of the project. L M H 2. Demonstrate conflict methods necessary to ensure that each project is completed on time and within budget: o Recognize the determinants of conflict and their timing in the project life cycle to enhance active participation and minimize unproductive conflict. M H H 3. Provide effective communication with all organizational levels to keep lines of communication open to minimize conflict. 5. Change management skills L M H Manage and control changes to existing financial systems and related organizational structures to reduce costs, increase benefits, and improve performance through change management techniques. Core Competencles (Knowledge of, Ability to Use, or Levels Learning Objectives Skill In Using) G. General 1. Mission and functions of central L L M Acquire knowledge of the roles and missions of the agencies central agencies and other service providers and how they interface with your agency. 2. Written communication H H H 1. Prepare routine memoranda and reports L H H 2. Prepare and/or review documentation in support of reports and/or systems requirements. L M H 3. Prepare and review complex reports and justifications for senior management. 3. Oral communication L H H 1. Give presentations including problems statements, recommendations, and project status. L M H 2. 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Core Competencies for Financial System Analysts in the Federal Government (Exposure Draft)
Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1997-09-01.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)