oversight

Department of Housing and Urban Development: Status of Efforts to Implement an Integrated Financial Management System

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 2003-04-09.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

United States General Accounting Office
Washington, DC 20548



          April 9, 2003

          The Honorable Paul S. Sarbanes
          Ranking Minority Member,
          Committee on Banking, Housing and
           Urban Affairs
          United States Senate

          The Honorable Jack Reed
          Ranking Minority Member,
          Subcommittee on Housing and
           Transportation
          Committee on Banking, Housing and
           Urban Affairs
          United States Senate

          Subject:   Department of Housing and Urban Development: Status of Efforts to
                     Implement an Integrated Financial Management System

          Weaknesses in the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) financial
          management systems have been a long-standing challenge for the department and
          have contributed to our designating two of its major programs areas as high-risk and
          the financial management information systems in particular as a major management
          challenge. While some progress has been made, both we and the HUD Office of the
          Inspector General (IG) have reported extensively on weaknesses related to HUD’s
          financial management systems. In audits of HUD’s consolidated financial statements,
          the IG has consistently identified several material internal control weaknesses
          resulting from inadequate financial management systems. In recent audit reports, the
          HUD OIG also noted that the completion of the development of adequate financial
          management systems is the most critical need faced by HUD in improving its
          financial management control environment. Responsive financial management
          systems are particularly critical to HUD’s ability to meet its mission, deliver key
          services, and establish sufficient management control over its operations.

          In light of these issues, you asked that we (1) summarize HUD’s past efforts to
          implement an integrated financial management system, (2) identify the challenges
          HUD faces with its current financial management systems, and (3) determine the
          status of HUD’s current efforts to identify and address its financial management
          systems needs.




                                                            GAO-03-447R HUD Systems Status
Results in Brief


HUD’s past efforts have not resulted in the implementation of a modern integrated
financial management system to carry out its core accounting functions and meet
other needs. HUD’s current Central Accounting and Program System (HUDCAPS), as
implemented in fiscal year 1999, is the product of its Financial System Integration
(FSI) effort, which began in 1991. While this effort did result in the development and
deployment of various modules and systems to support several key programs and
processes, it did not result in an integrated financial management system, which was
a stated goal of the project. In 1998 we reported1 that even though HUD spent
hundreds of millions of dollars, the FSI effort was not fully successful because of the
lack of (1) adequate project management, (2) finalized project plans that provided an
integration roadmap, and (3) adequate cost-benefit analyses that properly estimated
the costs to achieve the objectives of the plan and how long it would take to achieve
these objectives.

HUD uses HUDCAPS as its core financial management and general ledger system.
However, this system is not efficient, has become outdated, and has high annual
maintenance costs. HUDCAPS requires numerous manual adjustments at year-end
and cannot provide HUD managers with accurate, timely, and useful information to
manage the agency on a day-to-day basis. HUDCAPS is not used across the
department as originally intended by the FSI effort. The Federal Housing
Administration (FHA) and the Government National Mortgage Association (Ginnie
Mae) continue to maintain their own general ledger/financial management systems
that are not integrated with HUDCAPS. HUD also continues to maintain the Program
Accounting System (PAS), which it uses to perform funds control and other functions
for the department. To help address ongoing deficiencies with its general ledger,
FHA recently implemented the general ledger module of a commercial-off-the-shelf
(COTS) software package that automates the interface with HUDCAPS. However, it
is too early to determine whether this new general ledger system will address FHA’s
reported deficiencies in this area.

HUD is currently in the early stages of deciding whether to upgrade HUDCAPS or
acquire and deploy a new financial management system. According to HUD officials,
the department has submitted a procurement request for the initial study of the HUD
Integrated Financial Management Improvement Project (HIFMIP). The study is
expected to document and analyze business functions of the department and the
feasibility, risks, and costs of core systems options. Since September 2002, HUD’s
plans for awarding a contract to conduct a feasibility study have been postponed
twice. The latest delay came with the recent hiring of an Assistant Chief Financial
Officer for Systems (ACFO), who made a decision to broaden the scope of the Needs
Statement to include the financial management needs of FHA and Ginnie Mae, which
we view as a sound decision. Proper planning is an essential element to the success
of the project and therefore to HUD’s effort to correct its long-standing financial
management systems problems. HUD now plans to award the contract for the study

1
U.S. General Accounting Office, HUD Information Systems: Improved Management Practices
Needed to Control Integration Cost and Schedule, GAO/AIMD-99-25 (Washington, D.C.: Dec.18, 1998).



Page 2                                                    GAO-03-447R HUD Systems Status
in May 2003 and to complete the study by July 2004. Given the nature of HUD’s long-
standing financial management systems problems and the importance of these
systems to carrying out HUD’s mission and activities, we are recommending that
HUD’s Secretary make the modernization and integration of its financial management
systems a continuing top priority and to take the necessary actions to help ensure
successful implementation.

In commenting on a draft of this report, HUD agreed with our recommendation that
the Secretary make the integration of the department’s financial management
systems a continuing top priority and stated that it has already done so. HUD also
discussed at length its current actions to address its financial management systems
challenges and requested additional recognition of these actions in our report. While
we recognize that HUD is presently taking action, much of this action has occurred
only recently. Our report focuses on HUD’s historical efforts to improve its long-
standing financial management systems deficiencies, which have been the subject of
                                                           2
our reports for several decades. As stated in our report, in 1984 we reported
financial management problems that included systems that were inadequate, lacked
internal controls, and failed to meet program managers’ needs. While HUD has
recently begun to renew its efforts to address these deficiencies, sustained
commitment from HUD’s management will be needed to completely address and
eliminate these weaknesses.

Background

HUD is the primary federal agency responsible for programs dealing with housing,
community development, and fair housing opportunities. Its mission is to promote
adequate and affordable housing, economic opportunity, and a suitable living
environment free from discrimination. HUD pursues its mission through the
programs offered by FHA, Ginnie Mae, the Office of Community Planning and
Development, the Office of Public and Indian Housing, and the Office of Fair Housing
and Equal Opportunity. FHA makes housing affordable through its mortgage
insurance programs for multifamily and single-family housing. Ginnie Mae supports
expanded affordable housing by providing an efficient government-guaranteed
secondary market for mortgaged-backed securities. HUD is one of the nation’s
largest financial institutions with responsibility for managing more than $550 billion
in insured mortgages and $600 billion in guarantees of mortgage-backed securities.
For fiscal year 2003, HUD’s budget authority was about $32 billion.

The challenges HUD faces in improving its financial management systems are not
new and have been the subject of GAO reports for several decades. For example, in
1984 we reported financial management problems that included systems that were
inadequate, lacked internal controls, and failed to meet program managers’ needs. In
an effort to correct financial management systems deficiencies, in 1991 HUD initiated
the FSI effort which, as discussed later in this report, was a departmentwide project



2
U.S. General Accounting Office, Increasing the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s
Effectiveness Through Improved Management, Vol.1, GAO/RCED-84-9 (Washington, D.C.: Jan. 10,
1984).


Page 3                                                  GAO-03-447R HUD Systems Status
to design and implement an integrated financial management system consisting of
both financial and mixed systems.3 HUDCAPS was a product of this effort.

HUD currently uses numerous financial management and mixed systems to achieve
its mission. HUD uses HUDCAPS as its core financial management and general
ledger system. FHA used a Management Sciences Associates (MSA) system as its
financial management system through fiscal year 2002. FHA now uses Peoplesoft,
which was implemented on October 1, 2002, as its general ledger system. Ginnie
Mae uses Macola, which provides for all of its financial accounting needs. In
addition, there are
    • 19 legacy insurance systems that are interfaced with FHA’s new general ledger
       system;
    • PAS, which performs funds control and tracks transaction details for the
       department; and
    • Hyperion,4 which supports the preparation of the department’s financial
       statements.

HUD’s financial statement auditors have reported the department’s lack of an integrated
financial management system that is in compliance with federal financial system
requirements as a material internal control weakness since fiscal year 1991. In addition,
HUD’s financial statement auditors have reported HUD as not being in substantial
compliance with the requirements of the Federal Financial Management Improvement Act of
1996 (FFMIA)5 since fiscal year 1997, when reports under the act were first required. HUD
has been reported as not being in substantial compliance with FFMIA primarily because of
deficiencies in FHA’s legacy general ledger system. This system did not support credit
reform accounting nor did it comply with the U.S. Standard General Ledger (SGL) at the
transaction level.6 In light of these issues, in 1999 FHA began the acquisition of a new
financial management system.

In 1994 we designated HUD a high-risk agency, in part because of inadequate financial
management and information systems and slow progress in correcting fundamental
management weaknesses. In our 2003 biannual performance and accountability series
report,7 we identified two of HUD’s major program areas—single-family mortgage insurance
and rental housing assistance—as high-risk. HUD’s challenges with programmatic
and financial management information systems cut across both programs and
contribute to its high-risk designation. Also, in fiscal years 2001 and 2003 we
identified HUD’s financial management information systems as a major management
challenge in our biannual performance and accountability series report.


3
  Mixed systems are those that support both programmatic and financial information needs.
4
  Hyperion is the software within HUDCAPS used to compile the general ledger information for
reporting purposes and financial management consolidation.
5
  FFMIA requires the 24 major departments and agencies covered by the Chief Financial Officers Act of
1990 (CFO Act) to implement and maintain financial management systems that comply substantially
with (1) federal financial management systems requirements, (2) applicable federal accounting
standards, and (3) the U.S. Government Standard General Ledger at the transaction level.
6
  The SGL provides a standard chart of accounts and standardized transactions that agencies are to use
in all of their financial systems.
7
  U.S. General Accounting Office, Major Management Challenges and Program Risk: Department of
Housing and Urban Development, GAO-03-103 (Washington, D.C.: January 2003).


Page 4                                                       GAO-03-447R HUD Systems Status
Scope and Methodology

To summarize the outcome of HUD’s past efforts to implement an integrated financial
management system and to identify the challenges HUD faces with current financial
management systems, we reviewed prior GAO and HUD OIG audit reports. We also
interviewed officials at the HUD Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO), Office
of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO), Office of the Inspector General (OIG), FHA,
and Ginnie Mae. To determine the status of HUD’s current efforts to identify and
address its financial management systems needs, we interviewed HUD OCFO and
OCIO officials. We obtained and reviewed HUD’s Statement of Work and Needs
Statement for its currently planned feasibility study to upgrade or replace HUDCAPS
and to determine if HUD’s identified needs were included in the Statement of Work.
We conducted interviews with FHA officials to discuss their plans for the
implementation of a new core accounting system and to determine whether this
system would be integrated with HUDCAPS. We also conducted interviews with
Ginnie Mae officials to discuss their financial management system and to determine
whether the entity had plans for acquiring a new system that would be integrated
with HUDCAPS.

Our work focused on HUD’s core financial management systems, including
HUDCAPS and the FHA and Ginnie Mae general ledger systems. We conducted our
work in Washington, D.C. from July 2002 through November 2002 in accordance with
generally accepted government auditing standards.

HUD also suggested several technical comments, which we incorporated where
appropriate.

HUD’s Past Financial Management
Systems Integration Efforts Have
Not Been Successful

HUD’s FSI effort, which was initiated in 1991, was intended, among other things, to
implement an integrated financial management system that would provide timely and
accurate information to managers and enable the department to properly manage its
financial resources. While the project did result in the development and deployment
of various modules and systems to support several key programs and processes, it
did not achieve the primary goal of implementing an integrated financial management
system. Rather, the project’s main focus was narrowed to improving HUD’s core
financial management system. HUDCAPS evolved from this effort and continues to
be HUD’s core financial management system today.

The CFO Act calls for agencies to develop and maintain an integrated accounting and
financial management system that complies with federal requirements and provides
for (1) complete, reliable, consistent, and timely information that is responsive to the
financial information needs of the agency and facilitates the systematic measurement
of performance, (2) the development and reporting of cost information, and (3) the
integration of accounting, budgeting, and program information. In addition, the
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-127, Financial Management
Systems, requires agencies to establish and maintain a single integrated financial


Page 5                                              GAO-03-447R HUD Systems Status
management system that conforms with functional requirements published by the
Joint Financial Management Improvement Program (JFMIP).8

In its 1991 FSI plan, HUD acknowledged that inadequate and nonintegrated financial
management systems rendered it unable to properly manage its programs and
financial resources. The FSI plan included specific objectives to establish sound
financial management controls, correct material weaknesses, improve financial
management, provide timely and accurate information to managers to enable them to
meet their organizational objectives, meet the goals of 31 U.S.C. § 3512 (d) commonly
referred to as the Federal Managers’ Financial Integrity Act (FMFIA) of 1982,9 and
comply with OMB Circular A-127, Financial Management Systems.

HUD’s strategy for achieving the FSI objectives was to replace about 100 of its
financial and mixed systems with 9 new standard integrated systems including a core
                                10
financial management system. This strategy was based on an analysis which
concluded that HUD did not have the basic financial management systems to serve as
the foundation for an integrated systems environment. The design of the 1991 FSI
plan required that 8 financial systems be integrated with the new core accounting
system. Once the 9 systems were deployed, program offices were to use them to
support their business operations.

In 1993, HUD revised its initial FSI plan in response to (1) slow progress in
implementing systems integration, (2) the need to comply with revisions to OMB
Circular A-127, and (3) senior management’s serious doubts about the viability of
creating nine new fully integrated systems and having program offices adapt their
business operations to meet the requirements of these systems by September 1998,
which was the FSI plan’s original target date. The 1993 plan included the same
primary objectives as the 1991 plan but also included new objectives such as
eliminating the department’s financial management systems from OMB’s list of high-
risk areas for management improvement, being consistent with HUD’s then current
               11
reform plan, and meeting the requirements of the Government Performance and
                      12
Results Act of 1993. Under the 1993 plan, the CFO’s office was required to complete
the core financial system project initiated under the 1991 plan and program offices
were required to develop (1) new systems that would support program management
priorities, financial and management information needs, and business needs, and (2)
integrate these systems with the core financial system. Plans for the remaining eight
standard systems called for in the 1991 plan were cancelled. In 1997, HUD revised its

8
  JFMIP is a joint and cooperative undertaking of OMB, the Department of the Treasury, the Office of
Personnel Management (OPM), and GAO working with executive agencies to improve financial
management practices throughout the government.
9
  Section 4 of FMFIA requires agencies to report whether their accounting systems conform to the
accounting principles and standards mandated by the Comptroller General of the United States.
10
   The initial nine systems in the 1991 FSI plan were the (1) core accounting system, (2) mortgage
insurance system, (3) administrative accounting system, (4) mortgage-backed securities system, (5)
grants management system, (6) debt collection/management system, (7) notes/loan servicing system,
(8) project/recipient monitoring system, and (9) management information system.
11
   In 1994, the HUD Secretary announced the HUD Reinvention Blueprint Plan, intended to reinvent and
transition the department from a “lumbering bureaucracy to a streamlined partner with state and local
governments.”
12
   The Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 requires agencies to set goals, measure
performance, and report on their accomplishments.


Page 6                                                      GAO-03-447R HUD Systems Status
FSI plan again, extending the date for fully deploying the core financial management
system from September 1998 to October 1999 and incorporating the development and
deployment of additional new systems required to meet the department’s latest
                                                   13
management reforms and organizational changes.

In our 1998 report, we identified several challenges regarding HUD’s 1997 FSI plan.
These challenges included inadequate project management oversight, lack of
finalized project plans, and outdated cost-benefit analyses. Specifically, we reported
on how the department had spent hundreds of millions of dollars on its effort to
develop an integrated financial management system without having the appropriate
project management processes in place and without knowing how much it would
cost or how long it would take to complete the objectives of the FSI effort. Title 40
U.S.C. § 11312, commonly referred to as the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996, requires
agencies to establish a process to assess the value and risks of information
technology (IT) investments, including specific quantitative and qualitative criteria
for comparing and prioritizing alternative IT projects. In response to the
recommendation in our 1998 report, HUD has established an IT investment
management program to select, control, and evaluate investments throughout their
lifecycle. In this regard, HUD has routinely assessed and scored proposed projects
against departmentwide project selection criteria and used the program to select IT
projects.

As a result of the FSI effort, several modules and systems initiated under the 1993 and
1997 plans were implemented including HUDCAPS and systems to support the
department’s Section 8 financial and program management functions, community
planning and development grants, and procurement process. HUDCAPS, as HUD’s
core financial management system, was initially intended to replace the general
ledger systems at FHA and Ginnie Mae as well as HUD’s PAS. However, HUDCAPS
has not replaced these systems. Both FHA and Ginnie Mae have continued to
maintain their own general ledger systems, and HUD continues to maintain PAS.
HUDCAPS functions as the department’s financial management system, receiving
data from FHA’s and Ginnie Mae’s general ledger systems on a periodic basis.

Current Financial Management Systems
Are Outdated and Continue to
Have Deficiencies

In January 2003, for the twelfth year in a row, the HUD OIG cited the lack of an
integrated financial management system in compliance with federal financial system
requirements as a material weakness in its audit of the department’s financial
statements. In addition, as acknowledged by HUD officials, HUDCAPS uses outdated
technology and is a version of a COTS software package that is no longer available.
HUD is totally dependent upon the vendor for software modifications, maintenance,
and enhancements because the vendor owns the source code for the system. As a
13
 The “HUD 2020 Management Reform Plan” issued in 1997 included, as one of its reforms, the
development and implementation of an integrated financial management system that is accurate,
reliable, and timely. In his confirmation hearing, Secretary Cuomo stated that his top priority was to
put HUD's management systems in order and to restore effective management and financial
accountability at HUD. This plan established an October 1999 deadline for fully deploying an
integrated core financial system.


Page 7                                                        GAO-03-447R HUD Systems Status
result, HUD will have to continue to pay the vendor for support of any new
modifications or upgrades to HUDCAPS. Further, as recognized by HUD officials,
HUDCAPS is neither a robust nor efficient system. For example, it cannot be
modified to account for multiyear monies at year-end, resulting in extensive manual
effort to reclassify dollars from 1-year accounts to multiyear accounts. This is one
reason that HUD has to rely on extraordinary manual efforts to prepare its financial
statements.

To promote more timely financial reporting and to discourage the costly manual
efforts that many agencies have used to obtain unqualified opinions of financial
statements without addressing their underlying systems problems, OMB accelerated
audited financial statement reporting dates by 1 month for fiscal years 2002 and 2003
and by 3½ months for fiscal year 2004. OMB also requires the preparation of
unaudited quarterly financial statements. HUD has been able to issue its audited
financial statements by the required due dates (most recently February 1, 2003) for
the last 3 fiscal years. HUD has also received unqualified opinions on these
statements since fiscal year 2000. However, because the department’s current
financial management systems are outdated, inefficient, and require extensive manual
intervention, HUD will be increasingly challenged to meet these reporting dates as
they are further accelerated.

HUD’s financial statement auditors have also reported weaknesses in FHA’s financial
management system for several years. As discussed earlier in this report, until
October 1, 2002, FHA used MSA as its financial management system. MSA is an old
version of a COTS software package that did not (1) comply with governmental
accounting standards, (2) have funds control or budgetary modules, and (3) comply
with federal credit reform accounting. In the fiscal year 2002 financial statement
audit report, the HUD OIG reported HUD as not being in substantial compliance with
FFMIA primarily because FHA’s systems did not comply with the SGL at the
transaction level. FHA’s 19 legacy insurance systems that fed transactions to its
commercial general ledger system lacked the capabilities to process transactions in
the SGL format. Therefore, FHA provided only consolidated summary-level data to
HUDCAPS. To do this, FHA used several manual processing steps, including the use
of personal-computer-based software to convert the summary-level commercial
accounts to government SGL and transfer the account balances to HUDCAPS. This
process did not comply with JFMIP requirements that the core financial system
provide for automated month and year-end closing of SGL accounts and roll-over of
the SGL account balances.

To help address deficiencies with its legacy general ledger system, as a first step in
upgrading its overall financial management system FHA implemented the general
ledger module of a COTS software package on October 1, 2002. This module
automates the monthly interface of summary-level balances with HUDCAPS. The
project plan for FHA’s new system includes full implementation of other FHA
financial modules, such as cash management and funds control, and the modification
or replacement of various insurance systems by fiscal year 2007. Although the COTS
software that FHA purchased has been tested and certified as being compliant with
JFMIP requirements, it is too early to determine whether the new general ledger
module will meet all of FHA’s identified needs and fully address the deficiencies that
have hampered FHA’s compliance with FFMIA.


Page 8                                             GAO-03-447R HUD Systems Status
Ginnie Mae has used its current general ledger and financial management system for
the last 10 years and has no plans to replace it. In addition, Ginnie Mae has received
unqualified opinions for many years, and its financial statement auditors have not
reported any material weaknesses or reportable conditions since 1995. However, as
previously mentioned, because Ginnie Mae’s system is not integrated with HUDCAPS,
it may ultimately need to be modified or replaced to achieve full financial
management systems integration at HUD.

HUD Is in the Early Stages of
Assessing its Current Financial
Management System Needs

HUD is currently in the early stages of deciding whether to upgrade HUDCAPS or acquire
and deploy a new integrated system that would better meet its needs. While in August 2000
HUD developed a financial vision to implement a new integrated financial management
system,14 actions on the financial management systems vision of 2000 were largely deferred.
For the past 2 years, HUD’s management has focused its attention on stabilizing and
enhancing the existing financial management systems operating environment in order to
enable the preparation of auditable financial statements and address internal control
weaknesses reported in the HUD OIG annual financial statement audit reports. These efforts
were instrumental in helping HUD achieve unqualified audit opinions for the last 3 years.
However, serious internal control weaknesses related to HUD’s financial management
systems remain.

In May 2002, HUD submitted a procurement request for the initial study of the HUD
Integrated Financial Management Improvement Project (HIFMIP). This study is expected to
document and analyze the department’s business functions and the feasibility, risks, and costs
of core system options, to include modifying existing systems, COTS implementation, and
outsourcing opportunities. HUD’s plans for awarding a contract for the initial study and
completing the contract have changed several times since the initial procurement request.
For example, HUD initially expected to award a contract by the end of September 2002 for
work to be completed by April 2003. However, with the recent hiring of an ACFO for
Systems, HUD’s plans were delayed from September 2002 to December 2002 so that the
scope of the Needs Statement could be broadened to include the financial management needs
of FHA and Ginnie Mae, which we view as a sound decision. HUD currently plans to award
a contract for the study by May 2003 and to update the financial management systems vision
by January 2004. HUD also plans to complete a contracted study of core systems options for
management decision making under the HIFMIP by July 2004.

Conclusions

In the past, HUD has not sufficiently planned for the implementation of a
departmentwide integrated financial management system or provided the necessary
direction, oversight, and sustained attention needed for a successful project. While
HUDCAPS was an improvement over HUD’s earlier core financial management

14
  This document described HUD’s plans, at that time, for developing and implementing an integrated
financial management system.



Page 9                                                      GAO-03-447R HUD Systems Status
system, it fell far short of HUD’s goal to develop a departmentwide integrated
financial management system. As a result, long-standing financial management
deficiencies, including the availability of timely, reliable data to support decision
making, remain a challenge and HUD’s ability to meet accelerated financial reporting
requirements is made much more difficult. HUD management has recently renewed
its efforts to address the department’s systems deficiencies. Sustained commitment
will be needed to successfully complete these efforts.

Recommendation

To help ensure the success of future systems implementation efforts, we recommend
that the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development make the
modernization and integration of the department’s financial management systems a
continuing top priority and direct the Chief Financial Officer to take the following
steps:
   • work collaboratively with the directors of the department’s components,
   • acquire a qualified and experienced project manager,
   • obtain stakeholder involvement,
   • develop and maintain milestones, and
   • establish measurable performance indicators.

Agency Comments and
Our Evaluation

In written comments (reprinted in app. I) on a draft of this report, HUD generally
agreed with our recommendation but suggested that we recognize the actions the
department has already taken to implement the recommendation. While we
recognize that HUD has already taken some actions to implement the
recommendation in our report, the thrust of our recommendation is for sustained
management commitment in order to ensure the success of its modernization and
integration efforts. Because this systems implementation will be a long-term effort
for the department, it will need to achieve a disciplined effort consistent with
recognized best practices referred to in our recommendation. Our prior experiences
in reviewing major systems acquisitions have shown that failure to establish and
enforce key processes outlined in legislation and expanded on in best practices
developed by GAO and others is a salient factor for efforts that end up costing more
and taking longer than estimated and that fall short of performance expectations.
Many of these best practices were not present in HUD’s past systems implementation
effort and will be a challenge for the department in future efforts.

Regarding financial management systems integration requirements, HUD stated that
our report incorrectly implies that it is required to have one departmental financial
management system encompassing FHA, Ginnie Mae, and all other HUD program
activity. Our report does not say this or even imply this. Rather, we state that HUD’s
past FSI effort did not result in an integrated financial management system, which
was a stated goal of the project that began in 1991. We also state that HUD’s existing
financial management system is not efficient, has become outdated, and has high
annual maintenance costs. HUD’s letter acknowledges all of these issues. Federal
financial management system requirements state that systems should be planned,


Page 10                                            GAO-03-447R HUD Systems Status
managed, and linked together electronically in an efficient and effective manner to
provide departmentwide financial system support necessary to meet the agency’s
financial management needs. As was reported by the HUD OIG in its report on
HUD’s fiscal year 2002 financial statements, the agency’s systems do not comply with
these requirements.

We are sending copies of this report to the Honorable Mel Martinez, Secretary of the
Department of Housing and Urban Development, Angela Antonelli, the Chief
Financial Officer, and other interested parties. We will make copies available to
others upon request.

If you have any questions about this letter, please contact me at (202) 512-9508 or by
email at calboml@gao.gov. Key contributors to this assignment were Rosa R. Harris,
Debra S. David, David Gill, and Estelle Tsay.

Sincerely yours,




Linda M. Calbom
Director, Financial Management
  and Assurance




Page 11                                             GAO-03-447R HUD Systems Status
                 Appendix I

                 Comments from the Department of Housing and Urban Development




See comment 1.




See comment 2.




See comment 1.




                 Page 12                                      GAO-03-447R HUD Systems Status
                 Appendix I




See comment 3.




See comment 4.




                 Page 13      GAO-03-447R HUD Systems Status
                 Appendix I




See comment 1.
See comment 4.




See comment 5.




                 Page 14      GAO-03-447R HUD Systems Status
                 Appendix I




See comment 6.




See comment 1.




                 Page 15      GAO-03-447R HUD Systems Status
Appendix I




Page 16      GAO-03-447R HUD Systems Status
Appendix I



The following are our comments on HUD’s letter received on March 11, 2003.

GAO Comments

1. See “Agency Comments and Our Evaluation” section of this report.

2. HUD provided additional technical suggestions which were incorporated as appropriate.

3. Our report does not advocate or imply that achieving a 12-year-old project design is a
   prerequisite for HUD’s compliance with current federal financial management systems
   requirements. Our report discusses why HUD’s past systems implementation effort had
   not been successful so that past mistakes would not be repeated in future systems
   implementation projects. The recommendations made in our 1998 report were
   conceptual in nature and would be applicable to any systems development initiative that
   HUD chooses to pursue.

4. Our report acknowledges HUD’s unqualified opinions on its financial statements as well
   as its ability to issue these statements by the required due dates for the last 3 fiscal years.
   Our point is that HUD’s current process for producing financial statements is not efficient
   because its current financial management systems are outdated and require manual
   intervention. Further, these systems do not provide timely, reliable, and useful
   information to manage the agency on a day-to-day basis, which is the end goal of the
   CFO Act and a prerequisite to good financial management.

5. The objective of our report was to convey the nature of HUD’s financial management
   systems needs rather than to identify specific weaknesses. These specific weaknesses are
   clearly outlined in the OIG’s recent audit report on the fiscal year 2002 financial
   statements.

6. We agree that planning is essential to the success of any systems implementation project,
   which is clearly stated in our report.




(190065)



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