Dominion Leaves its Mark at AGA’s 2017 Professional Development Training Conference

2017 AGA PDT Conference General SessionDominion Consulting stays in the forefront of Federal IT modernization efforts by encouraging our employees to hone skills and stay current on issues and initiatives impacting government agencies. We are active in several organizations that promote fiscal accountability and technology through government and industry collaboration. One of these organizations is the Association of Government Accountants (AGA). Dominion is very active in the AGA, attending conferences, training events, and providing expert advice on advisory committees.

In July, the 2017 AGA Professional Development Training (PDT) conference brought over 1900 participants, 50 exhibitors, and almost 200 speakers from both industry and government to Boston to discuss emerging issues, initiatives, and technology solutions. Conferences such as this serve as an excellent training platform and allows Dominion to showcase its broad range of services and capabilities. We are able network with former colleagues, clients, and prospective clients, catching up on the latest developments. Representing us at the AGA PDT conference were Todd Barber, Jim Levitan, Howard Campbell, Matt Duffy, Ted Kozlow, and Megan Powers.

The lineup of speakers at the conference is always impressive. This year, they included Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker, Comptroller General of the United States Gene Dodaro, and Deputy Controller at OMB Mark Reger. Topics included finance, accounting, and technology initiatives.

The Future of Federal Financial Management

One common theme at the conference was shifting focus from external Federal financial reporting to internal performance-based metrics and demonstrating the power of data analytics. A few of the break-out sessions we attended included:

  • Data Analytics and Government Accountability
  • The Future of Federal Financial Management
  • Putting Financial Data to Use Beyond the Financial Report
  • Performance Measures and Management in an Era of Transparency
  • Harnessing the Power of Data Standards

In these sessions, the presenters shared a similar view:  the future financial success of the Federal government is dependent on effective data analytics.  Agencies must take advantage of recent technological advances and the amount of real-time data now available. Reliable and meaningful data gleaned through data analytics tools helps financial managers make sound decisions. Additionally, getting quality data in the hands of financial managers helps agencies effectively manage programs and performance. In turn, this mitigates risks and reduces both improper payments and fraud. Furthermore, it provides greater financial transparency as required by the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act.

As we heard in the sessions, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) supports this view. OMB now puts less emphasis on standard financial reporting and encourages agencies to implement data-driven and strategic review processes. Agencies today are required to “do more with less”. Taking a holistic view by combining internal and external data and tying performance data to financial data allows agencies to operate more efficiently.

We’ve responded to these trends head on by encouraging employees to challenge themselves and learn new analytical methods and tools that can be applied in their everyday project work. We recently expanded our data analytics capacity by purchasing Alteryx Designer. This will allow us to help address the enormous demand for data analytics with a DoD client.

Modernizing with Shared Service Providers

Howard Campbell and Todd Barber taking their turn at the booth

Although system upgrades that are organically implemented within individual agencies are slowing down, modernizations with shared service providers are on a rapid rise.  In one of the final sessions of the conference titled, Up, Up and Away – to the Clouds, Mike Clanton from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Laurie Park from the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) spoke about the current progress at the VA to modernize their financial and acquisition systems.

The VA selected USDA as their shared service provider in October 2016. With the Financial Management Business Transformation (FMBT) program, USDA is working closely with the VA to retire VA’s 30-year-old legacy system and implement the Momentum ERP cloud solution. The FMBT program has already made significant progress and is currently in the Engagement Phase of the Modernization and Migration Management (M3) Playbook. Leroy Larkins of the VA highlighted the tremendous effort occurring in the area of Business Process Reengineering (BPR). BPR will transform the VA’s separate, disparate business processes to a set of standardized business processes in nine areas.

Migrating an agency of VA’s size and complexity will not be an easy task. Both USDA and VA recognize that success will require the close collaboration between the agencies and many contractors. Dominion currently has a team of about 11 people providing Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) support to the FMBT program. In the Engagement Phase, we are involved in almost every aspect of the project. This includes program management, BPR, and technical infrastructure.

A Worthwhile Trip

Attendance at conferences such as the AGA PDT is a must for Dominion to stay on top of current trends. Showcasing Dominion’s capabilities to prospective and existing clients helps us build stronger relationships. USDA, one of Dominion’s clients, also had a strong presence at the conference. They had a booth in the exhibit hall, speakers, and a large number of USDA attendees. Dominion’s strong relationship with USDA was evident at the our booth where USDA clients frequently stopped by to visit.

Interested in hearing more about the AGA conference or how Dominion Consulting supports the AGA? Please reach out or leave a comment below.

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