Full report (PDF)
What GAO Found
The core financial module, if implemented as planned, may provide some improvement to NASA’s accounting system environment. However, NASA is not following key best practices for acquiring and implementing IFMP. In acquiring IFMP components, NASA is facing risks in understanding dependencies among commercial components. NASA has not analyzed the interdependencies among selected and proposed IFMP components, and it does not have a methodology for doing so. For programs like IFMP, which involve building a system from commercial components, it is essential to understand the characteristics and credentials of each component to select ones that are compatible and can be integrated without having to build and maintain expensive interfaces. By acquiring IFMP components without first understanding system component relationships, NASA has increased its risks of implementing a system that will not optimize mission performance and will cost more and take longer to implement than necessary.
In implementing the core financial module, NASA is facing risks in two additional areas:
Unless these issues are successfully addressed, NASA is at increased risk of having IFMP become its third unsuccessful attempt to transform its financial management and business operations.
Why GAO Did This Study
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) nonintegrated financial management systems have weakened its ability to oversee its contractors, and its contract management has been on GAO’s high-risk list since 1990. In April 2000, NASA began its Integrated Financial Management Program (IFMP), its third attempt in recent years at modernizing financial management processes and systems. GAO was asked to review whether NASA was following key best practices in acquiring IFMP components and implementing one of the first components—the core financial module.
What GAO Recommends
GAO is recommending that NASA develop and implement (1) a shortterm plan to identify and mitigate the risks currently associated with relying on already deployed IFMP commercial components and (2) a longer term strategy for acquiring additional IFMP components that includes implementing a methodology for commercial system component dependency analysis. NASA agreed with GAO’s recommendation related to a shortterm plan but disagreed with many of the findings related to user needs and requirements management. NASA also agreed with the importance of having an approach for acquiring additional IFMP components, but stated that it already has an effective strategy in place. GAO reaffirms its recommendations.