WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne today praised financial managers at Interior for their landmark achievements in completing the Department’s annual audit in record time, receiving a clean audit opinion without material weaknesses from an independent accounting firm, and producing an innovative performance and accountability report for the American people.
“When you consider that Interior’s assets and responsibilities place it among the 50 largest companies in the Fortune 500, your accomplishments are all the more remarkable,” Kempthorne said. “Any large corporation of our size would be justly proud of what you have accomplished. It is a significant and substantive achievement. Well done. Continue your outstanding efforts. Your accomplishments are being recognized.”
Kempthorne said that this was the first year that Interior has received both a clean audit opinion and no material weakness in its annual financial audit by the independent auditing firm of KPMG. “In 2001, it took five months to complete the annual audit of the department’s financial operations – and that audit contained 17 material weaknesses,” the Secretary said. “In 2007, it has taken only 43 days to complete the department’s financial audit – and there were no material weaknesses.”
“This was accomplished during a time when we are introducing a new automated financial management system and the Office of Management and Budget required higher standards of accounting and auditing,” Kempthorne noted. “This was a partnership in which the Interior Inspector General, the Office of Management and Budget and KPMG worked together to improve financial and performance management across the department.
Joining the Secretary at the recognition event in the South Interior Building were Clay Johnson, Deputy Director of Management at the Office of Management and Budget; Interior Deputy Secretary Lynn Scarlett; Associate Deputy Secretary and Chief Financial Officer James E. Cason; and Deputy Assistant Secretaries Nina Rose Hatfield and Paul Hoffman.
Kempthorne also lauded the Department’s Performance and Accountability Report for
Fiscal Year 2007, which contained the audit, pointing out that it also used objective, quantifiable measures to evaluate bureau and departmental performance in achieving their goals and objectives.
“By integrating performance and costs, we are providing an unprecedented level of government transparency,” Kempthorne said. “This offers a more accessible and understandable analysis to the American people -- to whom we are ultimately responsible.”
Secretary Kempthorne said the report presents numerous positive achievements that underscore Interior's effective stewardship of the nation's natural resources. "Our creed is Stewardship for America with Integrity and Excellence, and this report clearly demonstrates that we are living that creed."
The annual performance and accountability report rates financial integrity through accounting statements and audit opinions by an independent accounting firm and summarizes Interior performance in carrying out the Department’s missions and the President’s Management Agenda. It provides the information that enables Congress, the President, and the public to assess Interior’s stewardship of the resources entrusted to it.
Interior achieved its landmark accomplishments while overhauling its department-wide
financial and business management operations. The Department and its bureaus are
installing a new single platform, fully integrated automated system that will replace
dozens of antiquated business systems that lacked integration or common standards.
In Fiscal Year 2007, the Minerals Management Service and the Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement successfully converted their core financial functions to this unified system and used the new automated Financial and Business Management System for a full year.
Interior's more than 70,000 employees and 200,000 volunteers work in 2,400 locations across the United States, including Puerto Rico and U.S. island territories in the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean. The Department, which has an annual appropriated budget of about $10 billion, owns and operates more than 46,000 buildings and more than 100,000 other structures, from hydropower dams and water distribution systems to bridges, roads, tunnels and towers. The Department manages 500 million acres of surface land, or about one-fifth of the land in the nation. Interior's national parks, monuments, refuges and recreational areas receive more than 500 million visitors annually.