Annual ASMC-Grant Thornton survey offers recommendations for incoming leaders

ALEXANDRIA, Va., December 15, 2016
The American Society of Military Comptrollers (ASMC) and Grant Thornton Public Sector today released their latest survey of defense financial managers, Preparing for the Future: Lessons Learned From 10 Years of ASMC Surveys. The annual survey outlines the top concerns for the military financial management community, as well as recommendations for incoming financial management leadership under the new administration.

Al Runnels, executive director of ASMC, said, “This year’s report contains a retrospective look at trends and key challenges from the past 10 years of survey results and provides recommendations to the new administration in driving continuing improvement in the effectiveness of defense financial management operations.”

“The report provides valuable learnings and recommendations for the new defense financial leadership in 2017, offering a unique opportunity for those leaders to learn from the experiences of their predecessors,” said Ariane Whittemore, director of Security and Defense for Grant Thornton Public Sector. “Although the current environment includes many challenges, there is optimism in the defense financial management community that the new administration will bring opportunities for innovation and improvement.”

The 2016 survey represents responses from more than 500 defense financial managers at all levels. They identified human capital, fiscal uncertainty, auditability and IT modernization as their top concerns. Human capital is consistently the top concern within the defense financial management profession; personnel-related issues were the only concern emerging in every survey since 2007.

The 2016 survey makes the following recommendations for the new administration:

  • Rely on the financial management workforce – seek the advice and counsel of the experienced financial management workforce and include them in the decision-making process.
  • Focus on recruitment, retention and workforce empowerment – recognize that the financial management workforce values benefits, employment stability and job satisfaction.
  • Finish IT modernization – a thorough review of the Defense Department’s IT modernization program is needed, focusing on new programs and zeroing in on legacy systems and targeting them for elimination.
  • Simplify the budget process – investigate ways to lessen the adverse impact of multiple budget builds and duplicative budget processes, which have a negative effect on workforce stability and morale.
  • Show early support for auditability – component audit results should become part of every leader’s performance evaluation, military and civilian alike, and adequate resources (people and budget) should be devoted to the task.

About the American Society of Military Comptrollers (ASMC):
ASMC is the non-profit educational and professional organization for persons, military and civilian, involved in the overall field of military comptrollership. ASMC promotes the education and training of its members, and supports the development and advancement of the profession of military comptrollership. Visit ASMC at

About Grant Thornton Public Sector:
Grant Thornton Public Sector helps executives and managers at all levels of government maximize their performance and efficiency in the face of ever-tightening budgets and increased demand for services. Grant Thornton Public Sector gives clients creative, cost-effective solutions that enhance their acquisition, financial, human capital, information technology, and performance management. For more information, visit

About Grant Thornton LLP
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