A recent govexec.com article addressed the wide array of challenges that government chief financial officers face in the current economic and budgetary environment.  According to the article, the need to track and account for hundreds of billions of dollars allocated in the Recovery Act, deal with many new and complicated federal programs, and respond to a myriad of new reporting requirements and financial watchdog programs from OMB have challenged and stressed agencies’ financial managers and their staffs.  In addition, the article states “outdated computer systems, insufficient reporting processes, and ineffective internal controls” have hindered financial managers’ ability to control improper payments, which have grown as federal spending increased.  The administration has endeavored to provide managers with the tools to deal with improper payments and other problems.  The recent directive on “Do Not Pay" lists (see President directs agencies to check “Do-not-pay” lists before they pay above) is one example.  In DoD there is no greater financial management challenge than that of achieving clean financial audits.  A companion article in govexec.com discusses DoD’s problems and describes how Comptroller Robert Hale’s direction to focus on improving information and information processes aims to help DoD financial managers with their often overwhelming tasks.  The article quotes Deputy Chief Financial Officer Mark Easton as saying “we need to work together to achieve this goal [identified by Hale] and there’s something in it for everyone – better quality financial information that will allow us to put DoD business on a par with DoD operations.”