In the early 1980's, I became aware of the government's lack of accounting procedures as an Accounting Branch Chief at the Veterans Administration (VA). My section was responsible for consolidating the VA hospital's accounting data to prepare its quarterly and annual OMB and Treasury financial statements. When I questioned my staff's use of crib notes to prepare those financial statements, they informed me that they had no written accounting procedures. Roughly translated, this meant that the AICPA had prepared no written accounting procedures for the Central Agencies' (GAO, OMB, and Treasury) political appointees to give to the bureaucracy's accounting offices. In disbelief, I contacted the Central Agencies only to validate that there were no procedures. My requests for the VA's management to pressure the Central Agencies for those procedures were also ignored. Here I was the Branch Chief of one of the largest federal departments and no one within the VA, Central Agencies, and AICPA could explain how or why the government prepared its financial statements.
In search of a solution, I spent three or 4 years (of my own time) modifying the AICPA's private sector accounting formula(s) that were based on generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) to accommodate the federal government's unique accounting and budgeting needs. The Government Accounting Prototype (GAP), and public sector GAAP-based accounting formula, that I developed compares on a one-for-one basis with the AICPA's private sector accounting formulas, with one single exception. The AICPA private sector accounting formula(s) generate only accounting-related financial statements that revolve around cash as the basis for all payments while GAP includes both accounting and budgeting financial statements since all procurements and grant-related cash disbursements rely on funded, or cash-backed, budget authority. I also completed a 396 page book that was titled, "Principles of Accounting, Budgeting, and Cash Management for Government." I visited my MTU accounting professor, Sam Tidwell, a couple of times to get his opinion on my GAP model and to find out why MTU provided only a single superficial public sector accounting class. His position was that my idea would never fly because politicians were not interested in an accurate accounting of the taxpayer's money and, thus, there was no basis for writing more detailed public sector accounting textbooks.
In October 1986, I took a one-year unpaid sabbatical and used my book to lobby Congress (Senator William Roth) and the Central Agencies to adopt a single public sector GAAP-based accounting standard (and formula) as a basis for designing all future financial software. In October, 1987, I was hired by Treasury, along with 7 other professional GS level accountants, to implement this public sector GAAP-based standard. Instead, the Central Agencies outsourced deficient and non GAAP financial software to an entire federal bureaucracy; a concurrent effort included the systematic replacement of the GS level professional accountants and auditors with unqualified people to hide all levels of wrongdoing. In March 1990, I was hired by EPA as a Branch Chief, Systems and Accounting and in June 1993 was required to critique the AICPA's public sector non GAAP-based financial software which I consistently questioned, at all government levels. After 2 failed attempts to fire me, I filled a data entry clerk position upon my January 2011 retirement, as a GS-14, former VA Branch Chief, Treasury systems accountant, and EPA Branch Chief. Today, after billions in waste, the Feds still use Excel spreadsheets to prepare all financials statements.
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