According to the Association of Government Accountants, federal accountability and reporting is trending upwards.

Despite new reporting complexities that make it difficult for departments and agencies to create integrated performance reports, the association awarded a number of certificates of excellence in accountability reporting last month to government agencies and departments that have achieved high standards in accountability reporting.

Of the 21 departments or agencies that submitted their performance and accountability

reports, 11 received awards. Winners included the Departments of Interior, Labor, Education, Energy, and State; the Social Security Administration; the Federal Aviation

Administration; the General Accounting Office; the General Services Administration; the

Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and the Patent and Trademark Office. This year's recipients were chosen for giving readers a, "clear assessment of a program performance, the cost of meeting program goals, and a vivid picture of the agency's finances."

The association said that producing high-quality reports has never been more important as the Office of Management and Budget oversees an effort to implement President Bush's Management Agenda, with the hope of bringing a more business-like approach to federal government operations.

With improved financial management as one of the five goals of the agenda, the

OMB is also requiring agencies to accelerate financial reporting. For fiscal year 2004, agencies faced a Nov. 15 reporting deadline, which is 45 days after the end of the fiscal year.

Winners will receive their awards at an event Sept. 14.

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