Despite significant progress in streamlining efficiency at government finance departments around the world in the past decade, 48 percent of public officials believe their organizations lack adequate financial management capabilities, according to a new survey by Deloitte.

The study looked at more than 200 government departments from 28 countries. More than half of the officials who participated in the study reported that their organization's ability to audit its own financial accounts falls at or below an accepted baseline.

However, only 29 percent of the government finance officials surveyed described their organization's capabilities as having moved beyond a baseline level in risk management, according to study author William D. Eggers, Deloitte global research director for the public sector. "This increases the likelihood of error and can mask the actual financial health of an organization," he said.

Close to 68 percent of officials surveyed cited the lack of current information as either a moderate or a significant barrier to improving the performance of their organizations. A majority indicated that they did not have enough information on asset costs to understand the full cost of delivering public services. Most respondents also indicated that they did not have the data they needed to measure the return on investment from government programs.

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