The Financial Information Repository: An Integrated View of Government Financial Information
By Olu Faokunla and Christina Cox, Enterprise Business Information & Security Services
The Financial Management Service (FMS) is planning to create a Financial Information Repository (FIR), which will consolidate federal government financial information from its various business line information repositories and provide an integrated view of the information to the general public, federal agencies, other governmental institutions, and its other partners. FIR is envisioned as a platform that provides summarized, aggregated, and detailed financial information, free of charge, through a robust business intelligence web front-end. The goal is to enable users to analyze financial data trends, patterns, and insights related to federal government accounting, collections, debt management, and payments through interactive reports, dashboards, and visualizations for improved decision-making.
Digital data continue to grow exponentially in every sector of society – government, business, nonprofit, and private industry. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) in its June 2011 report, the digital universe is more than doubling every two years. IDC predicted that the size of global digital information in 2012 will be 2.7 zettabytes (ZB), or 2.7 trillion gigabytes, representing a 48 percent increase from 2011. By the end of this decade, the size is forecast to grow to 35 ZB.
FMS is equally experiencing growth in digital information across its business lines as volumes and dollar amounts of transactions increase. The granularity of the data increases with the Treasury Account Symbol (TAS) and the Business Event Type Codes (BETC) collected when transactions are initiated, and the percentage of electronic transactions increases as FMS progresses toward the goal of an all-electronic Treasury. For instance, in Fiscal Year (FY)2011, Treasury-Disbursed Payments through Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) totaled 1,080,627,843, representing a 2.1 percent increase over 1,057,781,714 payments made through EFT in (FY)2010. In (FY)2010, FMS has collected 5.4B through cross-servicing and the Treasury Offset Program. FMS views all of this financial data as an information asset that can be used to promote federal government transparency and improve accountability in government.
Over the past two decades, various Administrations and Congress have progressively emphasized principles of transparency and openness to the taxpayers, citizen participation in governmental affairs, and interagency collaboration. The belief is that these principles will help to foster accountability in government, enable citizen participation, increase trust and confidence in government, increase effective operations and efficiency, and promote information sharing within and outside the government through cooperation and partnerships.
Following these principles, FIR, through its public portal, will support transparency for the purposes of achieving accountability by providing easier access to publically eligible financial information to the public. No authentication will be required to access the portal. The public will have the opportunity to participate prior to and after the implementation of FIR through the private portal. FIR also will provide the opportunity for collaboration and information sharing among agencies, the Fiscal Service, Office of Management and Budget and Government Accountability Office, Federal Reserve Banks, and other partners.
The FIR project team has been working to solidify the FIR vision and scope and is building the business case for the project. The team plans to complete the governance process, develop FIR infrastructure, gather detailed requirements from key stakeholders, and closely work with owners of the underlying repositories on best strategies for data integration by the end of Calendar Year (CY)2012.
For questions about FIR, please contact Dr. Olu Faokunla, FIR Project Manager, at Olu.Faokunla@fms.treas.gov or 202-874-6027.