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Financial Information: Data Quality

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DATE: May 14, 2002
TO: Senior Financial Officers
SUBJECT: Financial Information: Data Quality

One of the goals of the Financial Information Strategy is the provision of high quality, timely information to decision makers in both departments and central agencies.

Analyses of departmental trial balances conducted by the Receiver General and Treasury Board Secretariat have revealed coding anomalies and some questionable account balances. The Auditor General recently identified financial information data quality as the focus of an upcoming audit.

For effective decision-making, the information in your departmental trial balances must be complete and accurate throughout the year. Good data quality is critical for the accurate reporting of the use of financial authorities, to determine the Government's fiscal position and for reliable budget forecasts.

Departments and agencies, are responsible for the accurate and timely recording of all transactions in departmental financial systems. As Senior Financial Officers, you are responsible for the maintenance of effective internal control, including an adequate level of oversight by the internal audit function. To strengthen this responsibility, we would request that you ensure that all future trial balances are reviewed and explicitly approved by the Senior Full-Time Financial Officer or delegate prior to transmission to the Receiver General. The review should ensure that the trial balance is in balance, departmental control account balances match those of the corresponding Receiver General cash control accounts, amortization expense is booked monthly, and that all other account balances are reasonable. This will supplement monthly financial statement reporting and variance analysis that should already be taking place within your departments.

The Treasury Board Secretariat and the Receiver General will continue to monitor the quality of data within departmental trial balances . We will be following-up with your staff concerning any questions or anomalies and continue to assist your department in its efforts to ensure high data quality.

We would like to thank you for your co-operation and assistance in this important matter. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Richard J. Neville at (613) 957-7820 or Bill Bradshaw at (613) 952-3404 at the Treasury Board Secretariat or Rod Monette at (819) 956-2871 or Bruno Bernier at (613) 956-1794 at Public Works and Government Services Canada.

Original signed by/l'original signé par

Rod Monette, CA
Assistant Deputy Minister/Sous-ministre adjoint
Government Operational Service/Service opérationnel au gouvernement
Public Works and Government Services Canada/Travaux publics et Services gouvernementaux Canada
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