The Sobering Reality Presented at the AGA 2020 Internal Control & Fraud Prevention Training
The Association of Government Accountants (AGA) consistently hosts informative and timely training events, pulling no punches when dealing with various conference topics. Last month, at the 2020 Internal Control & Fraud Prevention Training (IC&FPT), AGA continued that tradition. Moments of humor were interjected between conference sessions, a very welcome distraction from the very sobering conference, given the massive amount of fraud in the wake of COVID-19 relief efforts. The mix of attendees consisted of a majority of federal personnel, roughly a third were state grant recipients, and a small number were from public accounting firms.
The speakers did a good job of covering all of the market segments present with their subject matter expertise related to risk management and fraud prevention. Much of the conversation centered around fallout from the CARES Act. They pointed out that the Single Audit Act will cover more communities and grant recipients than in the past due to the portion of the $2.7T CARES Act funds distributed via grants. It was also noted that the CARES Act itself has made educating recipients more difficult than the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) because the ARRA covered all sectors of federal, state, and local governments, as well as NGOs.
Enterprise Risk Management and Internal Control
One of the hot topics that remains an open discussion is how Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) and Internal Control (IC) programs fit together. An interesting discussion arose between two federal employee speakers at the “T106-The Correlation Between Internal Controls, Program Integrity, and Enterprise Risk Management” session. They felt that each was a separate process but they should be integrated to best manage risk within an organization.
In several of the sessions, speakers couldn’t emphasize enough the importance of ‘tone at the top’ of agency leadership to combat fraud and for the overall internal control program. One speaker made a case for advocating ERM to leadership, emphasizing the return on investment, and that if an agency is already going to spend the money, then why not spend it wisely.
Visitors to the Management Concepts virtual booth took advantage of the opportunity to download a complimentary ERM job aid, Understanding Enterprise Risk Management in the Federal Government, and to learn about our newest financial management courses.
We look forward to supporting the next AGA conference, and perhaps a more positive lay of the land in the future. Find out about upcoming AGA events by visiting our AGA event page.
Vera Medici is Marketing Manager, Events & Strategic Partnerships at Management Concepts. In this role, she communicates and collaborates with clients, organizations, and strategic partners. She prepares for and manages all aspects of participation at trade shows, special events, and webinars and expertly manages all social media activity. Vera holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication from George Mason University.