Jeanette Franzel Joins PCAOB
Jeanette Franzel, Managing Director of GAO’s Financial Management and Assurance Team has accepted an appointment by the Securities and Exchange Commission to the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), a nonprofit corporation established by Congress to oversee the audits of public companies.
Ms. Franzel has been a leader in the accounting and auditing profession and is recognized nationally and internationally for her work in auditing standards. She led the development of Government Auditing Standards (The Yellow Book) through important revisions in 2003, 2007, and 2011. She served as GAO’s auditing standards representative to the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions, providing leadership and extensive policy and technical advice in the development of standards for national audit offices around the world. In 2008, she led a team of three audit offices (USA, UK, and Puerto Rico) in the first-ever peer review of Mexico's federal "Supreme Audit Institution."
With 22 years at GAO, including a decade in the Senior Executive Service, Ms. Franzel supervised audits of large, complex agencies with hundreds of billions of dollars as well as for small programs with limited resources. She provided extensive consultation, advice, and testimony preparation for the U.S. House and Senate Banking Committees during the deliberations leading up to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. Her leadership of performance and financial audit work included audits of the Consolidated Financial Statements of the U.S. Federal Government, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the U.S. Federal Debt, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and the Troubled Asset Relief Program. From 2008 through 2011, Ms. Franzel's team performed oversight of the U.S. government's efforts to help stabilize the financial markets and promote economic recovery.
Ms. Franzel received many GAO Awards in the areas of leadership, achievement, external relations, and integrity, and awards from other organizations as well. In 2006, she received the Arthur S. Flemming Award for distinguished federal service. In 2010, she received the International Achievement Award from the Association of Government Accountants. In 2011, she received GAO's Distinguished Service Award and the AICPA's Outstanding CPA in Government Award.
Ms. Franzel has a B.A. in Accounting and Spanish from the College of St. Teresa as well as an MBA from George Mason University. She also completed the Senior Executive Fellows program at Harvard University. In addition to her CPA, Ms. Franzel has certifications as an internal auditor, management accountant, and government financial manager.
In announcing her February 25 departure, Comptroller General Gene Dodaro said that throughout her career, Ms. Franzel “has demonstrated her outstanding commitment to GAO's mission and core values, the federal government, and the American public.” He said her “exceptional leadership and dedication in support of GAO’s Financial Management and Assurance team will be greatly missed.”
Steve Sebastian to Lead GAO’s Financial Management and Assurance
Appointed to fill the position of GAO’s Financial Management and Assurance team’s Managing Director is Steve Sebastian, who has led a widely diverse portfolio of financial and performance audit engagements in over 30 years with GAO. Mr. Sebastian joined GAO in 1981 as a student participating in the University of Maryland's Cooperative Education Program and became a full-time employee upon his graduation in 1983.
Mr. Sebastian’s work has focused on improving financial management practices at a variety of executive and legislative branch entities and government corporations. He led efforts to identify the nature and magnitude of the federal government's loss exposure from the rising number of financial institution failures during the banking and savings and loan crises of the late 1980s and early 1990s, including assessing the impact on the federal insurance funds covering bank and thrift deposits. This work led to legislation to shore up the insurance funds and to implement a risk-based system for assessing insurance premiums.
His more recent work at FDIC has resulted in significant improvements in internal control and financial management practices as the corporation addresses the impact of the recent economic downturn on the financial institutions industry. Mr. Sebastian has been instrumental in identifying serious deficiencies in internal control and financial management practices at the IRS over the past 15 years. His work has led to the implementation of hundreds of recommendations to improve financial reporting, internal controls, and operational efficiency, which resulted in over $20 billion in increased tax revenue collections.
In 2007 and 2008, Mr. Sebastian led a major revision to the financial audit methodology used by GAO and the Inspector General community in financial statement audits of government entities. Since 2009, he has led the annual audit of the Federal Housing Finance Agency and, most recently, he oversaw GAO's first audit of the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Mr. Sebastian has a Bachelors of Science degree in accounting from the University of Maryland. He is a CPAand a Certified Government Financial Manager. He is a member of the Association of Government Accountants, and is on the University of Maryland's Accounting and Information Assurance Advisory Board.
FY2011 Performance and Accountability Report: A Wide Spectrum of Issues
GAO’s Performance and Accountability Report for FY2011 presents the agency’s work and outlines products that cover a wide spectrum of issues, including a first report under a congressional mandate for an annual analysis of duplication, overlap, cost-saving opportunities, and revenue enhancements in federal government programs. The biennial High Risk report was issued, calling attention to opportunities for cost savings and improvements in federal agency and program management. We issued several products on the impact of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act on mortgages, securities markets, financial institutions, the Federal Reserve, and consumer protection and products related to health insurance reform. We also reported and testified on the Department of Homeland Security’s progress and challenges 10 years after 9/11. We continued to report the results of our work related to the Troubled Asset Relief Program and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Finally, we updated our “Yellow Book” on government auditing standards to reflect recent developments in the accountability profession.
GAO received an unqualified opinion from independent auditors on its financial statements for fiscal year 2011 and began to implement the Government Performance and Results Modernization Act of 2010, which updates the 1993 act by requiring more-frequent reporting and reviews (quarterly instead of annually) to increase the use of performance information in program decision-making. GAO documented $45.7 billion in financial benefits for the federal government—a return of $81 for every dollar invested in GAO— and 1,318 other benefits in broad program and operational areas cutting across the government.
Senior GAO officials testified at 174 congressional hearings, and we expanded its public outreach with a pilot e-report formatted for faster and easier Internet access and pages in Facebook and Flickr.
GAO’s third triennial peer review this year covered financial and performance audits. The international team of GAO counterparts at national audit institutions gave GAO a clean opinion and identified a number of good practices that should interest other audit offices, as well as suggesting changes for GAO to consider in further strengthening our products.
Fiscal Year 2011 Performance and Accountability Report, GAO-12-4SP, Nov 15, 2011
Summary of GAO's Performance and Accountability Report Fiscal Year 2011, GAO-12-5SP, Jan 26, 2012
High-Risk Series: An Update, GAO-11-278, February 2011
Opportunities to Reduce Duplication, Overlap and Fragmentation, Achieve Savings, and Enhance Revenue, GAO-12-342SP, Feb 28, 2012
GAO’s Electronic Approach to Product Distribution Adds Another App
GAO continues to expand its use of electronic publishing and communication. In September, GAO’s David Gootnick, a Director in GAO’s International Affairs and Trade team, testified on industry and employment in American Samoa and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands before a congressional subcommittee (the Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans, And Insular Affairs Subcommittee, House Natural Resources Committee) while reporters and observers with smart phones were able to scan the QR code on the cover of his printed testimony and gain instant electronic access to the text and graphics.
Additions to GAO’s online Video Gallery include Comptroller General Gene Dodaro’s testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on government duplication, overlap, and fragmentation; how to use GAO’s Fraudnet hotline; and an animated graphic on the global carbon cycle. Animated graphics are also accessible through their associated reports online and on YouTube.
American Samoa and Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands: Employment, Earnings, and Status of Key Industries Since Minimum Wage Increases Began, GAO-11-956T, Sep 22, 2011
Climate Engineering: Technical Status, Future Directions, and Potential Responses, GAO-11-71, July 28, 2011
GAO Video Gallery: http://www.gao.gov/multimedia/video/#video_id=589006
While external communications go electronic, internal communications are not to be left behind. Through Web conferencing software, GAO’s mentoring program will soon be offering its fifth speed mentoring session, allowing employees access to the knowledge and experience of a number of experienced coworkers.
Modeled on the premise of speed dating, the virtual program allows GAO employees, through computer and phone, to meet up to nine mentors in the span of 2 hours. Mentees have 8 minutes to chat with each mentor before moving into another “room” to speak with another mentor, whose picture and short bio appear on the page.
A video introduction to speed mentoring is available at GAOTV announcement.