The head of the Defense Department’s closely watched audit-readiness effort has left for the private sector.
Joe Quinn is now a senior manager at Ernst and Young’s federal practice, where he will advise clients on strategies “to improve financial, accounting and cost management capabilities,” the firm said in a news release last week.
As director of the Pentagon’s financial improvement and audit readiness (FIAR) program for the last three years, Quinn was point man for the mammoth undertaking of getting DoD’s books in order. Under a timetable that Congress has now written into law, the department is supposed to have an auditable statement of budgetary sources by September 2014, with the rest of its financial statements in similar shape by 2017.
But that timetable is in jeopardy on several fronts, ranging from the sequester-related budget cut to problems with fielding the “enterprise resource planning” systems that are critical for meeting the auditability deadlines.
“I think it’s increasing the risk that we won’t meet our goal,” DoD Comptroller Robert Hale said last month of the sequester, citing both the funding reduction and the drain on senior officials’ time. In a report released around the same time, the Defense Department’s inspector general said that the Defense Logistics Agency had committed more than $2 billion to deploy an ERP “incapable of providing standardized data for an auditable DoD statement of budgetary resources” by next year’s deadline.
Quinn could not be reached for comment today; the Pentagon is working on a solicitation for a permanent replacement, a spokeswoman said via email.
“I’m personally grateful for his many efforts,” DoD Deputy Chief Financial Officer Mark Easton said in a statement to FedLine. Quinn, he added, leaves behind a program that is making possible “the necessary changes in the key elements of our business–our people, processes and systems. The commitment of the department’s leadership to achieve audit readiness remains very strong, and we are well-positioned to reach our audit readiness goals in 2014 and 2017.”