Academic journal article The Journal of Government Financial Management

AGA 2020: A Look Ahead to the Next 10 Years

Academic journal article The Journal of Government Financial Management

AGA 2020: A Look Ahead to the Next 10 Years

Article excerpt

At the turn of the millennium, government financial managers around the world were concerned with the potential effects of Y2K. Even though the impact was minimal, how many of us truly envisioned the impact technology would have on the first decade of this millennium? In 2000, Google was only 15 months old. We had not heard of iPod, YouTube, MySpace, Facebook or WiL There was no such thing as Wikipedia, Twitter, GoToMeeting, Linkedln or Kindle, nor were we prepared for the horrific events of September 11, 2001 or the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We did not envision the tsunami in 2004, Katrina in 2005 or the Gulf oil spill in 2010.

We were unaware of the problems "hanging chads" would create in the 2000 presidential election, and not many would have predicted that the American people would make the historic decision in 2008 to elect an African-American candidate to the highest office in U.S. government. It would have been hard to imagine an individual planting a bomb in his underwear in an attempt to blow up a plane full of people on Christmas Day in 2009. Yet all these things have been created, perfected or occurred in this first decade.

During this same decade, we saw the collapse of one of the world's most respected accounting firms - Arthur Andersen - in 2002. We saw ethical failures and the collapse of the world's largest energy firm (Enron) and world's largest telecommunications firm (WorldCom) in 2002. We also witnessed the near collapse of the global economy in 2008. Our profession created and defined new acronyms: TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) and ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act). At the close of Fiscal Year 2009, the US. government's financial statements reported record debt and a record deficit. At the same time, U.S. citizens are becoming more and more concerned about the future of Social Security and Medicare. State and local governments are again facing the threat of bankruptcy. And for nearly a year recently, our federal government held the controlling interest in General Motors.

What happened? Where does our country, and more specifically, AGA, go from here?

In 2000 it was virtually impossible to predict the events of the first decade. Therefore, it's safe to assume that predicting the events of the second decade will be equally challenging. Future effects of technology are sure to amaze us. Ethical dilemmas will increase as we face challenges never before seen because of new technologies. How many of us, 10 years ago, really envisioned we would be facing hundreds of thousands of copyright infringement cases as a result of downloading music on wireless devices that fit in the palm of our hands? Technology made such an impact on our lives in the past decade that by 2006, one out of every 10 couples met online.1 Today, those of us in higher education are preparing students for jobs that do not exist, using technologies that have not been invented, to solve problems we do not even know yet are problems.2

US. Department of Labor statistics show that today's top 10 jobs did not exist in 2004 and that recent college graduates will have 10-14 jobs by the time they are 38 years old.3 DOL statistics also show that 25 percent of all individuals have been employed at their current job less than a year and, 50 percent have been at their current job fewer than five years.4 Yet, in 2010, the national unemployment rate hovers around 10 percent, and employers are bracing for a mass exodus as baby boomers reach retirement age.5

Can we deduce we are headed for a future with fewer long-term employees doing more work electronically while facing even greater ethical challenges? I am not sure. With the advances in technology and increasing availability of information comes an even greater citizen demand for accountability and transparency from our governments. ARRA reporting catapulted government financial management reporting into cyberspace in October 2009 with the advent of Recovery. …

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