Posted by Rafael Borras, Acting Deputy Secretary
This year, the Department of Homeland Security reached a major goal by achieving a clean audit opinion of the Department’s financial statements by an independent auditor. Simply put, the clean audit is in line with our ultimate goal to increase transparency and accountability for the taxpayer resources entrusted to the Department.
This benchmark comes just ten years after DHS was established. Financial managers worked together to integrate the policies and practices of 22 separate agencies into one department. Our talented and dedicated workforce came together as “One DHS,” implementing strong policies and business practices, and resolving complicated financial management issues leading to the achievement of a clean audit opinion. The effort has significantly improved the overall health of DHS financial management capabilities, driven by strong leadership commitment and partnerships within the Department.
In order to achieve a clean audit opinion, DHS worked across the entire Department to complete a comprehensive inventory process of its property for the financial statements, with many components cataloguing material that existed long before we were one Department. For example, the U.S. Coast Guard, supported by teams from other DHS Components, dedicated resources and progressively improved reporting for its broad portfolio of assets. This enterprise-wide approach made it possible for the Department to account for an additional $8 billion in property, which was the last factor we needed to earn a clean audit.
Thanks to the dedicated expertise of our department-wide financial management team and the commitment of the department’s leaders, DHS has built a sturdy foundation of sustainable practices that will support our operations for years to come. As we work every day to meet our Homeland Security mission, we will continue the work of improving financial management across the Department, while remaining responsible stewards of every homeland security dollar.