The Association of Government Accountants (AGA) has been around for almost 60 years advocating for the professional development of accountants working in federal, state and local governments. The association has kicked off their "Advancing Government Accountability" campaign, a push to educate the government and the public on the benefits of government transparency. The campaign is pushing government at all levels to provide the public with easy-to-use and understand guides on spending practices.
Yesterday, the AGA released the results of what they say will be an annual survey of public attitudes on government transparency and accountability. The survey results are no surprise. The public has "deep dissatisfaction" with both the availability of information and the way it’s presented. Almost 60 percent of Americans are dissatisfied by the information the federal government provides on its spending. The poll found that 78 percent of Americans believe in transparency and accountability in spending is a good thing. (
In today’s edition of The Washington Post, Stephen Barr, author of the Federal Diary column, writes that there is no shortage of data on government spending, but the information is unwieldy and hard to use. Barr quotes the AGA director as saying average citizens are not familiar with and can’t read audited financial statements, which is the form much of government spending data is in. The association is calling on government to provide honest spending documents, readable financial reports, and to make the information available on the Web.
We’re with them, banking on technology to help to bring more openness and transparency to the federal government.