Report Says USDA’s National Finance Center Should Pursue IT Modernization, Enhance Employee Experience

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The National Finance Center within the U.S. Department of Agriculture should implement organizational transformation initiatives, advance information technology modernization and improve employee and customer experience to meet priorities and modernize operations as it delivers shared services to federal employees and retirees, according to a report by the National Academy of Public Administration.

The report provides NFC with 16 recommendations classified into four themes: improving governance and developing a vision; engaging customers and employees; implementing a multiphase IT system modernization process; and obtaining funding needed now and in the future, the academy said Monday.

To effectively modernize IT systems, the report recommends that NFC prioritize upgrades that improve customer experience and address security vulnerabilities as well as accelerate mainframe modernization efforts to allow the center to enhance its operations, reduce risk and address skills shortages.

NFC should automate processes and functions and address major workforce issues and its leaders should transform the center into a data-driven organization by collecting and analyzing feedback from employees and customers.

“The new leadership team at NFC, coupled with the agency’s decision to begin implementing some of the Panel’s recommendations before this report was published, represents a positive step in the right direction,” said Terry Gerton, president and CEO of the National Academy of Public Administration.

“However, NFC’s success will require sustained attention and support not only from USDA senior leaders but also from other federal entities, including customer agencies, the Office of Management and Budget, and Congress,” Gerton added.

New Orleans-based NFC has been providing payroll, human resources and retirement services to 650,000 federal employees across 170 client agencies for over five decades.

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