Peace Corps Announces Achievements in Financial Management

Agency continues to maximize resources and maintain fiscal responsibility

Washington, D.C., Nov. 9, 2007 Peace Corps Director Ronald A. Tschetter is proud to announce that for the first time since new legislation was enacted, external auditors rendered an unqualified opinion on the agencys financial statements for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2007.

A complex and detailed audit, conducted for the 2007 fiscal year also reported finding no material weaknesses, marking a significant achievement for the agency.

The Accountability of Tax Dollars Act of 2002 placed this new audit requirement on several Federal agencies in the Executive Branch. As a result of this Act the Peace Corps financial statements have been subject to annual audits by an independent external auditor, similar to the highly detailed reviews imposed on private sector organizations.

Tschetter, who has led this process as the Peace Corps Director for the last year, said, Achieving excellence in financial management is essential to maximizing our ability to focus every dollar on the Volunteers.

The Peace Corps is considered the worlds premier volunteer sending organization. Since 1961, 190,000 Americans have served in 139 countries. And, in October, Peace Corps announced a 37-year high in the number of Volunteers, with over 8,000 Americans now serving in 74 countries.

In 2005, George Schutter became Peace Corps Chief Financial Officer with a goal to achieve an unqualified opinion by the end of 2009. But, with Peace Corps complicated budget, hundreds of thousands of annual global transactions with a variety of currencies, banking systems and regulations, this goal was lofty. However, Schutter and his team made tough organizational changes, similar to those used by top private sector organizations and achieved their goal in only two years. These changes included strengthening internal controls, establishing key performance metrics, re-engineering processes, obtaining financial system certification and accreditation, collaborating efforts with Inspector General David Kotz and his staff, and providing more senior leadership support.

Director Tschetter, complimenting this effort said, Coming from the financial services industry, I consider fiscal responsibility a top management priority. We now have proof of Peace Corps efficiency and Im thankful for all the work that our capable staff, in particular George Schutter, David Kotz and Jeffrey Lee, did to earn this important unqualified opinion.

The Peace Corps is celebrating a 46-year legacy of service at home and abroad. Currently there are over 8,000 Volunteers abroad, a 37-year high for Volunteers in the field. Since 1961, more than 190,000 Volunteers have helped promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of the 139 countries where Volunteers have served. Peace Corps Volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment.

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