The National Science Foundation has awarded a $24.4 million contract to Accenture Federal Services LLC of Chicago, Ill, to modernize the agency's 25 year-old financial accounting system.
Accenture will transition NSF's legacy financial accounting system to a fully integrated, commercial-off-the-shelf financial system hosted in a shared service environment.
The system upgrade is part of a foundation-wide initiative called iTRAK, designed to improve tracking and reporting of financial information across NSF systems for more efficient and effective funds management.
"In order to continue to nurture transformation and discoveries at the cutting edge of science and engineering, NSF is pleased to embark on a new era of financial management capabilities," said NSF Director Subra Suresh. "This is one of the most complex projects NSF has undertaken. It is necessary to ensure that the agency has the tools it needs for informed operational and programmatic decision-making, and that it has superior financial and business accountability, integrity and compliance."
iTRAK has been in the planning and pre-acquisition phase for the last four years. The award to Accenture kicks off its implementation phase, which program managers expect to pursue aggressively during the next 24 months.
"Award of the implementation contract is a significant milestone for the iTRAK project," said Marty Rubenstein, NFS's chief financial officer. "It was made possible by the outstanding efforts of many staff across NSF who participated in working groups to support every aspect of the project."
"Going forward," she said, "the pace and volume of project activities will substantially increase and be filled with challenges, but I'm confident we have the right team in place to make the project an overwhelming success."
Successful implementation of iTRAK will result in increased automation, improved data quality, enhanced analytical capabilities and greater transparency. In addition, NSF users will experience improved access to and availability of near real-time financial information, improved business processes and enhanced program management reporting.
The new financial management system is scheduled to go live on Oct. 1, 2014, the start of the 2015 fiscal year.