Helping USDA Prepare to Expand Shared Services

FI helps USDA assess internal readiness to become a leading shared service provider and suggests a practical plan for the path forward.

Client: U.S. Department of Agriculture

Challenge: USDA Rural Development’s (RD) National Finance Operations and Accounting Center (NFAOC) is a newly-formed shared service provider that offers transaction processing, customer assistance, accounting, and financial management services for federal loan and grant programs. Before offering their services to additional agencies and programs, NFAOC must ensure 1) it is equipped to maintain excellent service to its existing portfolio of RD programs, and 2) it is a scalable organization that can seamlessly add new customers.

FI Solution: FI documented opportunities to enhance existing processes to enable and promote scalability, provided suggestions for task realignments, and proposed organizational restructuring. FI interviewed NFAOC leadership, leveraged FI’s experience across multiple commercial and federal financial institutions, and performed independent research to form the foundation of their recommendations. Each recommendation was specific to a business unit and fit into a larger organizational theme. FI suggested a renewed focus on structure and processes, specifically at the front-end to reduce downstream, out-of-standard work. Each theme was a defensible argument supplemented by lists of action items. In addition, FI recommended NFAOC structure their organization first by customer, then by function, creating a scalable, accountable organization.

Impact: FI provided NFAOC an actionable path forward with a focus on structure, processes, systems, and people. Following this path will ensure NFAOC can offer well-defined, scalable, saleable services and that new customers are offered the highest quality services at the lowest marginal cost.