In a status letter to Governor Gavin Newsom and Legislature, the California State Auditor expressed its concern that, due to an updated project proposal, the Financial Information System for California (Fi$Cal) will reach its planned end on June 30, 2020, before it is able to implement several crucial features.
The letter outlines concerns over Fi$Cal’s ability to implement functionality features such as bond and loan accounting, and expresses skepticism regarding the project’s unrealistic schedule and a low estimation of the project’s contract and staffing costs.
The governing entities of Fi$Cal, including CDT, DGS, and Finance, have released eight project updates between 2006 and 2018, each of them gradually reducing key system features that were originally supposed to be implemented.
The letter also states that since its inception, Fi$Cal has failed to meet target completion dates, increased its budget by $400 million over the last seven years, and could incur increased borrowing costs for the state due to inefficiency.
The California State Audit recommends the Legislature draft a ninth project plan update that includes an amended budget that allows key features to be implemented past 2020, a more realistic project timeline, and ongoing reports from the Fi$Cal project office to the Legislature disclosing all unanticipated costs.
Fi$Cal was initiated in 2005 in an effort to update California’s budget systems and combine them with the state’s accounting, cash management, and procurement operations.
The project is expected to cost $1.06 billion by its proposed 2020 end date.