An single electronic OGE-278 and OGE-450 financial disclosure program, available for use by all federal agencies, would improve the consistency and accuracy of financial disclosure reports, while simultaneously reducing timelines and costs. The cost savings would be realized by refocusing the significant staff hours spent on current filing system, and reducing individual agency IT development and support costs for internal electronic filing systems.
A computer program leveraging existing technology (eg, similar to the technology used in Quicken, Mint.com) would give financial disclosure filers the option to seamlessly log in to financial accounts and upload pertinent information to the disclosure form, reducing data entry time and the possibility of human error.
Further, using an electronic program to compare reports year-to-year would allow agencies a more effective means of identifying any discrepancies, and would allow for potential conflicts to be identified sooner.
As described in a 2009 "Model Practice" bulletin to agency ethics officials, some agencies have developed their own internal electronic filing systems, which store previous-year data for filers to update, thus increasing the timeliness, consistency, and accuracy of subsequent filings.
Because OGE-450 and OGE-278 requirements are uniform across the Executive Branch, creating a single Executive Branch electronic financial disclosure filing system would conserve the IT resources now spent on the development and support of internal electronic systems.
Through conserving staff hours spent on filing and technical review of current forms, and IT development and support costs for internal agency filing systems, a government-wide financial disclosure system could produce substantial cost savings and benefits to agency ethics programs overall.