VA was selected by the Office of Management and Budget in 1996 as one of six executive branch agencies to establish a franchise fund pilot program. In this program, entrepreneurial organizations or Enterprise Centers are authorized to sell common administrative support services to VA and other Government agencies and operate entirely on revenues earned from customers. Enterprise Centers receive no Federally appropriated funding. The VA Franchise Fund was established under the authority of the Government Management Reform Act of 1994 and the VA and Housing and Urban Development and Independent Agencies Appropriations Act of 1997. In 2006, under Public Law 109-114, permanent status was conferred upon the VA Franchise Fund. The franchising concept promotes efficiency and conserves resources by reducing administrative costs, enhancing financial management practices, and expanding competition.
Created as a revolving fund, the VA Franchise Fund began providing services to VA and other Government agencies on a fee-for-service basis in 1997. The fund’s VA Enterprise Centers are managed within VA Central Office, Washington, DC, by the Office of Management; the Office of Operation, Security, and Preparedness; and the Office of Information and Technology. The Franchise and Trust Fund Oversight Office, within the Office of Finance, provides administrative and financial management to the fund. The Franchise Fund Board of Directors provides oversight to ensure sound business principles and financial accountability and to achieve the fund’s goals.
The fund comprises six VA Enterprise Centers in three segments:
- Information technology
- Austin Information Technology (AITC) in Austin, Texas
- Records Center and Vault in a Midwestern location
- Financial management
- Debt Management Center (DMC) in St. Paul, Minnesota
- Financial Services Center (FSC) in Austin, Texas
- Security and law enforcement
- Law Enforcement Training Center (LETC) in Little Rock, Arkansas
- Security and Investigations Center (SIC) in Little Rock, Arkansas
The Franchise and Trust Fund Oversight Office (FTO) oversees all accounting and financial operations associated with trust accounting for VA’s capital asset portfolio. FTO reviews accounting transactions involving payments due under loan agreements as required by promissory notes. In addition, FTO reviews the investment and transfer of assets from Project Funds and Cost of Issuance Funds after projects are completed. The Trust Oversight Office works closely with the Office of Asset Enterprise Management to implement financial policies and procedures that govern the financial management of VA’s capital assets held in trust.
FTO promotes VA’s financial integrity by monitoring the financial performance of the Department’s capital assets held in trust. The office assesses internal control weaknesses and non-conformances; exercises control over financial resources; coordinates financial data to interpret the composite financial results of operations at all levels; and interrelates data to provide perspective on overall financial performance in support of program planning and decision making.
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