Coast Guard--Electronic Certification Procedures
B-302789: Jul 6, 2005
The Commanding Officer of the U.S. Coast Guard Finance Center (Center) has requested our decision regarding appropriate separation of duties for the electronic certification procedures used by the Center for certifying and transmitting vouchers to the Department of the Treasury for payment. Letter from Captain Loren P. Tschohl, Commanding Officer, U.S. Coast Guard, Finance Center, to Tom Armstrong, U.S. Government Accountability Office, March 16, 2004 (Tschohl Letter). Currently, the Center transmits a schedule of vouchers to Treasury for payment, and a Center certifying officer confirms the total number of vouchers, and the total amount of these vouchers, listed on the schedule. Occasionally, that certifying officer may also have certified individual vouchers listed in the schedule.
We conclude that the Center is not required to separate the function of certifying individual vouchers from the function of confirming the total number of vouchers. As explained below, the former function is a certification function to which pecuniary liability attaches. The latter is simply a check permitting Treasury disbursing officers to disburse without having to examine each voucher--it is evidence that the disbursement amounts processed by Treasury agree in summary with the voucher amounts submitted by the Coast Guard.