Improvements Needed in Operating and Using the Army Automated Facilities Engineer Cost Accounting System

AFMD-82-27: Published: May 19, 1982. Publicly Released: May 19, 1982.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

John F. Simonette
(202) 275-9490
contact@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

GAO reported on the need for the Army to improve its automated Facilities Engineer Job Order Cost Accounting System and to better utilize it in managing the operation and maintenance of real property facilities. The review was made to determine whether the Army was operating and using the system in accordance with the approved system design.

The Army has invested much time and money in designing and implementing the system. By 1982, it had been implemented at about 70 installations. Ultimately, the Army plans to extend the system to about 150 installations around the world. However, users have not been convinced that the system is sound and that it could lead to more efficient and effective operations. At the installations, cost accounting system data were not being effectively used to manage facility engineer operations. Managers were not being held fully accountable for project costs incurred. At the installations visited, reported actual costs incurred on about 80 percent of the projects varied by more than 10 percent from the estimated costs. On 40 percent of the projects reviewed, reported actual costs varied by more than 50 percent from estimated costs. Managers did not research these variances and, therefore, did not know why they occurred or how to correct them. Because managers were not using the system, personnel had little incentive to see that system data were accurate, complete, and timely. GAO approved the system design 5 years ago with the understanding that certain problems would be corrected, but this has not been fully accomplished. Adequate training has not been provided to user personnel. Because cost reports produced by the system are so lengthy and do not present data in convenient formats, facility managers have been reluctant to use them. GAO believes that, with the incorporation of the design changes, the system is worthwhile.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Army is in the process of redesigning most of its accounting systems, including the ones discussed in this report. These redesign efforts will substantially change the design and operation of the systems; however, they will not be completed until the late 1980s or early 1990s. As a result, this recommendation is no longer applicable.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Defense and the Army should: (1) direct installation operating personnel to prepare and enter cost information into the system in an accurate, complete, and timely manner; (2) revise cost report formats to permit ready use by management and to include more use of management exception reports; (3) correct the two system design deficiencies which GAO identified when it approved the system; (4) adequately train system users to operate the system and use its reports; and (5) make sure through periodic review that managers use the cost data and other information contained in the automated Facilities Engineer Job Order Cost Accounting System to effectively maintain and operate Army facilities.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Army is in the process of redesigning most of its accounting systems, including the ones discussed in this report. These redesign efforts will substantially change the design and operation of the systems; however, they will not be completed until the late 1980s or early 1990s. As a result, this recommendation is no longer applicable.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Defense and the Army should: (1) direct installation operating personnel to prepare and enter cost information into the system in an accurate, complete, and timely manner; (2) revise cost report formats to permit ready use by management and to include more use of management exception reports; (3) correct the two system design deficiencies which GAO identified when it approved the system; (4) adequately train system users to operate the system and use its reports; and (5) make sure through periodic review that managers use the cost data and other information contained in the automated Facilities Engineer Job Order Cost Accounting System to effectively maintain and operate Army facilities.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  3. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Army is in the process of redesigning most of its accounting systems, including the ones discussed in this report. These redesign efforts will substantially change the design and operation of the systems; however, they will not be completed until the late 1980s or early 1990s. As a result, this recommendation is no longer applicable.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should take these actions before the system is implemented at the remaining installations scheduled for conversion.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Sep 20, 2016

Sep 6, 2016

Aug 19, 2016

Aug 12, 2016

Jul 29, 2016

Jul 28, 2016

Jul 13, 2016

Jul 11, 2016

Jun 13, 2016

Looking for more? Browse all our products here