Weaknesses in Internal Financial and Accounting Controls at National Park Service Accounting Stations

AFMD-82-31: Published: Dec 22, 1981. Publicly Released: Dec 22, 1981.

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GAO evaluated the accounting controls at nine National Park Service accounting stations.

GAO found that accounts receivable were not well controlled at most accounting stations. They were not always billed before their due dates, and late-payment charges were not assessed for amounts overdue. Further, travel advances were not periodically reviewed or analyzed to recover outstanding advances; collections were not adequately controlled, properly logged in, or promptly deposited; transfers between organizational units were not properly documented; and unidentified collections either were not deposited and recorded in a suspense account or were allowed to remain in a suspense account for an unreasonable length of time. Many accounting stations were not monitoring recreation fee collection activities, and some collection officers were also designated as imprest fund cashiers. Imprest funds at most accounting stations were not adequately controlled or safeguarded and were not used to the fullest extent practical for small purchases of supplies and nonpersonal services as required by regulations. Separate cash funds for cashiers were not maintained; safe combinations were not changed annually; and periodic reviews of procedures to prevent loss or misuse of the funds were not made. In addition, disbursements were not scheduled to coincide with due dates, and reasons for lost cash were not documented. Finally, GAO found that internal audits of regional financial activities have not been performed recently and that the Park Service lacked a sufficiently comprehensive procedures manual to guide employees in all aspects of day-to-day financial and accounting transactions.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should implement followup procedures to ensure that the weaknesses which GAO identified are corrected.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should develop written procedures covering all aspects of financial and accounting operations, including related internal controls, and issue them to all appropriate offices.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should request the Department of Interior's Inspector General Office to increase its audit coverage of the Park Service's internal financial operations with particular emphasis on internal controls.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

 

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