Auditing and Financial Management:

Improvements Needed in the Accounting for Personal Property

AFMD-82-84: Published: Jul 12, 1982. Publicly Released: Jul 12, 1982.

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GAO surveyed the Department of the Interior's accounting for personal property to determine whether: (1) accounting records were accurate and periodically reconciled with property records; (2) physical inventories were properly conducted; and (3) accounting for Government-owned property held by contractors was adequate.

The survey of accounting for personal property at Interior identified recurrent problems at the Geological Survey, Fish and Wildlife Service, and Bureau of Indian Affairs. Although Interior's Inspector General had previously reported that physical inventories were not being taken and that accounting and property records, which differed by $96 million, were not being reconciled, action was not taken to strengthen property accounting. As a result, the reported amount of personal property was inaccurate and unreliable, and control over the $500 million of property managed by the three bureaus was seriously weakened.

Status Legend:

More Info
  • Review Pending-GAO has not yet assessed implementation status.
  • Open-Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-implemented-Actions that satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-not implemented-While the intent of the recommendation has not been satisfied, time or circumstances have rendered the recommendation invalid.
    • Review Pending
    • Open
    • Closed - implemented
    • Closed - not implemented

    Recommendations for Executive Action

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Geological Survey, Fish and Wildlife Service, and Bureau of Indian Affairs to provide the emphasis necessary to implement viable property accounting systems and to initiate measures to conduct required physical inventories of all personal property and reconcile the results with the accounting and property records.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

    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 direct the Geological Survey, Fish and Wildlife Service, and Bureau of Indian Affairs to provide the emphasis necessary to implement viable property accounting systems and to initiate measures to ensure that all appropriate information is transmitted between the accounting and property offices.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

    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 direct the Geological Survey, Fish and Wildlife Service, and Bureau of Indian Affairs to provide the emphasis necessary to implement viable property accounting systems and to initiate measures to provide that physical inventories be taken or verified by personnel who are not responsible for the custody of the property.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

    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 direct the Geological Survey, Fish and Wildlife Service, and Bureau of Indian Affairs to provide the emphasis necessary to implement viable property accounting systems and to initiate measures to ensure that all Government-owned property in the possession of contractors is accounted for, inventoried, and reconciled with the accounting and property records.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

    Status: Closed - Implemented

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

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