The Federal Government Can Reduce Costs in the Development, Maintenance, and Operation of Civilian Payroll Systems

AFMD-84-49: Published: Aug 2, 1984. Publicly Released: Aug 6, 1984.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO identified ways to reduce the number of civilian payroll systems used in the government and methods to reduce the development, maintenance, and operating costs of the systems.

GAO found that 75 payroll systems are used to pay 2 million federal employees, causing the government to spend more money than necessary to process the civilian payroll. If the number of payroll systems were decreased, substantial savings could result from reduced system development and maintenance costs. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has announced that it will require all agencies to adhere to more uniform policies.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: OMB took the lead in this effort and has developed cost standards.

    Recommendation: The Director, OMB, should lead the effort to reduce the costs of civilian payroll systems by developing unit operating cost standards for payroll systems, requiring agencies to identify and report operating costs for their payroll systems, and requiring high-cost systems to meet the standard or convert to or merge with another system.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: OMB is working with agencies to define the optimal number of payroll systems. The number of systems may even reduced to approximately 11.

    Recommendation: The Director, OMB, for the long-range future, should establish a mechanism with departments and agencies to: (1) determine the appropriate number of civilian payroll systems the government should operate; (2) develop a plan for moving existing systems toward this number; and (3) review, coordinate, and approve all payroll system development proposals in light of the plan for future systems and the operating cost standard.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: OMB has developed this technical assistance capability.

    Recommendation: The Director, OMB, should lead the effort to reduce the costs of civilian payroll systems by ensuring that all departments and agencies can obtain technical advice and assistance regarding the development, maintenance, and operation of payroll systems.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

 

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