Budget Issues:

Financial Reporting to Better Support Decision-making

AFMD-93-22: Published: Jun 1, 1993. Publicly Released: Jun 1, 1993.

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GAO studied the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) use of financial audit reports and accounting data in its budgeting process.

GAO found that: (1) agencies are responsible for ensuring that funds are obligated as specified by funding legislation; (2) financial audit reports can provide useful information in budget policy decisions, since agencies report costs on an accrual basis which provides early warning of long-range costs that are not conveyed in the general cash-based budget; (3) financial audit reports can increase accountability over how transactions are recorded and reported; (4) VA has converted accrual accounting data to estimate actual obligations, but the data often did not come from systems subject to audits; and (5) an accrual-based approach to budget decision making could result in more complete disclosure of program costs.

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