Federal Reserve Banks:

Internal Controls Over Cash at Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia Banks

AIMD-97-127: Published: Aug 28, 1997. Publicly Released: Aug 28, 1997.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the work of the Federal Reserve's external auditor, Coopers & Lybrand L.L.P., in reporting on the effectiveness of the internal control structure over financial reporting for cash at the Atlanta and Philadelphia Federal Reserve Banks, and the Los Angeles Branch, focusing on whether: (1) the work was conducted in accordance with applicable professional standards; and (2) supported the auditor's opinion on managements' assertions on the effectiveness of the internal controls over cash operations.

GAO noted that: (1) GAO's review disclosed no instances in which Coopers & Lybrand's work to support its opinions on the effectiveness of the internal control structures over financial reporting and safeguarding for coin and currency at the Atlanta and Philadelphia Federal Reserve Banks, and the Los Angeles Branch did not comply, in all material aspects, with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants' Attestation Standards; (2) Coopers & Lybrand obtained and documented an understanding of the internal control policies and procedures, developed by the Federal Reserve Banks, to manage and account for each of the four main cash operating functions: receiving/shipping, currency processing, vault, and cash administration; (3) Coopers & Lybrand also performed tests and other procedures in support of its evaluation of the design and operating effectiveness of the internal controls in order to form an opinion about the reliability of management's assertion; and (4) for each examination, Coopers & Lybrand concluded that the Federal Reserve Bank management fairly stated its assertion that the bank maintained an effective internal control structure over financial reporting and safeguarding for cash as of the date specified by management based on criteria established in the Internal Control--Integrated Framework issued by the Committee on Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission.

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