Internal Controls:

Matters Related to Disbursements

AIMD-99-157R: Published: Jun 3, 1999. Publicly Released: Jun 3, 1999.

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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO provided information on the Financial Management Service's (FMS) internal controls over federal disbursements.

GAO noted that: (1) GAO previously reported on, and suggested improvements to, FMS' internal controls related to disbursement processing at FMS and its six Regional Financial Centers--Austin, Birmingham, Chicago, Kansas City, Philadelphia, and San Francisco; (2) FMS' corrective actions resolved GAO's concerns relating to the documentation and review of delegation and designation of agency certifying officers, physical controls over returned checks, and the posting of cancellation activities; (3) however, this year's suggested improvements include matters GAO reported on last year for which FMS' corrective actions were incomplete and new matters identified during this year's audit work; (4) specifically, GAO has reaffirmed its prior year suggestions for improvements to: (a) the approval, review, and documentation of disbursements; and (b) reconciliation of the returned check cancellations; (5) GAO has also suggested improvements to processing and documentation of the Automated Standard Application for Payments system enrollments and reconciliation of replacement benefit checks referred to as courtesy disbursements; and (6) although the internal control matters discussed in this letter are not material in relation to the federal government's fiscal year 1998 financial statements, they warrant attention.

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