GAO Survey of Accounting System of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Department of the Interior

FGMSD-76-15: Published: Mar 11, 1976. Publicly Released: Mar 11, 1976.

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A survey was made of the accounting system for the Bureau of Indian Affairs. GAO observed and made limited tests of the procedures used to control and account for revenues and collections, disbursements, obligations, and property. The survey also included a test of the controls of the Bureau's personnel payroll system. In addition, the internal and external reports derived from the accounting system were tested. The survey showed there were opportunities to improve the Bureau's accounting system.

The Bureau needs improvement in the following areas: controlling receivables and advances; recording and reporting obligations; taking available discounts; controlling and documenting its automated personnel payroll system; and managing and accounting for personal property. Control over recording of obligations can be improved through: more timely recording of obligations at the area office level; prompt monthly reconciliations of area office records to the Administrative Services Center (ADC) monthly fund status reports; and closer adherence to requirements for recording, reporting, and controlling obligations. Additional computer system controls are needed to prevent improper payments to employees.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Commissioner of the Bureau of Indian Affairs should analyze prior and current yearly transactions for accounts receivable and travel advances as needed to reconcile and correct area office and ASC records. In order to properly maintain the status of contract advances and avoid excess advances, the Commissioner should reconcile contract advance files with ASC accounting records; determine the causes for differences; collect prior-year advances; and limit future contract advances and monitor these advances during the contractual period. In order to improve accuracy and timeliness of obligation recordkeeping and reporting, the Commissioner should record obligations when they are incurred; provide area and agency office program managers with timely and accurate montly fund status reports; and require reconciliations of ASC monthly fund status reports to area and agency offices. The Commissioner also should have all payment vouchers with available discounts sent directly from area offices to the Treasury Regional Disbursing Office for payment. There is a need to identify and record all personal property and maintain accurate property records pertaining to personal property management. Differences between physical inventories and property records should be reconciled.

    Agency Affected:

 

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