Financial Audit:

U.S. Senate Stationery Room Revolving Fund's Fiscal Year 2000 Financial Statement

GAO-02-130: Published: Dec 21, 2001. Publicly Released: Dec 21, 2001.

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GAO audited the financial statement for the Senate Stationary Room Revolving Fund for fiscal year 2000. GAO found that (1) the statement is presented fairly in all material respects; (2) although internal control should be improved, the Stationary Room had effective internal controls over financial reporting and compliance with laws and regulations; and (3) there was no reportable noncompliance with selected provisions of laws and regulations GAO tested.

Matters for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: GAO's review of the Senate Stationery Rooms revolving fund operations found weaknesses in the Stationery Rooms internal controls over its purchase and disbursement related processes. Specifically, the approvals of purchase orders, disbursement vouchers, and related certifications of the receipt of goods needed for payment were documented using signature stamps, the access to which was not tightly controlled. Also, the stamped copies of approved purchase orders were not retained as evidence that the purchase orders were approved. Finally, GAO noted that those responsible for receiving and documenting the receipt of goods in the Stationery Rooms inventory records were not identified in the receiving records. To address the weaknesses related to the use of signature stamps, GAO recommended during the review that Stationery Room management strengthen its controls by either tightening controls over access to the signature stamps or ensuring that those responsible for approving purchase orders, payment vouchers, or documenting the receipt of goods and services sign each document to formally evidence their actions. GAO also recommended that the file copies of the purchase orders retained by the Stationery Room contain evidence of their approval. Finally, GAO recommended that management ensure that those receiving goods for the Stationery Room are identified on the receiving records. In response to the weaknesses identified, Stationery Room management acted during the review to strengthen controls and implement GAO's recommendations. Management established tighter controls over the physical access to its signature stamps to help ensure that only persons acting within the scope of their authority authorized the transactions. Also, Stationery Room management required that the file copies of purchase orders retained by the Stationery Room contain appropriate evidence of approval and that those individuals receiving goods and services include their initials on the receiving documents as evidence of their actions.

    Matter: Stationery Room management should strengthen disbursement, cash handling, and reconciliation controls by ensuring that individuals responsible for approving purchase orders, vouchers, and certifications of the receipt of goods and services either sign each document to formally evidence their actions or ensure that the signature stamps are adequately controlled.

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: GAO's review of the Senate Stationery Rooms revolving fund operations found weaknesses in the Stationery Rooms internal controls over its purchase and disbursement related processes. Specifically, the approvals of purchase orders, disbursement vouchers, and related certifications of the receipt of goods needed for payment were documented using signature stamps, the access to which was not tightly controlled. Also, the stamped copies of approved purchase orders were not retained as evidence that the purchase orders were approved. Finally, GAO noted that those responsible for receiving and documenting the receipt of goods in the Stationery Rooms inventory records were not identified in the receiving records. To address the weaknesses related to the use of signature stamps, GAO recommended during the review that Stationery Room management strengthen its controls by either tightening controls over access to the signature stamps or ensuring that those responsible for approving purchase orders, payment vouchers, or documenting the receipt of goods and services sign each document to formally evidence their actions. GAO also recommended that the file copies of the purchase orders retained by the Stationery Room contain evidence of their approval. Finally, GAO recommended that management ensure that those receiving goods for the Stationery Room are identified on the receiving records. In response to the weaknesses identified, Stationery Room management acted during the review to strengthen controls and implement GAO's recommendations. Management established tighter controls over the physical access to its signature stamps to help ensure that only persons acting within the scope of their authority authorized the transactions. Also, Stationery Room management required that the file copies of purchase orders retained by the Stationery Room contain appropriate evidence of approval and that those individuals receiving goods and services include their initials on the receiving documents as evidence of their actions.

    Matter: Stationery Room management should strengthen disbursement, cash handling, and reconciliation controls by ensuring that copies of authorized purchase orders are retained and the individuals who received the goods are identified on the receiving records.

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: During a review of the Senate Stationery Room revolving fund operations, GAO found that the Stationery Room did not adequately segregate the duties of recording cash related transactions from the duties of counting and handling of cash and did not independently review daily cash handling and processing records and document the review. To compensate for this lack of segregation GAO recommended during the review that Stationery Room management ensure that its daily records of cash received and processed are independently reviewed and documented. Before GAO completed the review, Stationery Room management established compensating controls to deal with the lack of segregation in cash handling and recording duties by implementing procedures for the independent review of daily cash-related records. In addition, those performing the reviews are documenting these records with their initials.

    Matter: Stationery Room management should strengthen disbursement, cash handling, and reconciliation controls by ensuring that its daily records of cash received and processed are independently reviewed and those performing the review clearly document (with name and date) their review.

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: GAO's review of the Senate Stationery Room's revolving fund operations found that the Stationery Room had not been performing timely reconciliations of its records with the official records maintained by the Senate Disbursing Office to ensure that fund assets were properly accounted for and safeguarded. As a result, GAO recommended, during our review, that Stationery Room management ensure that its records of revolving fund transactions and balances are reconciled in a timely manner to the official records of the fund maintained by the Senate Disbursing Office. In response to this weakness and the recommendation Stationery Room Management in cooperation with the Senate Disbursing Office established procedures during our review for periodic (quarterly) reconciliations. Prior to the issuance of GAO's report in December 2001, the Stationery Room management successfully reconciled its transactions with the Disbursing Office's records following its new procedures.

    Matter: Stationery Room management should strengthen disbursement, cash handling, and reconciliation controls by ensuring that reconciliations of Stationery Room disbursement transactions and fund balance with amounts recorded by the Senate Disbursing Office are routinely completed in a timely manner.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In response to GAO follow-up inquiries in 2006 and 2008, Stationery Room management was unable to provide information or supporting documentation to evidence how Revolving Fund financial and compliance activities were being monitored to ensure compliance with internal controls. Subsequently, as part of the FY 2010 performance audit of the Fund which reviewed controls over the Fund's receipt and disbursement transactions, GAO noted instances in which available supporting documentation lacked evidence of management reviews. In addition, Stationery Room policies did not require reviews by management to help ensure compliance with financial and compliance controls, leading GAO to make a new recommendation that SSR policies and procedures require reviews by management and management should document these reviews when performed to provide evidence that control activities are performed and monitored effectively.

    Recommendation: Stationery Room management should strengthen disbursement, cash handling, and reconciliation controls by ensuring that the Stationery Room's financial and compliance activities are monitored for compliance with internal controls.

    Agency Affected: Secretary of the Senate

 

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