The Use of a Decentralized Audit Operation for Performing Reviews of United States Activities Overseas

ID-77-35: Published: Apr 22, 1977. Publicly Released: Apr 22, 1977.

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The advantages and disadvantages of the use of a decentralized audit operation for performing reviews of U.S. activities overseas were investigated.

The General Accounting Office presently has three branches at overseas locations: the European Branch, with 45 professional and 5 support personnel; the Far East Branch, with 40 professional and 6 support personnel; and the Latin American Branch, with 15 professional and 2 support personnel. The permanent staffs overseas are periodically supplemented, when required by workload, with temporary duty personnel from the U.S. Temporary duty personnel join project teams which are composed principally of the experienced overseas staff. The ability to recruit and effectively perform the necessary overseas assignments using temporary duty personnel would be an almost impossible task. The additional cost of maintaining the modest overseas staffs are more than overcome by the producing of audits that are more efficient, effective, and timely than could be expected with a temporary duty approach. The decentralized organization provides quicker and better service on high-priority tasks that have close deadlines; better relations with associate organizations and government officials in the areas covered; improved professional expertise gained from firsthand and continuous experience; and the maintenance of higher employee morale than would be possible operating on a centralized basis. There have been few, if any, disadvantages to maintaining the small overseas staffs.

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