GSA Transportation Audits:

Contract Costs Can Be Reduced

NSIAD-92-157: Published: Jun 3, 1992. Publicly Released: Jun 3, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the General Services Administration's (GSA) use of private companies to audit commercial transportation charges, to determine whether: (1) collection of additional data resulted in more thorough audits; (2) GSA verified that contractors were providing the required data and whether GSA was using them; (3) the contractors duplicated the Department of Defense's (DOD) data collection efforts; and (4) GSA had a basis for establishing its fees for data collection.

GAO found that: (1) GSA added transaction fee payments to the first-audit contracts to ensure that the first auditors reviewed all documents carefully for overcharges, but GSA did not know whether the fees achieved their purposes; (2) GSA statistics show that more than 20 percent of overcharges are still not identified until the second audit; (3) from October 1989 to the end of calendar year 1991, transaction fees represented more than 75 percent of payments GSA made to first auditors; (4) GSA had not verified that contractors provided the required data and that the data were useful to assess auditors' performance; (5) DOD has already captured nearly all of the same data that GSA is requiring from its contractors; and (6) GSA established its pay schedule for transaction fees by comparing various fees specified in its prepayment audit contracts.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: GSA accepted bids based on a commission-only basis and awarded contracts on that basis. Data collection was not asked for and will not be paid for. GSA cannot calculate actual savings as this would be based on requirements, which cannot be determined until post payment is accomplished.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of General Services, when contracting for future postpayment audit services, should not request or pay for data collection services unless GSA can show that collecting data on every billing document has made the audits more thorough and that the data already collected by DOD are not adequate for oversight purposes. If GSA determines that some data collection is necessary, it should establish adequate controls over data collection payments.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

 

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