Analysis of Internal Control Systems To Ensure the Accuracy, Completeness, and Timeliness of Federal Procurement Data

PLRD-82-119: Published: Sep 23, 1982. Publicly Released: Oct 25, 1982.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the system of internal controls each agency participating in the Federal Procurement Data Center (FPDC) uses to assure the accuracy, completeness, and timeliness of the data submitted to FPDC for contract actions over $10,000.

The GAO analysis of 58 of the participating agencies' systems of internal control identified 12 systems which, if properly implemented, would provide reliable data. Several weaknesses were identified in internal control systems that could adversely affect the agencies' ability to provide accurate, complete, and timely data. These weaknesses include a lack of: (1) designated personnel and written guidelines at the agency level for Federal Procurement Data System reporting; (2) established timeframes for error corrections, original submission of data at the agency level, and submissions of data to FPDC; (3) formal review of data against original source documents, edit checks, and error/omission listings; (4) internal audit review of agency FPDC reporting; and (5) procedures designed to detect contract actions over $10,000 which have not been reported. In addition, many agencies have not adopted or modified their internal systems to conform with FPDC data edits. Thus, inaccuracies which should be corrected at the agency level remain undetected until FPDC identifies them. At FPDC, GAO found a lack of internal controls needed to document FPDC procedures, agreements, and discussions with agency officials regarding timeliness of agency submissions and error corrections to provide corporate knowledge within the center itself. Also, FPDC did not have complete records of agency initial submissions, error corrections, and FPDC test edits. All of these inhibited the FPDC ability to identify data problems and to work with agency officials toward resolution.

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