Comptroller General's Views on Issues Related to the Reestablishment of the Cost Accounting Standards Board Function

PLRD-83-75: Published: May 3, 1983. Publicly Released: May 20, 1983.

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GAO was asked for its views on questions regarding the Cost Accounting Standards Board (Board) function and certain aspects relating to Cost Accounting Standards (CAS) 408, "Accounting for Costs of Compensated Personal Absence."

While GAO work to date has shown that federal implementation of the CAS is generally good and that the Defense Contract Audit Agency's CAS compliance determinations appear reasonable, GAO believes that, in time, the need to reactivate some form of a Board function will increase. It is becoming more difficult for contractors, agency officials, and those charged with resolving CAS related disputes to continue to operate efficiently without the aid and benefit of a Board. GAO believes that the lack of a Board is inhibiting the effectiveness of the CAS. GAO believes that any congressional action on the location of the Board function must ensure the availability of adequate accounting expertise and independence. There are two options for location which, if chosen, would satisfy GAO criteria. The option preferred by GAO would be for Congress to appropriate limited funds to the original authorizing legislation. The funds would cover the compensation and travel of the Board members appointed from private life, pursuant to the authorizing legislation. Reactivating the Board and placing the staff support role, at a reduced level in GAO, would provide for a continuing function to be maintained at reduced costs to the federal government. A secondary option is to issue new authorizing legislation to empower the Comptroller General to perform all duties and functions that belonged to the Board.

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