Reports & Testimonies

  • GAO’s recommendations database contains report recommendations that still need to be addressed.

    GAO’s recommendations help congressional and agency leaders prepare for appropriations and oversight activities, as well as help improve government operations. Recommendations remain open until they are designated as Closed-implemented or Closed-not implemented. You can explore open recommendations by searching or browsing.

    GAO's priority recommendations are those that we believe warrant priority attention. We sent letters to the heads of key departments and agencies, urging them to continue focusing on these issues. These recommendations are labeled as such. You can find priority recommendations by searching or browsing our open recommendations below, or through our mobile app.

  • Browse Open Recommendations

    Explore priority recommendations by subject terms or browse by federal agency

    Search Open Recommendations

    Search for a specific priority recommendation by word or phrase



  • Governing on the go?

    Our Priorities for Policy Makers app makes it easier for leaders to search our recommendations on the go.

    See the November 10th Press Release


  • Have a Question about a Recommendation?

    • For questions about a specific recommendation, contact the person or office listed with the recommendation.
    • For general information about recommendations, contact GAO's Audit Policy and Quality Assurance office at (202) 512-6100 or apqa@gao.gov.
  • « Back to Results List Sort by   

    Results:

    Subject Term: "Financial information"

    7 publications with a total of 20 open recommendations including 2 priority recommendations
    Director: Melissa Emrey-Arras
    Phone: (617) 788-0534

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve oversight of school finances and provide better information to schools and the public about its monitoring efforts, the Chief Operating Officer of the Office of Federal Student Aid should update the composite score formula to better measure schools' financial conditions and capture financial risks.

    Agency: Department of Education: Office of Federal Student Aid
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve oversight of school finances and provide better information to schools and the public about its monitoring efforts, the Chief Operating Officer of the Office of Federal Student Aid should improve guidance to schools about how the financial composite score is calculated, for example, by updating current guidance to include explanations about common areas of confusion and misinterpretation for schools.

    Agency: Department of Education: Office of Federal Student Aid
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve oversight of school finances and provide better information to schools and the public about its monitoring efforts, the Chief Operating Officer of the Office of Federal Student Aid should increase the transparency of public data on schools' financial health by publicly listing the final composite score for each school.

    Agency: Department of Education: Office of Federal Student Aid
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: J. Christopher Mihm
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To promote transparency in the development and management of data standards for reporting federal spending, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget should ensure that the Data Standards Committee makes information about the topics of the committee's proceedings and any resulting outcomes available to the public.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Cary B. Russell
    Phone: (202) 512-5431

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better ensure quality financial execution information is available to guide the Joint Exercise Program, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness to direct the combatant commanders to take steps to comply with current Execution Management System guidance to upload supporting documentation that is reconcilable to funds executed from the Combatant Commanders Exercise Engagement and Training Transformation account.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To better ensure quality financial execution information is available to guide the Joint Exercise Program, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness to, as the department implements financial improvement plans in accordance with the Financial Improvement and Audit Readiness guidance, include specific internal control steps and procedures to address and ensure the completeness and accuracy of information captured for the Joint Exercise Program's Combatant Commanders Exercise Engagement and Training Transformation account.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Gregory C. Wilshusen
    Phone: (202) 512-6244

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To more effectively manage its information security program, the Chair should direct the Chief Information Officer to document artifacts that support recommendation closure consistent with SEC policy.

    Agency: United States Securities and Exchange Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its response to our draft report, SEC concurred with the recommendation. However, SEC has not yet provided sufficient evidence that it has implemented the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To more effectively manage its information security program, the Chair should direct the Chief Information Officer to document a comprehensive physical inventory of the systems and applications in the production environment.

    Agency: United States Securities and Exchange Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its response to our draft report, SEC concurred with the recommendation. However, SEC has not yet provided sufficient evidence that it has implemented the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To more effectively manage its information security program, the Chair should direct the Chief Information Officer to provide personnel appropriate access to continuous monitoring reports and tools to monitor, evaluate, and remedy identified weaknesses.

    Agency: United States Securities and Exchange Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its response to our draft report, SEC concurred with the recommendation. However, SEC has not yet provided sufficient evidence that it has implemented the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To more effectively manage its information security program, the Chair should direct the Chief Information Officer to institute a process and assign the necessary personnel to review information produced by the vulnerability scanning tools to monitor, evaluate, and remedy identified weaknesses.

    Agency: United States Securities and Exchange Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its response to our draft report, SEC concurred with the recommendation. However, SEC has not yet provided sufficient evidence that it has implemented the recommendation.
    Director: Gary Engel
    Phone: (202) 512-3406

    2 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Treasury should direct the Fiscal Assistant Secretary, working in coordination with the Controller of OMB, to establish and implement policies and procedures for accounting for and reporting all significant General Fund activity and balances, obtaining assurance on the reliability of the amounts, and reconciling the activity and balances between the General Fund and federal entities.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of the completion of our fiscal year 2016 consolidated financial statements (CFS) audit, Treasury and OMB agreed that this recommendation remained open. Treasury has established the General Fund as a federal reporting entity. In fiscal year 2017, the focus will be on preparing for the first financial audit of the General Fund. We will follow-up on progress made by Treasury and OMB as part of our fiscal year 2017 CFS audit, which is ongoing as of March 2017.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Treasury should direct the Fiscal Assistant Secretary, working in coordination with the Controller of OMB, to establish a formalized process to require the performance of additional audit procedures specifically focused on intragovernmental activity and balances between federal entities to provide increased audit assurance over the reliability of such information.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of the completion of our fiscal year 2016 consolidated financial statements (CFS) audit, Treasury and OMB agreed that this recommendation remained open. As a result of multiple initiatives over the past few years, Treasury and OMB have seen a significant decrease in elimination differences of intragovernmental data submitted by federal entities. Therefore, Treasury and OMB have determined at this time there is not a justified need for the additional cost and burden on federal entities to implement additional audit procedures specifically focused on intragovernmental activity and balances. We will follow-up on progress made by Treasury and OMB as part of our fiscal year 2017 CFS audit, which is ongoing as of March 2017.
    Director: Asif A. Khan
    Phone: (202) 512-9869

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the Army's implementation of the FIAR Guidance for its General Fund SBR FIP for budget execution and facilitate remaining efforts to achieve SBR auditability, the Assistant Secretary of the Army, Financial Management and Comptroller should identify activity attributable to assessable units associated with service provider systems and business processes having a significant impact on the Army's SBR.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Army: Office of the Assistant Secretary for Financial Management and Comptroller
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Army concurred with this recommendation. In March 2015, Army officials indicated that the Army leveraged object class codes in its enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems to stratify business processes that have a significant impact on the Schedule of Budgetary Activity for fiscal year 2015 activity. The Army provided documentation supporting this effort; however, this documentation did not identify all activity attributable to assessable units associated with service provider systems and business processes having a significant impact on the Army's Statement of Budgetary Resources. In August 2016, we requested additional information from the Army. In November 2016, an Army representative indicated that the estimated timing for completing efforts to address this recommendation was the second quarter of 2017. We requested updates on the status of efforts to address this recommendation and as of August 2017, we have not received such an update.
    Recommendation: To improve the Army's implementation of the FIAR Guidance for its General Fund SBR FIP for budget execution and facilitate remaining efforts to achieve SBR auditability, the Assistant Secretary of the Army, Financial Management and Comptroller should coordinate efforts with service providers to obtain and document within memorandum of understanding memorandums of understanding a shared understanding of roles and responsibilities for processing Army data.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Army: Office of the Assistant Secretary for Financial Management and Comptroller
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Army concurred with this recommendation. The Army established a Mission Work Agreement (MWA) with Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS), its most significant service provider, and documented concept of operations (CONOPS) regarding various business processes, such as civilian pay and Fund Balance with Treasury. However, the MWA and CONOPS did not include sufficient detail required to adequately understand roles and responsibilities for processing and reporting the Army's financial data. In January 2016, the Army indicated that it was developing a corrective action plan to formalize policies, procedures, and processes to assess third party providers that host or manage the Army's financial systems and data and will use this assessment to clarify its understanding of shared roles and responsibilities for processing Army data. According to the Army, this effort is expected to be completed the first quarter of fiscal year 2017. In August 2017 we requested an update on the status of efforts to address this recommendation from the Army point of contact.
    Recommendation: To improve the Army's implementation of the FIAR Guidance for its General Fund SBR FIP for budget execution and facilitate remaining efforts to achieve SBR auditability, the Assistant Secretary of the Army, Financial Management and Comptroller should completely and accurately document the linkage of financial reporting objectives to control activities.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Army: Office of the Assistant Secretary for Financial Management and Comptroller
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Army concurred with this recommendation. In June 2015, Army officials indicated that the Army's four financial reporting objectives (FROs) have not yet been linked to control activities. Army officials stated that the Army is continuing to analyze collection, disbursement, and Fund Balance with Treasury processes and anticipates linking these FROs to control activities based on these efforts. We requested updates on the status of efforts to address this recommendation and as of August 2017, we have not received such an update.
    Recommendation: To improve the Army's implementation of the FIAR Guidance for its General Fund SBR FIP for budget execution and facilitate remaining efforts to achieve SBR auditability, the Assistant Secretary of the Army, Financial Management and Comptroller should document criteria and processes for identifying key information technology systems that have a significant impact on the Army's SBR audit readiness.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Army: Office of the Assistant Secretary for Financial Management and Comptroller
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Army concurred with this recommendation. In March 2015, Army officials indicated that the Army was in the process of identifying IT systems with a significant impact on the Army's Statement of Budgetary Resources (SBR) audit readiness. Furthermore, Army officials stated that for the fiscal year 2015 Schedule of Budgetary Activity Audit, the independent public accountant was conducting walkthroughs and assessing information technology systems for significant impact on Army's SBR audit readiness. In August 2016, we requested an update on the status of efforts to address this recommendation. In November 2016, an Army representative indicated that efforts were completed and a list of the criteria and processes would be provided to us. Subsequently, we requested a status update and as of August 2017, we have not received such an update.
    Recommendation: To improve the Army's implementation of the FIAR Guidance for its General Fund SBR FIP for budget execution and facilitate remaining efforts to achieve SBR auditability, the Assistant Secretary of the Army, Financial Management and Comptroller should obtain and assess the results of service provider SSAE No. 16 examinations upon completion to determine the adequacy of internal controls and document complete end-to-end business processes.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Army: Office of the Assistant Secretary for Financial Management and Comptroller
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Army concurred with this recommendation. As of January 2016, Army officials indicated that the Army continued to assess SSAE 16 reports including complimentary controls and incorporating end-to-end business processes as applicable. According to the Army, the estimated completion date for these efforts was the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2016, which in November 2016, was revised to the second quarter of fiscal year 2017. We requested updates on the status of efforts to address this recommendation and as of August 2017, we have not received such an update.
    Recommendation: To improve the Army's implementation of the FIAR Guidance for its General Fund SBR FIP for budget execution and facilitate remaining efforts to achieve SBR auditability, the Assistant Secretary of the Army, Financial Management and Comptroller should correct significant deficiencies or material weaknesses identified before asserting audit readiness and engaging an IPA to validate the assertion.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Army: Office of the Assistant Secretary for Financial Management and Comptroller
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Army concurred with this recommendation. In March 2015, Army officials indicated that the Army was still working to resolve identified significant deficiencies and material weaknesses. In January 2016, Army officials indicated that the Army was assessing findings from an Independent Public Accountant in connection with its audit of Army's fiscal year 2015 Schedule of Budgetary Activity to identify deficiencies identified during previous audit readiness efforts. Repeat findings were incorporated into corrective action plans (CAP). According to the Army's January 8, 2016 CAP status report, estimated completion dates for addressing most of the findings identified were not yet determined. Since August 2016, we have requested updates on the status of efforts to address this recommendation and as of August 2017, we have not received such an update.
    Director: Williams, Mccoy
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Senior Civilian Official for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy should develop a review process so that data call information on sponsor owned material is correctly reported.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy: Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Financial Management): Senior Civilian Official
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to Navy officials, sponsor owned material is a subset of Operating Materials and Supplies (OM&S) contained within the OM&S--Remainder (OM&S-R) category. The Navy's Office of Financial Operations (FMO) is providing direction to the various Navy budget submitting offices (BSOs) to guide the development of a complete, accurate, and validated population of the OM&S-R balances reported in the Navy's financial statements--to include sponsor owned material. Specifically, FMO is working with the BSOs to develop a review process in which the BSOs will reconcile their Accountable Property System of Record asset listings to the Navy's financial statements on a quarterly basis. FMO has performed a reconciliation for the third and fourth quarter of fiscal year 2016, and is currently performing a reconciliation for the first quarter of fiscal year 2017. However, FMO has yet to achieve a 100 percent accurate reconciliation. According to Navy FMO officials, the projected implementation date for this review process is expected to be after September 30, 2017. We will continue to follow-up on this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Senior Civilian Official for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy should revise the Navy's policies for compiling its financial statements so that they are in accordance with federal accounting standards and the DOD Financial Management Regulation. Specifically: (1) ammunition items needing repair and those categorized as excess, obsolete, and unserviceable should be revalued appropriately to comply with SFFAS No. 3 and the DOD Financial Management Regulation; and (2) shipboard inventories aboard smaller combatant ships should be reported as operating materials and supplies in accordance with federal accounting standards.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy: Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Financial Management): Senior Civilian Official
    Status: Open

    Comments: Regarding the first part of this recommendation, Navy's procedures for financially reporting ammunition items deemed excess, obsolete, or unserviceable and ammunition items needing repair are not in compliance with federal accounting standards. The Statement of Federal Financial Accounting Standard Number 3 (SFFAS 3) states that excess, obsolete, and unserviceable operating material and supplies shall be valued at their net realizable value. The standard further states that repair costs for inventory held for repair must be accounted for and adjusted accordingly based on the method of accounting used. Specifically, for ammunition items needing repair, entities should revalue, or reduce, such items by the estimated repair costs for financial statement reporting purposes. However, the Navy is currently devaluing its excess, obsolete, and unserviceable ammunition to zero and reporting it as such on the financial statements. Further, although the Navy has identified an annual maintenance cost for ammunition items needing repair, the Navy currently does not devalue its ordnance, or ammunition, amounts by the estimated repair costs. The Navy contends that these are routine maintenance events and will elect to expense the ordnance maintenance cost as it is incurred in opposition to SFFAS 3. Regarding the second part of this recommendation, SFFAS 3 states that Operating Materials and Supplies (OM&S) should be accounted for using the consumption method; in that materials are to be reported as an asset until they are issued to an end user for consumption in normal operations, at which point they would be expensed. Navy acknowledges, in its fiscal year 2016 financial statements, that due to current system limitations, the consumption method of accounting for all of the Navy's OM&S is not feasible, although long-term efforts are underway to transition to the consumption method for the recognition OM&S expenses to address this previously identified material weakness. Until these efforts are completed, the Navy has granted the Fleet Forces Command and Pacific Fleet a waiver to account for OM&S utilizing the purchase method of accounting. Under the purchase method, the OM&S supplies are expensed upon purchase for the smaller combatant command ships, as opposed to federal accounting standards requiring them to be recognized as an asset on the balance sheet and then expensed when consumed in the normal course of operations. We will continue to follow-up on this recommendation and the related issues in future Navy Operating Material and Supplies audit work.