Need To Apply Adequate Control Over the Centralized Payroll System

FGMSD-77-51: Published: Sep 22, 1977. Publicly Released: Sep 22, 1977.

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In 1976, the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) paid over $2.2 billion to about 150,000 employees through a centralized, automated payroll system. Weaknesses in the system that might prevent timely and accurate payments to employees include inaccuracies in time and attendance reporting, uncontrolled payments to experts and consultants, and illegible or missing payroll records.

Previous GAO reports have recommended that a series of actions be taken to: (1) correct a high rate of errors in time and attendance reports; (2) improve supplemental pay processing to prevent erroneous payments, pay and leave records, and withholding statements from being generated; (3) provide controls over pay adjustments to keep previous pay errors from being compounded during the adjustment process and to reduce the potential for fraudulent or unauthorized payments through the adjustment process; (4) eliminate practices that allow excessive and fraudulent payments to experts and consultants; (5) control temporary pay records to prevent overpayments and inaccurate withholding statements; and (6) provide better microfilm copies of pay records that are being retained for payroll research and audit.

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