Survey of Internal Controls Over Cash Receipts and Expenditure Transactions Within the Health Services Administration

FGMSD-79-32: Published: Aug 22, 1979. Publicly Released: Aug 22, 1979.

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A survey was made of accounting systems at 19 accounting stations within the Health Services Administration (HSA). Included were 17 regional accounting stations and 2 stations at the HSA headquarters.

The survey identified weaknesses in internal controls over cash collections, imprest funds, accounts receivable, disbursements, and obligations. Although most of the weaknesses noted were caused by problems at individual accounting stations, two problems were identified at the headquarters level which could adversely affect the ability of the stations to recognize and correct internal control deficiencies. These problems are: (1) a need for more specific headquarters instructions on handling receipt and disbursement transactions, and (2) a general lack of internal audits of regional financial management activities. At the time of the review, most of the accounting stations of HSA had not been audited within the past 3 years, even though internal audits are a key element of an effective internal control system. GAO believes that many of the internal control weaknesses could have been prevented or detected earlier and corrected if greater attention had been paid to internal auditing. Headquarters and accounting station officials assured GAO that corrective actions would be taken.

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