Forest Service's Efforts to Improve Its Financial Management Systems

T-AFMD-90-19: Published: May 2, 1990. Publicly Released: May 2, 1990.

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GAO discussed the Forest Service's efforts to improve its financial management systems. GAO found that: (1) the all-resource cost reporting system would account for all forest system appropriations and cooperative agreements involving the management of the national forests; (2) the Forest Service concluded that its operating costs were separate from the goals of its natural resource programs, but that some of those costs might be related to one or more of its programs; (3) the system design could be improved by distinguishing between revenue- and nonrevenue-producing activities in its reports; (4) many of the changes to the timber reporting system would decrease annual expenses; (5) the Service would begin accounting for brush disposal and reforestation costs in the growth activity cost pool; (6) the Service plans to change the method forests use to estimate the total volume of timber expected to be harvested during the timber life cycle; (7) timber road costs would be removed from the growth activity cost pool; (8) some Service budget and accounting procedures might inhibit the charged-as-worked policy; (9) of the 3,030 fiscal year 1988 timber sales, 40 percent were advertised for prices that, if accepted, would not have covered preparation and administrative costs; and (10) the Service did not exercise adequate internal control over the timber appraisal process.

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