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Highlights

For the past 11 years, since GAO's first audit of the consolidated financial statements of the U.S. government (CFS), certain material weaknesses in internal control and in selected accounting and financial reporting practices have prevented GAO from expressing an opinion on the CFS. GAO has consistently reported that the U.S. government did not have adequate systems, controls, and procedures to properly prepare the CFS. GAO's December 2007 disclaimer of opinion on the fiscal year 2007 accrual basis consolidated financial statements included a discussion of continuing control deficiencies related to the preparation of the CFS. The purpose of this report is to (1) provide details of continuing material weaknesses, (2) recommend improvements, and (3) provide the status of corrective actions taken to address the 81 open recommendations related to the preparation of the CFS that GAO reported in July 2007.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of the Treasury The Secretary of the Treasury should direct the Fiscal Assistant Secretary, working in coordination with the Controller of OMB's Office of Federal Financial Management, to develop and implement alternative solutions to performing almost all of the compilation effort at the end of the year, including obtaining and utilizing interim financial information from federal agencies.
Closed - Implemented
As of the completion of our fiscal year 2014 CFS audit, this recommendation was closed. In fiscal year 2014, Treasury increased the number of key topics and completed subject matters to the extent possible before fiscal year-end.
Department of the Treasury The Secretary of the Treasury should direct the Fiscal Assistant Secretary to enhance and fully document all practices referred to in the standard operating procedure (SOP) entitled "Standard Operating Procedures for Preparing the Financial Report of the U.S. Government" to better ensure that practices are proper, complete, and can be consistently applied by staff members.
Closed - Implemented
Treasury has taken several actions to address this recommendation, such as those related to analytical procedures. To provide recommendations that are better aligned with the current status of remaining deficiencies related to this area, we have (1) closed this recommendation based on Treasury's significant progress and (2) included new recommendations for corrective action for the remaining deficiencies in GAO-13-540, under the section "Preparation of the Budget Statements Included in the CFS".
Department of the Treasury The Secretary of the Treasury should direct the Fiscal Assistant Secretary to enhance its checklist or design an alternative and use it to adequately and timely document Treasury's assessment of the relevance, usefulness, or materiality of information reported by the federal agencies for use at the governmentwide level.
Closed - Implemented
Over the past few years, Treasury has taken several actions to address this recommendation. In fiscal year 2011, Treasury further enhanced the SOP to include procedures to periodically update the CFS disclosure checklist to reflect new and amended disclosure requirements and document preparer sign-offs and managerial approvals. These actions have improved the CFS disclosure checklist and Treasury's ability to identify GAAP disclosure requirements and assess disclosure at the governmentwide level. To provide recommendations that are better aligned with the current status of remaining deficiencies related to this area, we have (1) closed this recommendation based on Treasury's significant progress and (2) included new recommendations for corrective actions for the remaining deficiencies in GAO-12-529 CFS management report under "Timely Review and Approval of the Financial Reporting Disclosure Checklist".
Office of Management and Budget The Director of OMB should direct the Controller of OMB's Office of Federal Financial Management, in coordination with Treasury's Fiscal Assistant Secretary, to develop formal processes and procedures for identifying and resolving any material differences in distributed offsetting receipt amounts included in the net outlay calculation of federal agencies' Statement of Budgetary Resources (SBRs) and the amounts included in the computation of the budget deficit in the CFS.
Closed - Not Implemented
Over the past few years, Treasury has taken certain actions to address recommendations related to the two CFS budget statements. To provide recommendations that are better aligned with the remaining control deficiencies in this area, we have (1) closed this recommendation and (2) included new recommendations for corrective action in GAO-13-540, under the section "Preparation of the Budget Statements Included in the CFS".
Department of the Treasury The Secretary of the Treasury should direct the Fiscal Assistant Secretary to establish effective internal control to ensure the spreadsheets used to compile the CFS are protected from inadvertent change.
Closed - Implemented
In fiscal year 2008, Treasury implemented password protection on spreadsheets used to compile the CFS to protect files from inadvertent change.
Department of the Treasury
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Secretary of the Treasury should direct the Fiscal Assistant Secretary, in coordination with the Controller of OMB's Office of Federal Financial Management, to develop and implement effective processes for monitoring and assessing the effectiveness of internal control over the processes used to prepare the CFS.
Closed - Implemented
As of the completion of our fiscal year 2018 CFS audit, this recommendation is closed. Treasury designed and implemented an internal control review for the CFS compilation processes.
Department of the Treasury The Secretary of the Treasury should direct the Fiscal Assistant Secretary to enhance its checklist or design an alternative and use it to adequately and timely document Treasury's consideration of relevant accounting standards other than those issued by the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board (FASAB).
Closed - Implemented
During fiscal year 2008, Treasury redesigned its checklist to consider accounting standards other than those issued by the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board when preparing the CFS.
Department of the Treasury The Secretary of the Treasury should direct the Fiscal Assistant Secretary to enhance its checklist or design an alternative and use it to adequately and timely document Treasury's final decisions regarding the inclusion or exclusion of federal agencies' disclosure information in the existing notes to the CFS.
Closed - Implemented
In fiscal year 2008, Treasury began documenting in the checklist its final decisions regarding the inclusion or exclusion of federal agencies' disclosure information in the existing notes to the fiscal year 2008 CFS.
Department of the Treasury The Secretary of the Treasury should direct the Fiscal Assistant Secretary to establish effective internal control to ensure the spreadsheets used to compile the CFS are documented to facilitate detection and tracking of changes to key formulas and data.
Closed - Implemented
During fiscal year 2008, Treasury established and implemented a process to detect, track, and approve changes made to the spreadsheets used to compile the CFS.
Department of the Treasury The Secretary of the Treasury should direct the Fiscal Assistant Secretary to ensure that columns within key spreadsheets used to compile the CFS are labeled and properly aligned to reflect the data contained within.
Closed - Implemented
During fiscal year 2008, Treasury revised the format of key spreadsheets used to compile the CFS to identify the section in the CFS to which the data pertained.

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