Financial Audit:

U.S. Senate Stationery Room Revolving Fund's Fiscal Years 2002 and 2001 Financial Statements

GAO-04-905: Published: Aug 27, 2004. Publicly Released: Sep 28, 2004.

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This report presents the results of our audit of the Senate Stationery Room's Statement of Receipts, Disbursements, and Fund Balance for the fiscal years ended September 30, 2002 and September 30, 2001. This report also contains our opinion on the effectiveness of the Fund's related internal control as of September 30, 2002, and our evaluation of its compliance with selected provision of laws and regulations we tested.

We have audited the accompanying Statement of Receipts, Disbursements, and Fund Balance for the Senate Stationary Room Revolving Fund for the fiscal years ended September 30, 2002 and 2001. In our audit, we found (1) the financial statements are presented fairly, in all material respects, in conformity with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles; (2) although certain internal controls should be improved, the Fund had effective internal control over financial reporting (including safeguarding of assets) and compliance with laws and regulations; and (3) no reportable noncompliance with selected provisions of laws and regulations we tested, although an internal control weakness regarding the preference to purchase domestically made goods resulted in uncertainty about compliance for a limited number of transactions.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Stationery Room management has taken various actions to improve related internal controls, including implementing a policy that required appropriate supporting documentation (including approved purchase orders), prior to making related disbursements. The Stationery Room's policy required that purchase orders be approved by the Keeper of the Stationery and in doing so permitted the use of signature stamps to evidence his approval. The policy also requires the Keeper to properly secure the signature stamp to prevent unauthorized use. During 2006, we reviewed supporting documentation for a sample of more than 100 randomly selected disbursement transactions and in all instances the supporting documentation included evidence that the purchase order was approved by Keeper of the Stationery.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Senate should direct the Stationery Room management to continue its efforts to strengthen internal control to provide assurance that individuals responsible for approving purchase orders sign each document to formally evidence their approval.

    Agency Affected: Secretary of the Senate

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: As GAO's Fiscal Year 2010 performance audit of the Fund's receipt and disbursement transactions, GAO work found that Stationery Room policies require a detailed monthly reconciliation of the Fund's receipt and disbursement transactions and related Fund balance with Senate Disbursing Office records, within 3 days of receipt of the monthly statement from Senate Disbursing Office. The policy requires that the reconciliation identify and research any discrepancies and make appropriate corrections or adjustments and that the reconciliation be documented. GAO's audit noted also that, in accordance with the Fund's policies, the FY 2010 monthly reconciliations of receipt and disbursement transactions were performed on a timely basis.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Senate should direct the Stationery Room management to continue its efforts to strengthen internal control to provide assurance that Stationery Room receipt and disbursement transactions as well as fund balance amounts are timely reconciled to the Senate Disbursing Office records on a monthly basis.

    Agency Affected: Secretary of the Senate

  3. Status: Open

    Comments: In inquiries in 2006 and 2008 to followup on the status of Stationery Room actions to implement this recommendation, GAO noted that Stationery Room management has taken some actions designed to enhance its compliance with "made in America requirements" applicable to Stationery Room purchases. Those actions were primarily focused on documenting whether or not the items purchased from vendors were or were not made in the United States. However, the actions cited by management did not include implemented policies and procedures requiring the Stationery Room to document the basis for its decision to purchase goods that were not made in the United States. Additionally, a subsequent GAO performance audit of the Fund's Fiscal Year 2010 receipt and disbursement transactions did not identify any policies or procedures requiring the Stationery Room to document the basis or reason for its decisions to purchase goods that were not made in the United States.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Senate should direct the Stationery Room management to continue its efforts to strengthen internal control to provide assurance that policies and procedures are developed and implemented to document the basis (sole supplier, quality, and price) for decisions to purchase goods that are not of United States origin, including purchases from American distributors of goods manufactured in foreign countries, to ensure compliance with section 109 of title 2 of the United States Code.

    Agency Affected: Secretary of the Senate

 

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