NASA OIG: NASA's Travel Module Lacks Management Control Structure and Compliance With Federal Requirements (IG-04-027)

Status Report From: NASA Office of Inspector General
Posted: Monday, October 4, 2004

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What We Did

We performed an audit of the travel module to determine if the module (1) complied with requirements established by the Joint Financial Management Improvement Program (JFMIP)—a joint and cooperative Federal undertaking of the Department of the Treasury, the Government Accountability Office, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Office of Personnel Management designed to improve financial management practices in Government, and (2) contained appropriate management controls for monitoring NASA’s expenditures of approximately $59 million of annual travel funds. We also attempted to determine whether NASA travelers were reimbursed timely and, if not, whether interest was paid for late reimbursements.

What We Found

We found that the travel module was not in compliance with JFMIP requirements for Federal travel systems in two key areas: (1) required reporting capabilities, and (2) interface with the core financial system. The lack of compliance with JFMIP requirements in those two areas created a management control weakness in which NASA management was unable to monitor and document Agency travel expenditures and transactions from initiation through final posting to Agency accounting records. In addition, because of the reporting and integration limitations, it was impossible to determine whether, in accordance with Federal Travel Regulations, NASA travelers were reimbursed within 30 days or whether interest was paid when reimbursements were late. In other words, no mechanized insight existed for determining if the system was working properly.

What We Recommended

We made eight recommendations to NASA to guide the Agency in ensuring that the travel module meets all JFMIP requirements for reporting capabilities and interfaces effectively with the core financial system. NASA management concurred with each recommendation and has taken or has planned corrective actions that meet the intent of our recommendations. Management stated that it is now finally able to monitor travel documents from initiation through final posting. To ensure that proposed actions will completely resolve all reporting and interface issues, we have left the recommendations open pending our verification of management’s implemented and planned actions.

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