Senate Observations and Counts

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1997-10-30.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

       United States
X!!O   General Accounting Office
       Washington, D.C. 20548

       Accounting and Information
       Management Division


       October 30, 1997

       Mr. Christopher Dey
       Chief Financial Officer
       Office of The Sergeant At Arms
       United States Senate

       Subject:    Senate Observations and Counts

       Dear Mr. Dey:

       At your request, we conducted tical yearend inventory observations and cash-
       related counts at certain U.S. Senate locations on September 30, 1997, and
       October 1, 1997. In completing these tasks, we performed agreed-upon
       procedures which were solely intended to meet your needs for independent
       observations of the inventories and counts of cash-related items at the selected
       locations. In specifying the procedures we performed, your office was
       responsible for ensuring that the procedures were sufficient to meet your
       objectives. Accordingly, we make no representations, regarding the sufficiency
       or adequacy of procedures either for the purposes for which you requested
       them or for any other purpose. In applying these agreed-upon procedures, we
       conducted our work in accordance with generally accepted government auditing
       standards which incorporate standards established by the American Institute of
       Certified Public Accountants.

       In summary, the agreed-upon procedures we performed included observing the
       inventory count and recordation process performed; recounting amounts for
       stamps, cash, and cash items on hand and comparing combined totals to the
       authorized amounts, counting cash and related receipts and comparing their
       total to authorized petty cash fund amounts; counting cash on hand for
       operations and comparing to authorized amounts; and scheduling and
       determining the amount of checks on hand. Enclosed are the results of our

       We were not engaged to, and did not, perform an audit, the objective of which
       would be the expression of an opinion. Accordingly, we do not express such an
       opinion. Had we performed additional procedures, other matters might have
       come to our attention that would have been reported to you.

                                    GAO/.AIMD-98-23R Senate Observations and Counts
B-2178438                                                _

We provided a draft of this letter, along with its enclosure, to representatives of
your office for review and comment. They agreed witi the content of this letter
and its enclosure. We conducted our work on September 30, 1997, and
October 1, 1997.

Sincerely yours,

Robert W. Gramling
Director, Corporate Audits
   and Standards


 2                            GAO/AND-98-23R       Senate Observations and Counts
ENCLOSURE                                                                     ENCLOSURE


The agreed-upon procedures and the associated results are as follows:


We observed the counting and recording of the inventories taken at the Senate Beauty
Shop and Barber Shop. Specifically, we inspected inventory schedules prior to counting
to ensure that no inventory counts had been prerecorded on the schedules. We observed
the count process to determine if the counter correctly (1) identified all the items on the
specific shelves and displays being inventoried and (2) announced the item and units
counted. We observed the count recording to determine if the recorder accurately
identified the item on the inventory schedule and accurately recorded the number of units
announced for that item.


The inventory teams followed the inventory procedures described above without
exception. In addition, both the Beauty and Barber Shop inventory teams correctly
identified inventory that was not on the original inventory schedules. In all instances,
they added the item to the schedule and accurately recorded the number of units


1. At the Senate Post Office, we counted and totaled the number and amount of stamps
and the amount of cash and related items contained in a safe and in eight cash/stamp
drawers. For each drawer and the safe, we compared the combined totals for stamps and
cash on hand to the amounts authorized (a total of $45,618.07). Where applicable, we
compared amounts recorded for debit postal money orders and debit postal meter sales
to system printouts provided.


For the eight cash/stamp drawers, our counts noted that seven drawers had negligible
differences between the combined total of stamps and cash on hand, and the authorized
total. Two of the differences were noted on the completed inventory sheet by the
responsible Post Office staff. The individuaI differences, which netted to a $1.21 overage,
ranged from 1 cent to 60 cents.

                                       GAO/AIMD-9823R Senate Observations and Counts

ENCLOSURE                                                                   ENCLOSURE
Our count of the stamps and cash on hand in the safe found a $27.90 difference which
was not noted on the inventory sheet. As agreed with the Office of-the Senate Sergeant
At Arms, the scope of our procedures was limited to performing counts and comparing
our results to authorized totals. Accordingly, we did not attempt to determine or verify
reasons for any differences. While it was not within our scope to determine a reason for
any differences, Post Office officials provided their explanation for this difference. We
were told that it was apparently due to a double counting related to a $27.90 voucher due
the Post Office. According to Post Office officials, the double count appears to have
occurred when the voucher and the related check paying off the voucher were both
counted by the Post Office staff person as cash related items.

Our count confIrmed an additional difference of $1,589 which had been noted as a
shortage on the completed inventory sheet by the Post Office stafT person responsible for
the safe. According to Post Office officials, the $1,589 difference was due to a
misappropriation of funds by a former employee in 1992, which was made known to
appropriate authorities at the time. These officials advised us that the former employee
was charged and convicted of embezzlement in D.C. Superior Court on March 5, 1993.

2. At the residence for pages and three other Senate office locations (two in the Capitol
and one at Postal Square), we counted and totaled the cash on hand for each of the four
“petty/operations” cash funds. Also, for each fund, we scheduled and totaled the receipts
evidencing disbursements from the fund and compared the combined totals of cash and
receipts to the amount authorized for the fund ($500 for the page residence, $300 for the
Postal Square office, and $100 and $50 for the other two Capitol offices).


We found that the combined totals of cash and receipts for each fund agreed with the
amount authorized for each fund.

3. At the Senate Beauty Shop and Barber Shop, we counted and totaled the register cash
used for daily operations that was on hand at the start of operations and compared it to
the amounts authorized for those registers ($150 for the Beauty Shop and $125 for the
Barber Shop).


In each case, we found that the cash on hand agreed with the balance authorized.

                                      GAO/AIMD-9823R Senate Observations and Counts

ENCLOSURE                                                                   ENCLOSURE

4. For the Senate Health Promotions office, the Senate Recording Studio, and the Senate
Photographic Studio, which periodically receive checks in payment fdr services, we called
on September 30, 1997, to arrange to schedule and total checks on hand at the time of
our call.


We were told by the responsible staff of the Senate Health Promotions office and the
Senate Recording Studio that there were no checks on hand at the time of our calls. For
the Photographic Studio, which had checks on hand, we scheduled and totaled 10 checks
which had a combined value of $889.30.

(9 17578)

                                     GAO/ADD-9823R       Senate Observations and Counts

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