oversight

Interparliamentary Group Review Procedures

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1997-12-22.

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

G AO
   r   United States
       General Accounting Office                             111111111111111111111
       Washington, D.C. 20548                                         II
                                                                     156
                                                                           159687

       Accounting and Information
       Management Division


       B-278617


       December 22, 1997

       The Honorable Benjamin A. Gilman
       Chairman, Committee on International
           Relations
       House of Representatives

       Subject: Interparliamentarv Group Review Procedures

       Dear Mr. Chairman:

       We have performed the procedures you requested to assist the Committee in
       evaluating the extent to which five House Interparliamentary Groups' Schedules
       of Receipts, Disbursements, and Fund Balance for the year ended December 31,
       1996, appropriately reflect the cash receipts and disbursements and fund
       balance for the year then ended. The schedules present, for the year ended
       December 31, 1996, the opening fund balance, total receipts and disbursements
       by category, and ending fund balance, on a cash basis, for each of the following
       groups:

       -    British-American Interparliamentary Group,

       -    Canada-United States Interparliamentary Group,

       -    Mexico-United States Interparliamentary Group,

       -    United States-European Community Interparliamentary Group, and

       -    United States Group of the North Atlantic Assembly.

       In summary, the procedures you asked us to perform included reviewing
       documentation supporting each group's recorded receipts and disbursements
       transactions and related fund balances for evidence that the transactions were
       properly authorized and recorded. As agreed to, we also recalculated the
       reported amounts using each group's general journal and supporting
       documentation and compared the recalculated amounts to the reported amounts
       in each group's 1996 schedules. The details of the agreed-upon procedures


                                         GAO/AIMD-98-44R Interparliamentary Groups
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    B-278617

along with our results are presented in enclosure I. The- unaudited 1996
schedules for each of the five Interparliamentary Groups are in enclosure II.

By specifying the procedures, your office was responsible for ensuring that the
procedures were sufficient to meet your objectives, and we make no
representations in that respect. In performing the agreed-upon procedures, we
conducted our work in accordance with generally accepted government auditing
standards which incorporate financial audit and attestation standards
established by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. These
standards also provide guidance when performing and reporting the results of
agreed-upon procedures. In agreeing to perform the procedures you requested,
we discussed this guidance and the related limitations on the nature, scope, and
intended use of our work with your office. As we did not perform a financial
audit, we do not express an opinion on the schedules.

We provided a draft of this letter, along with its enclosures, to your staff for
review and comment. They agreed with the contents of this letter and the
enclosures. We conducted our work during November 1997. Should you or
members of your staff have any questions concerning our work or the results of
the agreed-upon procedures, please contact me on (202) 512-9406 or John J.
Reilly, Assistant Director, on (202) 512-9517.

Sincerely yours,




Robert W. Gramling
Director, Corporate Audits
  and Standards

Enclosures




2                                 GAO/AIMD-98-44R Interparliamentary Groups
ENCLOSURE I                                                                  ENCLOSURE I

                AGREED-UPON PROCEDURES AND RELATED RESULTS


RECEIPTS PROCEDURES

1. Compare the appropriation received and recorded in the general journal for 1996 to
   evidence of the appropriation requested, received, and bank deposits recorded on the
   bank statements.

2. Compare the interest received and recorded in the general journal for 1996 to the
   interest credited on the group's 1996 bank statements.

3. Compare the other receipts recorded in the general journal for 1996 to deposit slips,
   bank statements, and/or other documentation evidencing the receipts.

   RESULTS

   For each group, annual appropriation, interest, and other receipts were accurately
   recorded in the general journal and supported by appropriate documentation.


DISBURSEMENTS PROCEDURES

For each of the reported disbursement categories (representational functions,
interpreters/translators, travel, lodging, and miscellaneous), obtain and review vouchers,
canceled checks, and other supporting documentation for each disbursement recorded in
the general journal for 1996. As part of the review:

1. Compare the voucher amount to the amount disbursed per the general journal.

2. Compare the payee on the voucher to the supporting documentation.

3. Examine each voucher and supporting document for evidence that the (a) voucher
   was approved by an authorizing official, (b) designated official certified that the goods
   and/or services have been received, and (c) voucher was approved before it was
   drawn for payment.

4. Examine each canceled check to determine that the check was signed by the
   designated official and endorsed by the payee.


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ENCLOSURE I                                                                 ENCLOSURE I

5. Examine the disbursement entry in the general journal to determine whether the
   journal entry included the date of the check, the payee, the check number, the
    amount, and the description of the type or category of goods or services provided.

6. Examine the check register and subsequent bank statements to determine if a check
   was recorded, issued, and paid for each payment voucher.

  RESULTS

   Checks for all 1996 disbursements were signed, recorded, issued, and endorsed. Each
   check disbursement entry in the general journal included the date of the check, the
  payee, the check number, the amount, and the description of the type or category of
  goods or services provided. The amount of each disbursement recorded in the general
  journal agreed with the amount on the related voucher and supporting documentation,
  and the payee on each check was the same as the payee on the voucher. All of the
  vouchers were prepared, certified, and approved before the payment was made except
  that each payment for the United States Group of the North Atlantic Assembly was
  made before a voucher was prepared and authorized.

  We noted in our review of the United States Group of the North Atlantic Assembly's
  documentation for its disbursements that Committee staff had identified after year-end
  that all the Group's 1996 disbursements had been made without prior voucher
  preparation and approval. As recognized by the Procedures To Be Followed For
  Accounts Of Interparliamentary Groups issued by the House Committee on
  International Relations, the statutes governing the interparliamentary groups require
  that appropriated funds for the groups be disbursed on vouchers approved by the
  chairmen of the respective delegations. The Committee's procedures provide that
  designated staff are to prepare, sign, and have the Group's chairman approve vouchers
  before checks are drawn, except in limited instances when on-the-spot payments are
  necessary.

  Based on a subsequent review of the individual disbursements, the North Atlantic
  Assembly Group's Chairman concluded that each disbursement was for a legitimate
  Group expense and that he would have approved vouchers for the disbursements if
  vouchers had been submitted in advance. Further, the Group's chairman requested
  that, as a matter of record, vouchers for the 1996 disbursements be prepared,
  approved, and dated with the date they were prepared. To assure compliance with
  internal controls, the staff responsible for preparing the Group's vouchers and checks
  were formally notified that a check is not authorized until the Group's chairman has
  signed a voucher.

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ENCLOSURE I                                                                  ENCLOSURE I


OVERALL PROCEDURES AND RELATED RESULTS

1. Trace the opening fund balance for 1996 recorded in the general journal to the closing
   balance recorded in the general journal for 1995.

2. Trace the opening and closing fund balance for 1996 in the group's general journal and
   related bank statements to the opening and closing fund balance in the Schedule of
   Receipts, Disbursements, and Fund Balance for 1996.

3. Recalculate the ending balance for 1996 by adding all receipts posted to the journal to
   the opening balance recorded in the journal for 1996 and subtracting all disbursements
   or other charges recorded in the journal for 1996. Compare the results to the amount
   recorded as ending balance recorded in the general journal and on the schedule.

4. Using the amounts recorded in the general journal for 1996, recalculate (a) the total
   receipts and total disbursements for the year and (b) the total receipts for the year by
   category (appropriations, interest and other) and total disbursements for the year by
   category (representational functions, interpreters/translators, travel, lodging, and
   miscellaneous). Trace the recalculated amounts to the amounts in the 1996 Schedule
   of Receipts, Disbursements, and Fund Balance.

5. Review the reconciliation for the 1996 year-end bank statement and related reconciling
   items. Review subsequent bank statements for evidence that the reconciling items
   were posted as provided for in the reconciliation.

6. With respect to each procedure, obtain an explanation for any difference between
   amounts recorded in the general journal, the bank statements, and the Schedule of
   Receipts, Disbursements, and Fund Balance.




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ENCLOSURE I                                                               ENCLOSURE I
  RESULTS

  The groups' receipt and disbursement transactions were correctly recorded in their
  general journal and supported by appropriate documentation. In addition, for 1996,
  the receipts and disbursements, by category and in total, as well as the beginning and
  ending fund balance reported in each group's Schedule of Receipts, Disbursements,
  and Fund Balance for 1996, were correctly totaled and agreed with the amounts
  recorded in each group's general journal for the year.




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ENCLOSURE II                                                                                                 ENCLOSURE II

     1996 SCHEDULES FOR THE INTERPARLIAMENTARY GROUPS (UNAUDITED)

British-American Interparliamentarv Group



                                                    House of Representatives
                                           British-American Interparliamentary Group
                                    Schedule of Receipts. Disbursements, and Fund Balance'
                                             For the Year Ended December 31, 1996
                                                           (Unaudited)


                Beginning Fur.n Balance'                                           S 96, 067.26

                Receipts:

                         Appropriation                                             S 25. 000.00
                         Interest                                                     2. 564.28
                         Other'                                                           24.38

               Total receipts                                                      S 27, 588.66

                Disbursements:

                Representational functions'                                        S 35, 260.77

               Total disbursements                                                 S 35, 260.77

                Ending Fund Balance'                                               S 88, 395.15




                         'The Schedule of Receipts, Disbursements, and Fund Balance is prepared on a cash
                basis.

                       2 Beginning Fund Balance represents the balance at January 1, 1996 of interparliamentary
                group funds carried over from the prior period.

                          Other represents payment from a restaurant of unused prepayment amount.

                        'Representational functions include the costs associated with holding the
                interparliamentary groups' conferences. These costs include expenses for supplies. gift items.
                ground transportation. official delegation group meals. and control room costs.

                        ' Ending fund balance represents the fund balance remaining at December 31. 1996 and
                available for use in a subsequent period.




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ENCLOSURE                                                                                                       ENCLOSURE II
Canada-United States Intermarliamentarv Group




                                                House of Representatives
                                    Canada-United States Interparliamentary Group
                                 Schedule of Receipts, Disbursements, and Fund Balance'
                                         For the Year Ended December 31, 1996
                                                       (Unaudited)



              Beginning Fund Balance:                                     $66,404.60

              Receipts:

                     Appropriation                                        $35,000.00
                     Interest                                             S1,986.74
                     Other'                                               $1,878.25

              Total receipts                                              S38,864.99

              Disbursements:

                     Representational functions'                          S15,985.53
                     Lodging/Per Diem                                     S12,883.90
                     Miscellaneous                                        S4,255.74

              Total disbursements                                         S33,125.17

              Ending Fund Balance'                                        S72.144.42




                     'The Schedule of Receipts, Disbursements, and Fund Balance is prepared on a cash basis.

                     -Beginning Fund Balance represents the balance at January 1,. 1996 of interparliamentary
              group funds carried over from the prior period.

                     'Other represents payment from Senate Group for shared expenses originally paid with
              House funds, reimbursement of unused cash advance and reimbursement from Representative
              Houghton for official expenses incurred.

                      'Representational functions include the costs associated with holding the
              interparliamentary groups' annual conferences. These costs include expenses fotr supplies. gift
              items, ground transportation. official delegation group meals. and control room costs.

                      'Ending fund balance represents the fund balance remaining at December 31. 1996 and
              available for use in a subsequent period.




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ENCLOSURE II                                                                                                    ENCLOSURE II

Mexico-United States Interparliamentarv Group




                                                 House of Representatives
                                      Mexico-United States Interparliamentary Group
                                  Schedule of Receipts, Disbursements, and Fund Balance'
                                          For the Year Ended December 31, 1996
                                                         (Unaudited)

               Beginning Fund Balance                               S 71,735.64

               Receipts:

                      Appropriation                                 S 40,000.00
                      Interest                                         2,480.64
                      Other'                                           1,843.52

               Total receipts                                       S 44,324.16

               Disbursements:

                      Representational functions'                   S 1,978.15
                      Interpreters/translation                          894.71
                      Travel                                          2,353.15
                      Lodging/perdiem                                 3,742.63
                      Miscellaneous                                   1,276.74

               Total disbursements                                  S 10,245.38

               Ending Fund Balance'                                 $105,814.42




                      'The Schedule of Receipts, Disbursements, and Fund Balance is prepared on a cash basis.

                      'Beginning Fund Balance represents the balance at January 1, 1996 of interparliamentary
               group funds carried over from the prior period.

                      'Other represents payment from Senate Group for shared expenses originally paid with
               House funds and reimbursement ofunused cash advance.

                       'Representational functions include the costs associated with holding the
               interparliamentary groups' annual conferences. These costs include expenses for supplies, gift
               items, ground transportation, official delegation group meals, and control room costs.

                       SEnding fund balance represents the fund balance remaining at December 31, 1996 and
               available for use in a subsequent period.




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ENCLOSURE II                                                                                                                     ENCLOSURE II

United States-European Community Interparliamentarv Group




                                                   House of Representatives
                                            United States - European Community
                                                  Interparliamentary Group
                                   Schedule of Receipts, Disbursements, and Fund Balance'
                                            for the year ended December 31, 1996
                                                          (unaudited)

             Beginning Fund Balance                                S85,644.12

             Receipts:

                      Appropriation                                $50,000.00
                      Interest                                     S 2,436.01
                      Other'                                       S 655.56

             Total Receipts:                                       $53,091.57

              Disbursements:

                      Representational Functions'                  S42.456.84
                      InterpretesTranslation                       S 4,400.00
                      Travel                                       S        0
                      Lodging/per diem                             S        0
                      Miscellaneous                                S 1,420.37

              Total Disbursements                                  S48,277.21

              Ending Fund BalanceJ                                  $90,458.48




                       'The schedule of Receipts. Disbursements, and Fund Balance is prepared on a cash basis.
                       2Beginning Fund Balance represents the balance at January I, 1996 of interparliamentary group funds
              carried over from dtheprior period. The beginning balance has been revised to adjust for accrued expenses which
              were disbursed in a subsequent yea. -

                       'Represents reimbursemrnt of deposit on facility after cancellation of meeting.

                      'Representational Functions include the costs associated with holding the interpartiamentary groups
              annual conferences. These costs include expenses for supplies, gift items. ground transportation, official delegation
              group meals. and control room costs.

                       'Ending fund balance represents the fund balance remaining at December 31. 1996 and available for use in
               subsequent periods.




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 ENCLOSURE II                                                                                                   ENCLOSURE II

United States Group of the North Atlantic Assembly




                                                House of Representatives
                                   United States Group of the North Atlantic Assembly
                                 Schedule of Receipts, Disbursements and Fund Balance'
                                         For the Year Ended December 31, 1996
                                                       (Unaudited)


                             Beginning Fund Balance2                             $123,680.23

                             Receipts:
                                    Appropriation                                S 50,000.00
                                    Interest                                        3.989.10
                                    Other                                               0.00

                                    Total Receipts                               S 53.989.10


                             Disbursements:
                                    Representational Functions'                  S 24,735.37
                                    Interpreters/Translation                        5,728.72
                                    Travel                                            226.00
                                    Lodging/Perdiem                                 1.071.70
                                    Miscellaneous                                   1.774.69

                                    Total Disbursements                          S 33.536.48


                                    Ending Fund Balance'                         S144,132.85




                     'The Schedule of Receipts, Disbursements and Fund Balance is prepared on a cash basis.

                      :Beginning Fund Balance represents the balance at January I, 1996 of interparliamentary
              group funds carried over from the prior period. As necessary, the beginning balance has been
              revised to adjust for accrued expenses which were disbursed in a subsequent year.

                     'Representational Functions include the costs associated with holding the interparlia-
              mentary groups' annual conferences. These costs include expenses for supplies, gift items,
              ground transportation, official delegation group meals, and control rooms.

                      'Ending Fund Balance represents the fund balance remaining at December 31. 1996 and
              available for use in a subsequent period.




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