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Table 2: Comparison of Governmentwide Sampling Results to Previous Rates at Certain Individual Agencies and Locations

Estimated percentage failure rate in key control activities (point estimatea)

Report year

Appropriate authorization

Independent receipt

Current report Governmentwide Prior reports Department of Homeland Security Department of the Air Forceb Department of the Navyc Department of the Armyd

45

63

69-87

53-68

80-98

58-67

25-69

55-87

2008

2006 2002 2002 2002

15

34

Source: GAO.

aThe numbers represent the point estimates based on statistical sample testing. All percentage estimates have margins of plus or minus 14 percentage points or less.

bThe numbers represent the range from the highest to lowest point estimates at four Air Force locations.

cThe numbers represent the range from the highest to lowest point estimates at four Navy locations. dThe numbers represent the range from the highest to lowest point estimates at five Army locations.

As shown, estimated failure rates for independent receipt and acceptance from previous audits were as high as 87 percent for one Army location (as reported in 2002) 25 and, most recently, 63 percent for DHS (as reported in 2006). In contrast, we are estimating a 34 percent failure rate for this audit. Because prior audits have been restricted to individual agencies, we cannot state conclusively that the lower failure rate is attributable to improvements in internal controls governmentwide. However, some agencies with large purchase card programs, such as DOD, have implemented improved internal controls in response to our previous recommendations. Further, in 2005, OMB also issued Appendix B to Circular No. A-12326 prescribing purchase card program guidance and

25In one instance, the rate of failure from previous reports was within range of the governmentwide results. We tested five Army installations and found that at the Soldier Biological and Chemical Command, the failure rate for proper authorization was 25 percent. However, our prior audits have also found that the failure rates for authorization and independent receipt and acceptance were generally higher than the governmentwide results for this audit.

26Issued in August 2005, Appendix B requires agencies to maintain internal controls that reduce the risk of fraud, waste, and error in government charge card programs.

Page 15

GAO-08-333 Governmentwide Purchase Cards

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