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breakfasts. We disagree with GSA that this is an appropriate treatment of continental breakfast, as it implies that it is appropriate for taxpayers to pay twice for a government traveler’s meal. Consequently, we reiterate the need for GSA to promote prudent management of taxpayer’s money, and our support for requiring travelers to reduce their per diem if they took advantage of the continental breakfasts provided.

GSA disagreed with all of our recommendations related to receipt and acceptance and controls over accountable and pilferable property. GSA stated that these issues were not within the purview of the GSA SmartPay® program or the scope of GSA SmartPay® contracts. Further, GSA stated that other approaches would be more effective at addressing purchase card abuse and misuse than issuing “redundant” policy guidance and reminders. With respect to receipt and acceptance, GSA stated that it did not have the authority to encourage agencies to identify a de minimis amount, types of items that do not require receipt and acceptance, or both, or to determine how approving officials should document receipt and acceptance. With respect to accountable property, GSA did not believe that it should provide reminders to agencies that computers and similar items are sensitive and pilferable property that can easily be converted to personal use. GSA argued that what constitutes sensitive and pilferable property is defined by agencies and is not within its purview. GSA also believes that it does not have authority to remind cardholders to maintain accountability of, and notify property managers when, pilferable property is acquired with purchase cards. Finally, GSA does not believe that it can issue reminders to property managers to record, in a timely manner, pilferable property acquired with purchase cards in their property management systems. GSA suggested we modify these recommendations accordingly.

With respect to receipt and acceptance, we agree that GSA alone should not issue guidance concerning agencies’ internal controls over purchase cards and related payment process. We reiterate that we did not ask GSA to take actions in isolation—instead, we recommended that GSA work with the Department of the Treasury’s Financial Management Service to provide guidance on improving internal controls while at the same time streamlining the acquisition process. After all, streamlining the acquisition process is a key objective of the purchase card program. We believe this could be achieved, in part, by requiring independent receipt and acceptance only for items above a de minimis amount. Further, governmentwide guidance in this area would not be redundant—the fact that no current guidance exists demonstrates the need for consistent policy governmentwide that all agencies can follow. Consistent guidance

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GAO-08-333 Governmentwide Purchase Cards

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