Audit Reports

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Actions Needed to Enforce Controls over Purchase Cards

Project ID: 

On July 25, 2013, we issued the report on our audit of DOT’s SmartPay® Purchase Card Program. Each year, DOT employees make over 300,000 purchases, totaling about $200 million, with Department-issued purchase cards. We conducted this audit to evaluate the Department’s internal controls over purchase card use. Our primary audit objective was to assess the adequacy of controls in place to prevent and detect erroneous purchases made with DOT-issued cards. During the audit, we expanded our scope to also assess the effectiveness of FAA’s controls for recording in the Agency’s inventory system information technology and other property acquired with purchase cards.

We found that while DOT had designed adequate controls to prevent and detect erroneous purchases in the purchase card program, cardholders and approving officials did not always adhere to these controls. Based on statistical sampling, we estimate that $58 million of $277 million in purchases that DOT cardholders made between October 1, 2009, and March 31, 2011, did not comply with the prescribed controls. We also found that FAA employees did not always enter the property they acquired with purchase cards into the Agency’s tracking system in accordance with policy. We found that 32 percent of the property we reviewed was either not promptly recorded or not recorded at all.

We made four recommendations to DOT and five recommendations to FAA. Both DOT and FAA program officials concurred with the recommendations.