November 4, 2019
Gaps in Internal Controls Impede the Department’s Management of Working Capital Fund Laptops
What We Looked At
Laptop computers are an essential and widespread information technology asset at the Department of Transportation (DOT). From fiscal years 2013 to 2017, DOT purchased 5,448 laptops (costing approximately $8.6 million) using the Department’s Working Capital Fund (WCF). Federal regulations and DOT policy require that the Department ensure the appropriate and effective receipt, inspection, acceptance, and accounting for any property once it is delivered. Given the Department’s significant investment in laptop computers and the importance of strong management and oversight, we initiated this audit. Our audit objectives were to: (1) determine whether DOT is following the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) requirements for purchases of laptop computers; (2) assess whether DOT's policies and procedures for receipt, inspection, and acceptance of laptops are sufficient; and (3) assess whether internal controls are in place to account for the laptops in DOT’s inventory management system after acceptance.
What We Found
While most of DOT’s Operating Administrations complied with OMB requirements for the purchase of laptop computers, we identified weaknesses in DOT’s laptop management procedures following their purchase. In particular, DOT’s current policy defining its process for managing Government equipment is outdated and does not fully address the Department’s operating environment. DOT also lacks sufficient internal controls to account for WCF-purchased laptops after acceptance, including tracking laptops once they are transferred to Operating Administrations or individual users. Based on our findings, we estimated that DOT could not account for 34.3 percent of the 5,448 laptops in the universe, representing $2.9 million in funds that could have been put to better use, as detailed in our report.
We made eight recommendations to improve the Department’s acquisition and oversight of WCF-funded laptops. OST concurred with recommendations 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 and partially concurred with recommendation 8. For the partial concurrence, OST agreed to take the recommended action but did not agree with our finding that $2.9 million in funds could be put to better use.