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Department of Transportation (DOT) Needs To Enhance Oversight of Its Purchase Card Program To Mitigate Internal Control Weaknesses

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According to U.S. Bank, DOT employees made more than 327,000 purchase card transactions—totaling $223.7 million—from October 2016 through March 2018. The objectives of this audit were to:

  • Test existing controls to determine if they provide reasonable assurance that improper purchases are prevented or detected in the normal course of business.
  • Evaluate DOT’s policies and procedures for oversight of its purchase card program.


Thirteen recommendations were made to assist DOT in improving its oversight of the purchase card program and increasing the effectiveness of its internal controls, including:

  • Develop procedures to ensure purchase card records are complete.
  • Implement procedures to ensure cardholders retain records in accordance with the National Archives and Records Administration’s (NARA) general records schedule.
  • Update purchase card guidance to include appropriate language that states that purchase cards cannot be used to pay for unauthorized commitments without appropriate documentation.
  • Develop procedures to ensure purchase card files are complete.
  • Develop and implement controls to ensure that all trainings are administered timely in the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) electronic learning management system, and ensure cardholders complete refresher training in a timely manner.
  • Establish procedures to enforce the suspension of purchasing authority for cardholders that do not satisfy the refresher training requirement.
  • Reiterate the importance of following the employee closeout and clearance process to Purchase Cardholders, Approving Officials and Agency Program Coordinators, when a cardholder separates from the agency or the purchase card program.
  • Develop and implement a process to monitor purchase transactions that involve credits to ensure the follow-up is performed and credits are received timely.

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