GSA Management Assurances
Statement of Assurance
GSA management is responsible for managing risks and maintaining effective internal control to meet the objectives of Sections 2 and 4 of the Federal Managers’ Financial Integrity Act. GSA conducted its assessment of risk and internal control in accordance with OMB Circular No. A-123, Management’s Responsibility for Enterprise Risk Management and Internal Control. Based on the results of the assessment, the Agency can provide reasonable assurance that internal controls over operations, reporting, and compliance were operating effectively as of September 30, 2018.
In FY 2017, GSA confronted the same challenge as other Federal agencies: many employees are retirement eligible and can leave the Federal workforce. Workforce planning, which includes staffing and succession plans will mitigate the impact of high retirement eligibility in mission-critical occupations.
During FY 2018, GSA addressed succession planning issues by implementing knowledge transfer and developmental programs aimed at mitigating the impact of high retirement eligibility. GSA established a policy offering potential retirees the option for a phased retirement. This would ensure there is an opportunity to transfer knowledge prior to experienced staff leaving the agency.
GSA continues its commitment implementing programs designed to identify the future leaders of the agency. GSA has improved the hiring and retention initiatives at the entry level. GSA also launched the Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program which is a succession management tool to identify and prepare future senior leaders to fill vacant executive positions.
GSA initiated a Competitive Development Program designed to foster leadership development at different grade levels and provide participants the opportunity to build the skills, knowledge, and behaviors required to meet current and future business challenges at GSA.
As part of the annual assessment of the design and effectiveness of internal controls, GSA offices completed an internal control assessment tool to evaluate compliance with the 5 components and 17 principles of internal control. Each office was also required to prepare and sign statements of assurance for their areas of responsibility to improve accountability over GSA internal controls.
The potential Antideficiency Act (ADA) violation disclosed in the FY 2017 Statement of Assurance has been reviewed, and forwarded to OMB for final determination. The potential violation entailed GSA accepting customer orders in excess of the limitation in GSA’s ASF apportionment. GSA implemented additional business forecasting controls and monitoring controls over apportioned budget authority.
Also in FY 2017, a potential ADA was identified related to the Federal Citizen Services Fund (FCSF), which resulted from utilizing the FCSF to support search capability for state and local Government websites. GSA corrected the situation by ending these services in February 2017.
Both potential ADA violations are pending OMB final review.
During 2018, the GSA Inspector General identified fraudulent activity around the System for Award Management (SAM), the platform used by vendors who wish to conduct business with the U.S. Government.
GSA established additional controls to reduce the risk of future fraud including: multi-factor authentication, restricting access to expired registration data, increasing verification requirements for changing banking information, and masking of sensitive data in the system.
The FY 2018 external audit cited two significant deficiencies: the first was related to controls over the financial reporting process, and the second was related to weaknesses in information technology controls designed to protect GSA’s financial management systems. GSA is developing and will execute corrective action plans to address these two significant deficiencies in FY 2019.
Finally, GSA has monitored and assessed its financial systems to ensure compliance with Federal financial management standards, as required by the FFMIA of 1996 and OMB Circular A-123 Appendix D. GSA assessed its degree of substantial compliance by utilizing the FFMIA Risk Model, and all financial management systems substantially comply with FFMIA as of September 2018. GSA is confident that all systems substantially comply with the Federal accounting standards promulgated by the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board, and with the U.S. Standard General Ledger (USSGL) at the transaction level as of September 30, 2018.
Emily W. Murphy
November 8, 2018