GAO - US Government's Financial Statement - Not Reliable

GAO – US Government’s Financial Statement – Not Reliable

Government Accountability Office (GAO) Unable to Provide an Opinion on the U.S. Government’s Financial Statements

WASHINGTON, DC (STL.News) The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is again unable to determine if the federal government’s consolidated financial statements are reliable.  This year’s audit report discusses the progress that has been made but also underscores that much work remains to improve federal financial management and highlights that the federal government continues to be on an unsustainable long-term fiscal path.

“Congress and the Administration need reliable and complete financial information, within each agency and across the government as a whole, to govern effectively and efficiently,” said Gene.  L. Dodaro is the Comptroller General of the United States and head of the GAO.  “Also, the federal government continues to operate on an unsustainable fiscal path, jeopardizing the country’s long-term position to face domestic and international challenges.  The creation of a long-term fiscal plan is needed to strengthen our readiness to confront any challenges that may occur.”

The difficulty in providing an opinion on the federal government’s fiscal year 2023 and 2022 financial statements is due to several issues.  Longstanding financial management problems persist at the Department of Defense; accounting for transactions and balances between federal agencies remains inadequate, and weaknesses in the federal government’s process for preparing the consolidated financial statements remain.  Additionally, the Small Business Administration’s financial management deficiencies in their pandemic relief programs have continued; the Department of Education experienced problems with data used to estimate the costs of its loan programs, and improper payments totaling $236 billion were reported across several agencies and programs.

The Financial Report of the U.S. Government, which includes the consolidated financial statements and GAO’s audit report on the statements, provides a comprehensive view of government finances.

Today’s GAO work is directly related to the GAO report issued yesterday on the nation’s overall fiscal health, which again called for changes in the federal government’s spending and revenue policies.  Both reports demonstrate the need for the federal government to develop and implement plans to improve the long-term fiscal sustainability of the nation.

Dodaro thanked the Inspector General community for their contributions to auditing the annual financial statements of their respective departments and agencies.

GAO’s audit report on the U.S. government’s consolidated financial statements is included in the 2023 Financial Report of the United States Government, which the Treasury prepares in coordination with the Office of Management and Budget.

SOURCE: GAO – Released on February 16, 2024 – GAO reported on February 15, 2024, that Changes to Fiscal Policies are Critical.


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