Bureau of Indian Affairs' Efforts to Reconcile and Audit the Indian Trust Funds

Gao ID: T-AFMD-91-2 April 11, 1991

GAO discussed the Bureau of Indian Affairs' (BIA) efforts to reconcile and audit the Indian trust funds. GAO noted that: (1) numerous audit reports have pointed out serious accounting and financial management problems and weak internal controls throughout BIA; (2) the lack of general ledger control over accounts, inaccurate data, the lack of accounting systems documentation, and inadequate management of the Indian trust funds caused numerous accounting errors; (3) the first phase of the BIA trust fund reconciliation and audit project would identify the correct account balances for over 500 tribal accounts and 17,000 individual Indian money trust accounts; and (4) BIA planned to use the first-phase results to develop plans for moving into a second phase that would cover the remaining 1,500 tribal and 283,000 individual Indian money accounts. GAO believes that: (1) legislation may be needed to provide appropriations for monies owed to account holders or relief for unrecoverable overpayments that go back many years; (2) BIA planned to implement the Department of the Interior's six-part plan to help it control fund accounting transactions, reconcile all account balances, and implement a new Interior-wide accounting system; and (3) BIA must ensure that it carries out its financial responsibilities efficiently and effectively by developing a comprehensive financial management plan for both its appropriated funds and trust fund operations.


Our recommendations from this work are listed below with a Contact for more information. Status will change from "In process" to "Open," "Closed - implemented," or "Closed - not implemented" based on our follow up work.

Director: McCoy Williams Team: Government Accountability Office: Financial Management and Assurance Phone: (202) 512-6906

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