Increased Productivity in Processing Travel Claims Can Cut Administrative Costs Significantly

Gao ID: AFMD-81-18 January 19, 1981

GAO examined the productivity in processing travel claims in response to a congressional request.

The processing of claims for travel expenses incurred by federal employees is costing several million dollars more than necessary annually. This amount could be cut significantly by: (1) replacing the reimbursement method used for high cost areas with the method of reimbursing for lodging, plus a flat fee for meals and miscellaneous expenses; (2) eliminating redundant, overly detailed supervisory reviews and unnecessary typing of vouchers; and (3) improving voucher auditing activities at payment centers. The processing of vouchers is expensive and not offset by savings. The presently used high rate (actual cost) method of reimbursing travel provides payment of actual expenses up to a predetermined ceiling. Because it requires detailed itemization, it costs nearly twice as much to process by this method as the lodgings-plus method. Travel voucher processing productivity is also low due to unnecessarily detailed reviews by supervisors and unnecessary typing. Productivity in auditing vouchers at payment centers was impeded by an overconcern for accuracy and by poor processing practices. The General Services Administration has proposed to change lodgings-plus reimbursement for domestic travel to make it compatible with its proposed worldwide reimbursement system. The method, as presently proposed, will be very difficult and expensive to administer. Agency payment center officials contacted felt the proposed method would double the processing costs for lodgings-plus vouchers.


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: Brian L. Usilaner Team: General Accounting Office: Accounting and Financial Management Division Phone: (202) 275-1581

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