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DOD Problem Disbursements: Long-Standing Accounting Weaknesses Result in Inaccurate Records and Substantial Write-Offs


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After decades of financial management and accounting weaknesses, information related to aged disbursement and collection activity was so inadequate that DOD was unable to determine the true value of the write-offs. While DOD records show that an absolute value of $35 billion or a net value of $629 million of suspense amounts and check payment differences were written off, the reported amounts are not reliable. Many of the write-offs represented transactions that had already been netted together(i.e., positive amounts offsetting negative amounts) at lower level accounting sites before they were recorded in the suspense accounts. This netting or summarizing of transactions misstated the total value of the write-offs and made it impossible for DOD to locate the support needed to identify what appropriations may have been under- or overcharged or determine whether individual transactions were valid. In particular, DOD could not determine whether any of the write-off amounts, had they been charged to the proper appropriation, would have caused an Antideficiency Act violation.



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