The federal government’s financial report for fiscal 2015 was unable to pass an audit by the Governmental Accountability Office (GAO), the watchdog announced Thursday.
The GAO said it could not render an opinion on the U.S. consolidated financial statements for reasons including issues with the Department of Defense’s finances, the government’s inability to account for some transactions and the government’s ineffective report-preparing process.
“Our report on the government’s consolidated financial statements underscores the fact that much more work needs to be done to ensure our policymakers receive the accurate financial information needed to make difficult short-term and long-term spending decisions,” GAO head Gene Dodaro said in a news release.
The watchdog said it has not been able to give an opinion on the government’s accrual-based consolidated financial statements since 1997, when they were first prepared.
The GAO could not give “clean” opinions of the financial statements of the Defense, Agriculture and Housing and Urban Development Departments for fiscal 2015. The previous year, nearly every agency received a clean opinion, the watchdog said.
The agency also said it couldn’t make a judgment about financial statements about sustainability, in part because there are uncertainties about whether projected reductions in Medicare cost growth can be reached.
A Treasury Department spokesman said that “while significant progress has been made in improving federal financial management, we recognize that more needs to be done. We continue to work collaboratively with the Office of Management and Budget, GAO, and the federal agency community to resolve the issues cited by the GAO.”