Report 16-14: Review of SBA Executive and Political Appointee Travel

Date Issued: 
Thursday, April 14, 2016
Report Number: 

On April 14th, 2016, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) published its evaluation report, Report 16-14, Review of SBA Executive and Political Appointee Travel.  The Office of the Chief Financial Officer and the Denver Finance Center (DFC) provide oversight of SBA’s travel program for employees traveling on official business.  Delegated officials within SBA have the vital responsibility to ensure that travel claims are properly prepared in accordance with the regulations and that travel is in the best interest of the Government.

We found that SBA did not always ensure local, domestic, and international travel authorizations and vouchers complied with Federal and SBA travel regulations.  Specifically, we noted that (1) actual expenses, travel dates and locations, and annual leave were not pre-approved prior to traveling; (2) appropriate officials did not approve travel authorizations and vouchers; (3) claims for reimbursement did not include complete supporting documentation as required by SBA and Federal travel guidance; and (4) local travel vouchers were not submitted in a timely manner.  Furthermore, SBA had gaps in the system for identifying and reporting premium travel that resulted in submission of an inaccurate 2014 premium travel report to the General Services Administration.  This occurred because SBA officials did not always follow SBA’s travel policies and procedures.  Additionally, we believe these issues may have occurred due to confusion amongst travelers, authorizing and approving officials, and the DFC regarding the type of review that each employee is expected to perform during the official travel process.  We made four recommendations to the Office of the Chief Financial Officer.  SBA management agreed with our four recommendations and provided additional documentation to close three of the recommendations and the associated questioned costs.