U.S. Postal Service management reported stock shortages at a remotely managed post office in [redacted] in June 2016 and November 2016. The reported shortages were $1,706, or 34 percent, and $1,051, or 21 percent, respectively, of the office’s total authorized limit of $5,000 for cash and stamp stock.
A remotely managed post office offers part-time window service hours and is staffed by Postal Service employees who operate from a Single Drawer Accountability. Stamp stock, cash, and money orders specifically assigned to the office comprise Single Drawer Accountability.
A postmaster who oversees the office is responsible for setting and managing the stamp stock limits. Employees are responsible for accurately reporting daily financial transactions.
The objective for this audit was to review internal controls to reduce the risk of stamp stock and cash shortages at the [redacted] Post Office.
What the OIG Found
Internal controls to reduce stamp stock and cash shortages at the [redacted] Post Office needed improvement.
The sales and services associate did not always record financial transactions such as cash retained, refunds, and postage stamps sales. The associate was unable to explain why she did not always record all financial transactions. Further, she requested guidance from the postmaster, but the postmaster was not aware of the requirements.
In addition, prior to our arrival on January 18, 2017, the postmaster conducted a stamp stock and cash count on January 12, 2017, that identified an overage of $0.32. However, our review of the count records showed 10 books of stamps valued at $47 were not included in the count. On January 19, 2017, we conducted an independent count and identified an overage of stamps and cash valued at $100.
If controls over cash and stamp stock are not followed, there is an increased risk that financial records could be misstated and theft could occur without detection.
What the OIG Recommended
We recommended management provide refresher training on financial reporting to employees at the office and require the postmaster to review and verify all financial reports from this office.