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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Report details errors in Agriculture financial disclosures

"Report details errors in Agriculture financial disclosures

The Agriculture Department's 2003 financial statements were error-filled and potentially misleading, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.

The review (GAO-06-254R) identified accounting system problems that led to major errors in four of the five central statements in USDA's financial filing for that year, for which the agency originally received a clean audit. GAO also found that notes and discussions in the agency's 2004 financial statements downplayed the restated results in ways that could be misleading.

The GAO report is the first in a series that will discuss problems that led to financial restatements by 11 of the 23 agencies required to submit financial statements in fiscal 2003. GAO intends to focus on the nine of those agencies that originally received unqualified audits: the departments of Agriculture, State, Justice, Transportation, and Health and Human Services, and the General Services Administration, National Science Foundation, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and Office of Personnel Management."

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