Search This Blog

Friday, June 15, 2007

Audit creep in the Site Visits

The Extended Outreach Site Visits were created: "in order to see Universal Service Fund support in use, assess USAC's outreach and education efforts, observe best practices in the field, and ensure that program funds are being used in compliance with regulatory requirements." Which of course, every applicant reads as: "Blah blah blah blah blah blah compliance with regulatory requirements."

This site visits have provided a feedback mechanism, and it's nice for the tech directors whose districts make it into the quarterly Hall of Fame (I forget what they really call it), but everyone outside of USAC and BearingPoint just sees them as mini-audits.

And now they are suffering from "audit creep." The first thing I noticed was the demand that equipment be photographed. I don't know how useful those photos are, but they did ensure that the reviewer actually physically visited the equipment and photographed it.

The latest one is a much bigger expansion of the audit. One of the items listed on the latest letter I received is: ''Asset Registers with make, model, serial numbers and location." I assumed that this applied to any equipment purchased under that particular FRN (Site Visits always focus on a single FRN). However, the clarification I received from USAC is that the register should include all equipment purchased using E-Rate funds from any funding year.

These Site Visits just get more and more tedious.

And I'd like to see some info from them. Over 1,000 have been conducted. How many of those resulted in COMADs or audits? (I'll bet very little wrongdoing was found; that would be a good message to get out.) What are the top 10 applicant complaints about the program? The top 10 requests? Has the nature of the complaints/suggestions changed since the early visits?

No comments:

Post a Comment