Audit uncovers deficiencies within the operation of the ASVB
The Audit office uncovered deficiencies within the operation of the American Samoa Visitors Bureau for three consecutive financial years.
The Auditors are required to examine the condition of financial records and accounts of the Bureau at least once a year. Its crucial role is preserving our culture and traditions through its activities and initiatives.
The primary objectives of this audit were to evaluate internal controls for compliance with applicable policies, procedures, laws, and regulations.
The review of quarterly performance reports revealed that the Bureau has done significant work, as evident by a considerable array of information reporting progress toward improved performance.
However, they identified areas for improvement with the present arrangement. Although there are efforts toward establishing a practical approach, the Bureau needs an overall guiding framework for competitiveness; standards or methodology have been introduced to engender consistency or the methods used to produce such information.
For instance, according to the Bureau’s Marketing Manager, the Bureau has no marketing plan.
The Bureau’s reporting system lacks a proper assessment and validation of reported information. As a result, whatever statement is said has not been subject to a Board review (absence of regular Board meetings and no documented minutes). It is anomalous that performance information goes invalidated.
The Audit also found areas that require the Bureau’s attention due to the lack of policies and procedures.
Accordingly, the audit report recommended the Bureau update and complete written policies and procedures to ensure processes are by internal controls and with the American Samoa Code Annotated.
The Bureau’s performance Audit for three fiscal years ending September 30, 2022, outlined the Board did not fully comply with its duties and responsibilities as indicated in the Code.
Also, the Board members may have potential conflicts of interest driven by their involvement in the travel industry in American Samoa.
Furthermore, the Auditors noted the Bureau’s Standard Operating Procedures are outdated, and the Bureau did not satisfactorily prepare Accounts Payable Voucher forms.
Also, the Bureau’s employees did not comply with established travel policies in all instances.