1995 Audit on Filing Activity Tracking System

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1995 Audit on Filing Activity Tracking System

Audit Report No. 213
December 12, 1994

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

We reviewed management controls over the Filing Activity Tracking System, an automated information system in the Division of Corporation Finance. We sought to determine if the controls ensured data integrity and accuracy, and if the system met user needs.

During the audit, we interviewed Division staff, reviewed available documentation, and conducted tests of a sample of FACTS entries. We also surveyed FACTS users.

We generally found that the controls were adequate, and the system met user needs. We are recommending several enhancements, however, including improving procedures to delete users who leave the Division, minimizing duplication with another information system (Workload), and putting the FACTS manual on-line.

The Division generally concurred with our findings and is taking appropriate action to implement our recommendations. The Appendix contains the Division's comments on a prior draft of this report, as well as comments from the Office of Information Technology.

To ensure staff are appropriately deleted from the FACTS users group, the Administrative Officer will now notify the system manager when staff leave the Division.

To minimize duplication between FACTS and the Workload system, the Division requested in February 1994 that the Office of Information Technology (OIT) provide a daily file from Workload to use in updating FACTS. OIT provided a staff-hour estimate, but has not started the project because of other issues (see its comments). OIT should establish a deadline for acting on the Division's request.

SCOPE AND OBJECTIVES

The primary objective of the audit was to determine if management controls for the Filing Activity Tracking System (FACTS) adequately ensured data integrity and accuracy. We also sought to determine whether the system met user needs.

During the review, we interviewed Corporation Finance staff and reviewed relevant documentation. We conducted tests of a sample of FACTS entries and surveyed users of the system.

The audit was conducted between July and October, 1994, in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.

BACKGROUND

The Filing Activity Tracking System (FACTS) is an automated information system used by the Division of Corporation Finance to track review activity. Through standard and customized reports, FACTS measures the performance of the branches of Corporate Analysis and Examination against workload goals. The system records the type and number of filings processed, as well as the processing time. /

FACTS was developed in 1985 by a contractor, Arthur Andersen. The system has since been rewritten and enhanced by the Division's Research and Development Branch.

AUDIT RESULTS

Generally, we found that the management controls for FACTS adequately ensured data integrity and accuracy. In addition, users told us that the system is generally useful to them.

We are recommending several enhancements, as discussed below.

Access Controls (Staff Departures)

We reviewed a sample of sixty-four FACTS users who left the Division from October 1, 1992, to August 27, 1994. Four of these users had not been deleted from the FACTS users group. Of the four, only one was still employed by the Commission.

The Office of Information Technology provides an e-mail notice to the FACTS system manager when Division staff leave the Commission. The FACTS system manager is responsible for deleting their names from the FACTS users group. However, since this notice procedure may occasionally be ineffective or not applicable, / the Division should use its own records of staff departures to ensure proper access control.

Recommendation A

The Division's Administrative Officer should provide the FACTS system manager with notification of employee departures.

Duplication with Workload System

FACTS contains certain information that is also entered into the Commission's Workload (WRKD) system, a mainframe application. This information includes the registrant's name, file number, form type, date filed, review type, and disposition code. The duplicate data is then reconciled monthly to eliminate discrepancies.

This procedure is inefficient. On February 8, 1994, the Division submitted a request on Form SF-1681 to OIT, requesting a daily, machine readable file from WRKD to use in updating the FACTS file.

OIT has not yet acted on the request because of other issues (see its comments in the Appendix). It estimated that the request would require 96 hours of programming time. A definite response to the Division (either approving or denying the request) appears appropriate.

Recommendation B

OIT should establish a deadline for acting on the Division's request, and ensure that the deadline is met.

Put FACTS Users Manual On-Line

The Division's Branch of Research and Development plans to update the FACTS users manual. An on-line version of the manual would be cheaper and easier to modify than a printed one.

Recommendation C

The Division should make the FACTS users manual available on-line to users.