335.1 - Accountable Officers
OPR: Admin/Office of Financial Management
1. Purpose. This chapter establishes policies, responsibilities, and procedures for the designation of certifying officers, cashiers, collection officers, and alternate cashiers.
2. Authority. 336 DM 1-5, 337 DM 1, and SM 205.10.
A. All vouchers and schedules of payment must be signed by a responsible certifying officer.
B. No employee shall be assigned to the positions of certifying officer, cashier, collection officer or alternate without completion of prior appropriate training. This includes orientation on all regulations which govern duties and responsibilities of the position. Certification of completion of training in the duties and responsibilities of an accountable officer must accompany all requests for accountable officer positions including alternates.
A. Accountable Officer. This term includes all persons officially designated as responsible for the protection, custody, or use of public funds. As used in this chapter, the term includes the following:
B. A Certifying Officer is a designated employee (SM 335.1.7A) responsible for certifying a voucher for payment. Certifying officers are held responsible for the existence and correctness of the facts recited in the certificate or otherwise stated on the voucher or its supporting papers and for the legality of the proposed payment under the appropriation or fund involved. They are also held accountable for and required to make good to the United States the amount of any illegal, improper, or incorrect payment resulting from any false, inaccurate, or misleading certificate made, as well as for any payment prohibited by law or one which does not represent a legal obligation under an appropriation or fund. (See 3 GAO 46 and 336 DM 1.3 which modifies this accountability if statistical sampling is involved.)
C. A Cashier is a designated employee (SM 335.1.7B) accountable and responsible for the custody of, and payments made from, any funds advanced by the USGS. These funds include both imprest funds and funds advanced for change-making purposes. A designated cashier (cashier, sub-cashier, cashier-collection officer, or alternate) is personally responsible for any shortages in these funds and when so directed must make good any shortages. Therefore, when doubt exists as to the propriety of any transaction, the cashier may require written acceptance of responsibility for the transaction from an authorizing or ordering official to provide recourse to such official if the transaction is later disallowed. The cashier may, whenever appropriate, request an advance written opinion from the authorized certifying officer with respect to a doubtful transaction (7 GAO 22.6 and 337 DM 1.3C).
D. Collection Officers (SM 338.1 and SM 335.1.7C) are designated Federal employees responsible for the collection of public funds and for depositing them in the U.S. Treasury on behalf of the agency by which they are employed.
E. Cashier-Collection Officers are collection officers to whom funds have been advanced either for change-making purposes or for making cash refunds to the public. In this capacity they serve as sub-cashiers to the USGS cashier.
F. Alternates to any cashier or sub-cashier position are designated and have the same responsibilities as their principals.
5. Eligibility. Non-Federal employees are not eligible to fill accountable officer positions.
Accountable officer positions shall be filled only by employees who have received adequate training and preferably have at least one year of Federal service.
Certifying Officer positions shall be filled only by individuals possessing the knowledge, experience, and judgment to verify accuracy and legality of proposed payments.
6. PL 92-310 provides that no agency of the Federal Government may require or obtain surety bonds for its civilian employees or military personnel in connection with performance of their duties. The Government assumes the risk for fidelity losses. If an employee desires, a personal bond for faithful performance may be secured through any bonding company. However, the premium cost must be paid by the employee.
7. Designation. Each employee designated as an accountable officer, as defined in SM 335.1.4, will receive written notice from the Chief, Office of Financial Management containing (1) a description of the function designated, and (2) a certification that the employee has received proper training, is fully advised of the duties and responsibilities of the position, and has received adequate safeguarding facilities. A copy of this notice with certifications signed by the employee and designating official will be sent to the Office of Personnel and filed in the employee's official personnel folder. This notification will be in the format of Figure 1.
A. Certifying Officer. Certifying Officers are designated by the Chief, Office of Financial Management.
B. Cashiers, Sub-Cashiers, and Alternates. The Chief, Office of Financial Management requests the Treasury Department to designate principal cashier and alternate positions. The Department of the Treasury makes the official designation. Sub-cashiers and alternates are designated by the Chief, Office of Financial Management.
C. Collection Officer. Collection officers are designated by the Chief, Office of Financial Management.
A. Certifying Officers.
(1) Correctness of Facts. Documents presented for payment are checked against supporting documents and other information available.
(2) Legality of Payment. Proposed payments must be within the limitations of the appropriation and consistent with its objectives. To verify the legality of any payment presented, the certifying officer may directly request a decision from the Comptroller General (see 336 DM 1.11, 1 GAO 11.1, and 3 GAO 58.3).
(3) Correctness of Computations. The certifying officer is held personally responsible for the correctness of computations on certified vouchers or invoices and for any illegal or in correct payments resulting from false, inaccurate, or misleading certifications made.
(4) Audit and Settlement. The accounts of certifying officers are subject to audit and settlement by the General Accounting Office. Exceptions by the General Accounting Office to items in a certifying officer's account will be answered in writing. However, replies relating to the USGS policy shall be routed through the Assistant Director for Administration.
B. Cashiers, Cashier-Collection Officers, and Alternates. Individuals designated as cashiers or collection officers will be personally responsible for all money and negotiable instruments coming into their possession.
(a) Functions of the designee are restricted to those described in the notice of designation.
(b) Only persons officially designated may be delegated to perform functions of cashiers, alternate cashiers or collection officers.
(c) Funds will not be collected or maintained by anyone other than the authorized designee.
(d) Collections will be fully documented and accounted for by designee from time of receipt, and held in secure facilities until deposited. Supporting records should always be maintained in a manner accept able for audit.
(e) Under no circumstances will Federal funds be commingled with other funds.
(f) Collections shall, to the extent possible be deposited within 24 hours or the next workday. When deposits are made by mail, cash shall be first converted into a money order.
(2) Safeguarding of Funds.
(a) A separate safe, safe-type cabinet with key locks, or a similar secure storage container will be provided for each fund. If the fund is likely to exceed $500 before deposit, a stationary storage facility is recommended. Also, for larger funds, use of a separate locked room or secure area should be considered.
(b) Funds will not be left unattended unless secured.
(c) Only the collection officer, cashier, or alternate cashier shall have access to the storage facility.
(d) Where combination-lock safes are used, the combination will be changed whenever (1) there is a change in a cashier, alternate cashier, or collection officer, or (2) it is necessary for other than duly designated employees to gain access to the storage facility.
9. Irregularities, Shortages, and Theft.
A. All losses and shortages regardless of amount shall be promptly brought to the attention of the Chief, Office of Financial Management. In the event of a robbery, the local police, the Federal Protective Service, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation shall be advised by the head of the office where the robbery occurred.
B. Discovery of erroneous payments made by certifying officers will be promptly brought to the attention of the Chief, Office of Financial Management. A review will then be made as to the circumstances and conditions causing the erroneous payment and, if warranted, immediate steps will be taken by the Office of Financial Management to recover the amount of overpayment, or to seek relief for the certifying officer under existing law.