— Domani Spero
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State/OIG reviewed the remote voucher processing of the State Department early this year and concluded that the agency can save an estimated $4.3 million annually if embassies with the highest voucher processing costs processed 50 percent of their vouchers remotely. While the remote processing unit (Post Support Unit (PSU) currently charges embassies $12 per voucher, it costs significantly higher overseas. For instance, it cost $71.40 to process a voucher in Paris, $57.59 in Kuwait, and $41.77 in Conakry. The PSU reports that it is able to keep voucher processing costs low by operating in locations with low labor costs, like Thailand, Bulgaria, South Carolina, and soon the Philippines.
The OIG report says that vouchering costs at large and medium-sized embassies totaled $32 million in FY 2013 but that only 13 percent of embassy-funded vouchers were processed remotely in 2013. According to the inspectors, the resistance to processing vouchers remotely stems from bureaus’ and embassies’ reluctance to reduce embassy-based voucher examiner positions and associated funding.
The OIG recommends that the Under Secretary for Management “mandate that the 20 embassies with the highest potential cost savings through Post Support Unit use increase the percentage of vouchers they process remotely to 50 percent by the end of 2016 to allow for $4.3 million in savings annually.”
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Review of Remote Voucher Processing (ISP-I-14-21) [304 Kb] Posted on July 30, 2014