26 September 2023

Auditor finds lessons in money management

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An audit of how eight public sector entities controlled monies they held for specific purposes has found their systems to be generally adequate.

However, Auditor General, Caroline Spencer said the testing did identify a few instances of payroll costs incorrectly funded from specific-purpose accounts.

Ms Spencer noted that Government entities were often required to hold monies used for specific purposes.

“These are held in special-purpose accounts,” she said.

“Common examples are Government and private sector grants, donations and funding specified by legislation.

“How these funds are to be used is usually specified through a legal instrument such as a contract or legislation. Effective management and processes are required to ensure that the funds are used for their intended purposes.”

She said that of the entities audited there was also a need to improve reconciliation of special-purpose accounts and record-keeping.

“Further, policies and procedures to assist in the control of these monies require improvement at six of the eight entities,” Ms Spencer said.

“We conducted this audit at a sample of entities to identify any financial management vulnerabilities as well as to provide an insight to good practice.”

The audit’s recommendations included that public sector entities should have appropriate policies and procedures for managing monies held for specific purposes, and that these should be reviewed on a regular basis and updated as appropriate.

The Auditor General also urged that special-purpose accounts be regularly reconciled and reported to those charged with governance.

Her 10-page report can be accessed at this PS News link.

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