August 31, 2020

Avoid painful audits by tracking payments

A good way for a state agency to win a starring role in an unflattering audit is to manage money without adequate tracking. The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) discovered this in August 2019, when the state auditor accused the department of exercising lax oversight.

One of the CDFA’s 54 district agricultural associations was plagued by “gross mismanagement of state resources,” according to the audit report. The association’s offenses were wide-ranging and included the absence of supporting receipts for $132,584 in credit-card purchases over a three-year period. This behavior violated accounting procedures that the agricultural association and other state entities must follow.

State licensing agencies like those served by GL Solutions have different roles than agricultural associations, but they share an obligation to account for money accurately and a desire to avoid unfavorable audits and the harsh newspaper headlines that usually follow. Agencies that use GL Solutions’ GL Suite application enjoy powerful tools that log payments and track changes. The system even separates staff duties in order to prevent misappropriation.

GL Suite won’t prevent staff from using state vehicles to work side jobs – another of the audit’s findings. But for each payment processed by the system, GL Suite will track who accepted the payment, who applied the payment to a record, if applicable, who modified the payment. Even payment deletions are logged in the system and remain available to support audits.

The system supports policies requiring the separation of duties for financial transactions. GL Suite’s payment logging functionality allows non-financial staff to log payments into the system, but not to apply them to the appropriate records. Payments can be applied, rather, by financial staff.

In addition to preventing misuse of public funds, GL Suite creates an audit trail that allows errors to be spotted and corrected quickly. The application can be configured easily to track any other data for which an audit trail must be established.

Additional features of GL Suite’s payment logging functionality:

  • Can accept a payment, then apply it to an invoice at a later time.
  • Can receive payments before the related individual or organization is created in the system.
  • Allows configuration of queries and reports to display any combination of logged payment data.

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