Review Of Hartford Revenue Unit Recommends Some Changes
By JENNA CARLESSO
July 02, 2013
HARTFORD —— A review of the city finance department's revenue management unit found that policies and procedures need improvement, from discrepancies in the amount of revenue budgeted and received to record-keeping for various operations.
The city's Internal Audit Commission reviewed cash receipts, daily deposits, management practices and other issues.
"In general we found that policies, procedures and controls relating to a number of key revenue processes, both in [the revenue management unit] and at the department level, were either not fully documented and/or needed improvement," the commission's report says. The report was issued late Monday.
In some of the accounts reviewed, the commission found that the amount of revenue received and recorded was less than the amount budgeted.
"Management informed us that while they perform periodic reviews of these accounts and related balances … documentation to support the reviews and follow-up performed is not maintained on file," Chief Auditor H. Patrick Campbell wrote in the report.
The commission also found that in some cases, revenue from several different sources was blended into a single account, and in other instances, revenue that should have been recorded in a designated account was instead noted in various accounts.
In reviewing the department's process of charging fees for city services, commissioners found there was no indication of how frequently the fees were reviewed or updated, and while procedures are documented in this area, the records are not adequate.
Commissioners also found, when auditing the department's cash receipts processing, that the city does not maintain a summary of all departments, operations and people responsible for processing cash receipts, and that "policies, procedures and controls were not adequate to ensure that cash and checks received by departments are not misplaced or misappropriated."
Campbell recommended that finance employees work with other city departments to improve and develop new policies addressing the problems. He also recommended that some functions currently spread across multiple city departments — including cash receipts and revenue processing — be centralized.
Finance officials said they are working to resolve the issues.
The review was part of an overall audit plan for the fiscal year that ended June 30. The commission also had reviewed a series of purchases made by Hartford employees with their city-issued credit cards. In that case, auditors recommended better oversight and enforcement of spending policies, and urged a ban on use of the cards for business-related entertainment.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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