“Having a tool that enabled us to develop new methodologies that are statistically valid and provide the foundation to report compliance and improve controls has been invaluable. ACL and one financial reporting system for government has significantly boosted stakeholder confidence and increased our credibility.”
Shyrl Kennedy, Director of Corporate Compliance & Controls Monitoring, B.C. Government Ministry of Finance Office of the Comptroller General
The Corporate Compliance & Controls Monitoring Branch of the British Columbia Government’s Ministry of Finance (3CMB) monitors internal controls and provides a “threat of detection” to ensure employees are complying with government-wide procurement and financial policies. Before implementing ACL, the B.C. Government relied on a highly cumbersome manual process for processing payments that employed significant people and technology resources and still resulted in payment errors. With the use of ACL Audit Analytics, the department has realised over £13 million in efficiency savings in each of the past two years and has strengthened its internal control framework. The team has been able to implement risk-based statistical sampling, improve data integrity, and provide more targeted recommendations for strengthening internal controls, while significantly cutting processing costs. Based on its considerable success, the 3CMB team has just implemented ACL continuous monitoring for their purchasing cards area and is now considering deploying additional ACL technology.
The B.C. Government was using a pre-payment review process to determine the accuracy and appropriateness of all government expenditures. This involved manually reviewing each and every expenditure to confirm that an employee with the appropriate authority had approved the expense, ensure segregation of duties occurred with the receipt of goods and services, and that invoices were properly classified to the correct GL account. The use of purchase orders was not standardised across government.
Once this arduous review was completed, the payment was released with a customised “OK-to-Pay” code. The full process required significant time, staff resources and technology, and still resulted in errors. The government required a way to streamline the accounts payable and review processes, reduce risk and cut compliance costs.
Since government ’s Internal Audit and Accounting department already relied on ACL for audit analytics, it was the natural solution for the 3CMB team. The government used to conduct a pre-audit of all transactions, but with ACL, the 3CMB team expanded to a risk-based post-audit sampling methodology that resulted in £13.15 million in efficiency savings this past fiscal year alone. Using ACL as their foundation technology, the B.C. Government also realises direct savings with recovery of overpayments.
Using ACL technology, 3CMB has provided the government with greater confidence in its internal controls and stronger corporate compliance measures through the “threat of detection” program. It has enabled the government to implement risk-based sampling, resulting in reduced internal control costs and overall risk. The ACL solution has provided a mechanism to ensure government-wide policy compliance is achieved through systemic recommendations and ongoing improvements.
As a result of their achievements, the team recently implemented ACL’s continuous monitoring solution and is planning to add more tests by deploying additional technology.
The Office of the Colorado State Auditor applies ACL in every performance and financial audit in order to: