ACL Success Story – Government – Colorado Office of the State Auditor

 2010-11-01

Colorado Office of the State Auditor

“In the last few years, our office has expanded the use of ACL from a few staff members to every audit team. ACL has changed how we conduct our audit work every day and helps us produce dramatic results in a short amount of time.”

Steve Bouey, Senior Legislative Auditor, Colorado Office of the State Auditor

As a steward of public funds, the Colorado Office of the State Auditor (OSA) works to improve the operations and accountability of government bodies. The OSA independently audits state agencies and post-secondary institutions for both financial integrity and operational efficiency. Despite ongoing staff, budgetary, and time constraints, the OSA performs about 60 audits each year. In 2005, the OSA audited the Division of Registrations and used ACL software technology to investigate data from multiple government databases. The team found licensed professionals with criminal records, complaints correlations, and even listings on the Colorado Sex Offender Registry. This important performance audit relied on ACL to identify public safety concerns and recommend significant internal changes.

Company Overview

The Colorado Office of the State Auditor is a constitutionally created, independent state agency that promotes operational efficiency and ensures the accountability of government agencies. With a £3.9 million annual budget, the OSA serves as the government watchdog for Colorado citizens and stewards public funds. Audits focus on reducing costs, increasing efficiency, improving service quality, and ensuring the accuracy and integrity of financial information. In 2005, the OSA’s 45 audit staff conducted 56 financial and performance audits of state agencies and post-secondary institutions. All audit reports include findings and recommendations for strengthening operations, including legislative changes, and are released to the Colorado Legislature and the public.

Challenges

The OSA completes about 60 performance and financial audits annually to maximise financial and service efficiencies, cut costs, detect fraud and/or abuse, and improve data accuracy. With a £3.9 million annual budget, the office must work under ongoing financial, staffing, and time constraints. The team audits all state agencies, departments, institutions and programs, so staff members also work with unique and often disparate data systems.

Solutions

The OSA audit staff use ACL technology for basic tasks, such as selecting samples and reviewing data, plus more advanced processes, including complex fraud detection analyses. ACL offers flexible analytics for the unique needs and circumstances of each audit. All OSA auditors take ACL training classes and the office continues to expand its use into every audit team and project.

ACL also enables OSA auditors to investigate full databases instead of performing manual data reviews or random sampling. The team conducts faster, more effective audits that maximise limited funding and staff resources.

In 2005, the OSA conducted a performance audit of the Division of Registrations and used ACL to analyse large agency databases and investigate state licensing practices for approximately 30 regulated professions, including doctors, nurses, electricians, and cosmetologists. The OSA team joined the Division’s database of more than 280,000 licensed practitioners with the State Judicial Department’s court disposition database. Using ACL, auditors identified over 2,000 active licensees who were convicted felons and another 5,000 who had misdemeanor convictions.

The team also applied ACL to match licensees with criminal histories to Division-issued complaints and found that individuals with criminal histories were more likely to have complaints issued in their names than those without criminal records. Finally, OSA auditors used ACL to join the Division’s active licensee database with the Colorado Sex Offender Registry and identified approximately 270 registered sex offenders holding state licenses in professions such as health care that serve vulnerable populations.

This innovative performance audit prompted recommendations later accepted by the Division, including enhanced criminal history checks. In addition, the Division now works with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to identify potential or active licensees listed on the Sex Offender Registry – a change that received significant state media coverage.

Results

The Office of the Colorado State Auditor applies ACL in every performance and financial audit in order to:

  • Select samples, review data, perform fraud detection analyses, and resolve disparate data and technical issues
  • Conduct full audits with greater speed, efficiency, and insight
  • Protect populations served by Division of Registrations licensees including doctors, nurses, and electricians
  • Compare detailed data populations to find matches, abnormalities, and concerns, such as state-licensed professionals listed on the Colorado Sex Offender Registry
Monday, November 1, 2010 In: Client Success Stories, Hot Topics Comments (None)

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