How one government organization is protecting tax dollars by using data analytics to improve their travel card program


When you hear the words “auditing” and “government,” do you also think of “cutting edge”? Well, Amtrak’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) is a great example of a progressive public sector audit group who is just that. This forward-thinking National Railroad Passenger Corporation is applying cutting edge techniques to optimize their business processes and cost effectiveness—and there is much to be learned from them. How are they identifying opportunities to improve their Travel Card Program and reduce risk? By listening to their data. The latest Audit Report issued by the Amtrak Office of the Inspector General (OIG), entitled “Governance:  Opportunities Exist to Improve the Travel Card Program and Reduce Risks,” is now in the public domain. The report, delivered to Congress, outlines Amtrak’s impressive progress on and plans for reducing risk in their Travel Card Program. The project relies on data analysis to examine 100% of their transactions to provide them with full visibility and accountability over this typically risk-prone business process.

“Travel cards are company credit cards issued to employees for business travel. However, travel cards are an inherently risky method for purchasing because of the highly decentralized nature of the transactions, and the potential for misuse…We initiated a systematic review using ACL, a specialized data analysis software tool, to analyze 100% of travel card purchases for the 12 month period ending Dec 2012.”

The progressive program is so successful that the OIG plans ongoing data analysis to maintain vigilant financial oversight over travel cards.

“We recommend and the Chief Financial Officer agreed to evaluate travel card program alternatives, recover unpaid balances, and monitor employee travel expenses using data analysis.”

Providing full transparency to American taxpayers, the report is publicly posted on the Amtrak website. To learn more about how this progressive organization is running a better business and protecting taxpayer dollars by leveraging data analysis, read “Governance: Opportunities Exist to Improve the Travel Card Program and Reduce Risks“

(Source: ACL Blog)

Thursday, May 1, 2014 In: Hot Topics Comments (None)

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