AP audit finds lack of payment documentation for Seattle

The city of Seattle is lacking proper documentation procedures, according to an accounts payable audit that revealed there were no consistent methods in place for recording and tracking payments made by the municipality.

The AP audit report, released by Washington State Auditor Brian Sonntag, analyzed payments made from July 2010 to June 2011. Investigators discovered that the lack of documentation for payments rendered for various public purposes could expose the city to risk and fraud. Auditors looked at 50 random payments, totaling $241,888, made during the time period and found that 48 did not have sufficient paperwork in terms of purchasing approvals. Additionally, many of the records did not include who had authorized the payments. To compound the problem, Seattle's accounting system was failing to monitor payments after vouchers from the city were created. The lack of financial checks and balances could result in misappropriation, risk or fraud for the city, the report states.

According to The Seattle Times, Mayor Michael McGinn and the city council signed a resolution that would develop a financial management system. This system would implement procedures and policies across all departments to ensure proper documentation of municipal payments. Efforts are also being made by the Department of Finance and Administrative Services to upgrade record keeping methods, reports the news source.

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