A state audit of the city of Brentwood, Missouri, was recently launched in response to a petition spearheaded by a local resident.
Maureen Saunders was inspired to take action by reports that the city had donated $45,000 of taxpayer money to charity over the past five years.
"The problem is you're using public dollars, and who's deciding what charities it should go to?" she told KMOX-TV, pointing out that some donations were even made to church organizations.
The controversy is just the latest blot on the city's reputation. After admitting he had embezzled $30,000 from Brentwood, former city administrator Christopher Seemayer resigned in March of last year. An accounts payable audit revealed he had been contributing to local nonprofits and charitable causes under the guise that it had been obtained through the city's annual charitable golf tournament. In fact, the tournament had been losing money and the money came from municipal funds.
In both companies and government, fractured financial operations can lead to embezzlement and misappropriation going unnoticed for years. Conducting regular organization-wide AP audits can help uncover improper financial dealings.