County audit identifies duplicate payments, inadequate segregation of duties

A recent investigation by San Diego County, California's chief of audits revealed duplicate payments and a lack of checks and balances that could foster misappropriation, according to the San Diego Reader.

An accounts payable audit found that an invoice of nearly $8,000 was paid twice in January and March 2009 – once by a procurement card (P-card) and once by a county warrant.

"Adequate invoice review should be conducted to ensure that invoices paid by p-card are not released for payment via county warrant," investigators advised in the report, as quoted by the news source.

Auditors also highlighted inadequate distribution of tasks between workers as risk factors for embezzlement and misappropriation. They found that a single employee oversees surplus property, receives cash for the sale of the property, reconciles cash collections and deposits them into the bank.

"Lack of segregation of duties could allow errors or irregularities to go undetected. In addition, it increases the risk for misappropriation of assets," the report notes, as quoted by the media outlet.

In addition to dividing responsibilities between members of staff, carrying out regular AP audits is another way for organizations to mitigate their risk of misappropriation.

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