New York town undergoes AP audit

An accounts payable audit recently revealed a sufficient lack of documentation for payments made by the town of Chester, New York, for a variety of professional services.

According to The Chronicle, the investigation revealed several instances of poor payment documentation for services rendered from engineers, law firms, and accountants between June 2010 and November 2011. New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli stated that city officials were not able to remember what many of the payments were made for, and there were no notes made in Chester's financial records.

The audit found that approximately $250,985 had been paid out to professional services firms. The city board approved the payments, but the Comptroller's Office states that there was lack of documentation for many of the invoices. For this reason, investigators say that Chester is especially vulnerable to financial fraud and changes must be made in order to avoid misappropriation.

The Comptroller's Office included recommendations for the city in its report. These suggestions include giving the board more oversight of professional services for Chester by requiring it to approve each payment, and deny payments that are lacking documentation.

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