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December 8, 2004

UMBC's 2005 Legislative Audit

While three years may seem like a long time between legislative audits, there is no downtime for the Management Advisory Services Department (MAS)--and for the rest of the campus community--when it comes to preparation.

“We work on a daily basis to educate everyone on the importance of internal controls, including proper separation of duties and complete and timely approvals,” said Michele Evans, director of MAS. “Especially important for our 2005 audit will be the conversion of our financial and human resources systems to PeopleSoft. The auditors will examine our conversion, the security in our new systems and our current business processes. MAS continues to work with the Office of Information Technology, Financial Services, Human Resources and the campus community to ensure the adequate controls were built into the system and are included in updated business processes.

Frances Toth and Sharon Doherty-Ritter, MAS management analysts, just completed a wave of Internal Control Sessions for Campus Administrators, at the request of President Hrabowski. “The president wanted us to get the message out to vice presidents, deans, directors and department chairs, who are often responsible for authorization and approval functions, so they would take an active interest in maintaining a proper system of internal controls in their areas of responsibility. The sessions were a big success, with over 200 people attending,” said Evans.

Evans added that although previous auditors had a high opinion of UMBC and felt that the campus community was putting forth a good effort, MAS is still concerned about problems that remain unresolved since the University's 2002 audit.

One of the biggest issues is management of the University's VISA Purchasing or P-card, a matter made especially serious because the campus spends more than $10 million annually via the card. More than 70 percent of MAS P-card reviews uncovered insufficient supervision, while more than 55 percent of reviews revealed inaccuracies in purchasing records. The situation not only places the campus at risk that this item may be cited in a third Legislative Audit, it also jeopardizes UMBC's use of the card.

Other problems that MAS recently assisted with include:

*An employee who personally benefited from a relationship with a vendor.

*An employee who falsified time/leave records, so that the employee's leave would not be charged.

*An inadequately secured forced access code (FAC), which allowed unauthorized long distance calls to be made on campus.

Evans encourages all departments to be aggressive in resolving problems, practice fiscal responsibility and use MAS as a resource. “We offer solutions that people aren't aware of. For instance, some departments have a small staff and don't know how to handle issues like controls or separation of duties—we can suggest ways to solve this problem,” said Evans.

Dates and other important information about the legislative audit will be sent to the campus via Insights Weekly. MAS's Audit Information Fact Sheet is available on the MAS Web site (click on “Audit Information”).

For more information, visit the MAS Web site or call Michele Evans at ext. 5-1354.

Posted by dwinds1 at December 8, 2004 12:00 AM