Suppliers paid twice due to faulty controls

13 February 2019

Faulty financial controls at a provincial government in Canada meant more than 100 suppliers payments were made twice, according to an audit.

British Columbia auditor general Carol Bellringer said weaknesses in the master supplier file identified in an audit in 2006 still existed today.

The Ministry of Finance verified that about 70% of 120 possible duplicate payments identified in the audit were payment errors. While most had already been identified and corrected, outstanding errors were still being reviewed.

The audit recommended the development of stronger controls in the master supplier file, which would lessen the chances of these types of errors occurring.

It found gaps in the ministry’s guidance to users who create and update the supplier records in the master supplier file.

The auditor general said the ministry should conduct periodic audits of user access to the master supplier file, to ensure the security of the supplier records, and establish a regular file maintenance schedule.

“We concluded that the Ministry of Finance is not sufficiently maintaining secure, valid, complete and accurate supplier information in the corporate financial system to reduce the risk of fraud or errors,” said the audit.

“In particular, the ministry needs to do more to prevent duplicate records, verify the accuracy of changes to the records and provide more complete guidance to users.”

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