Auditor General finds mixed results in across government benchmarking audits

Office of the Auditor General

The latest report from the Auditor General includes an audit of ‘Controls Over Purchasing Cards,’ in line with a similar audit that was conducted in 2009.

Using government purchasing cards can reduce agencies’ costs and streamline business processes. However, several frauds in recent times have highlighted the potential for improper or unauthorised expenditure.

Since the Auditor General’s similar audit in 2009, overall no significant improvement in controls was evident, with six of the ten agencies needing to improve their policies and/or practices.

This audit also specifically sampled the expenditure of the CEO at each of the agencies. Importantly, the Auditor General found no instances of cards being used inappropriately.

The report recommended that purchasing card policies clearly describe agency requirements and that actual practices be periodically reviewed against these policies. The requirements included descriptions of acceptable use, timely cancellation of cards, changes to card credit limits, procedures when cardholders are on extended leave and responsibility for approving the Chief Executive Officers’ purchasing card expenses.

The Auditor General’s report ‘Controls Over Purchasing Cards,’ which is part of the three ‘Across government benchmarking audits’ (Report 5 – April 2014) can be downloaded from the Office of the Auditor General website at www.audit.wa.gov.au/.