RICHMOND, Va. – Richmond's Finance department is tasked with handling millions of dollars in taxpayer money, but the department is coming under fire for the way it pays its own bills.
The City Auditor found a number of discrepancies based on a flawed payment process implemented in 2013, which compromises checks and balances in the accounts payable division, according to an audit report released Tuesday.
The audit noted the department was understaffed and operated with a number of temporary employees. The audit report also showed a lack of staffing, training and communication on how to use the RAPIDS system. As a result, payments were made to vendors without receipts.
In one example, $11.25 million in payments were sent to vendors in August 2013, but not recorded until January 2014.
The City Auditor said out of 66 transactions, 17 were duplicate payments to vendors that totaled $47,700.
The report also pointed out a temporary Accounts Payable employee, who was charged with embezzlement before taking a job with the City of Richmond, did not undergo a background check with the agency or Richmond's Human Resource Department.
That employee no longer works at City Hall.
The City administration admitted there have been problems and said they are working to fix the issues.
Out of the 22 recommendations made by the City Auditor, the City administration has agreed to all of them but one.
Some of the changes include updating the accounting system, putting more policies and procedures in place, and better-trained staff on the accounting system.
The one thing they would not change is the recommendation that the Director of Procurement Services needed to require vendor accounts that are set up and activated within the City’s Supplier Portal be verified by the City Departments as a valid vendor to be used for City business.
The City said that soliciting approval before completing registration could preclude valid vendors from becoming registered and afforded contract opportunities.
Read the entire document, here: Final Finance AP report.