Many school districts throughout the state have made considerable improvements to their financial controls over the last year. There are still opportunities for school districts to improve financial operations, and we continue to find occasional instances of serious problems and potential fraud. This report identifies additional opportunities for school districts to improve controls over information technology, employee benefit payments, claims auditing, no-bid contracts, capital assets and segregating duties.
Claims Auditing/Credit Cards
New Yorkers spend tens of billions of dollars on education each year. After three years of auditing how school districts manage their finances, we have seen dramatic progress. In 2007, OSC issued 257 audits of schools. As part of our audit effort, we highlight the best practices of the school districts that are well managed so that others around the state can learn from them. For those needing more assistance, our audits also offer practical recommendations to help schools operate more effectively and efficiently.
Reflecting the turmoil on Wall Street and in the national and global economies, New York State’s budget shortfalls continue to worsen. Clearly, we are in very difficult fiscal times. By acting early, controlling spending and avoiding tempting budgetary gimmicks, state and local leaders can continue to deliver vital services now, while ensuring sound financial operations in the future. School district officials should find the information in this report useful as they consider ways to improve their own operations.
This report summarizes the results of that five-year audit effort and provides recommendations to school district officials and state policymakers that will further strengthen school operations to better safeguard taxpayer funds and provide greater transparency and accountability to our citizens.
A good internal control system is necessary to assist local officials in meeting all their responsibilities. In this session, we will focus on the following areas: What are Internal Controls?, Why are Internal Controls Important?, Who is Responsible for Internal Controls?, Key Components of Internal Control, Internal Control Examples, Top Ten Fraud Risk Indicators, and Internal Control Checklist.
The handbook for Town and Village Justices and Court Clerks is to assist in fulfilling the financial reporting requirements of the Town and Village courts. This publication may be requested in hardcopy from the Justice Court Fund by calling 518-473-6438 or 518-473-6830.
You must provide your employees workers’ compensation coverage as a mandatory benefit. Local governments can get insurance for workers’ compensation in one of four ways:
- Purchase a policy from a private sector insurance carrier
- Purchase a policy from the New York State Insurance Fund
- Become self-insured as authorized by the Workers' Compensation Law
- Participate in a county self-insurance plan as authorized by the Workers' Compensation Law
The guide has been written is a resource for those governing bodies and officials who are responsible for the audit of claims. It is also the hope that the information contained in the guide will be valuable to new board members and inexperienced claims auditors. The guide provides a foundation of knowledge that users can build upon as they gain experience auditing claims.
In addition to policy development, this guide also includes practical discussions on establishing lodging, meal, and mileage rates; standardized travel forms; using credit cards and cash advances to pay for travel; extension of travel for personal reasons; travel expenses of spouses and other nonemployees; and other topics associated with the management of travel and conference expenses. We have also included information pertinent to volunteer firefighters and online training.
Improving your local government's receipt collection system may get revenue into its bank account more quickly.
Start by evaluating the costs and benefits of various revenue collection alternatives, using measures such as: