CHARLESTON – While the state Legislature is debating and setting budgets for the coming fiscal year, it’s important for West Virginia citizens to know the State Auditor’s Office has been and continues to implement modern and improved accounting practices to track the spending of your taxpayer dollars.
It is our mission to ensure we are not only using all the tools at our disposal to both hold agencies accountable for the spending of the state purse, but also transmitting that spending data to the citizens who fund that purse. We realize all state money is yours, and we treat every dollar with the care that you would.
To protect the state purse, we have spent a great deal of effort analyzing the ways in which our state spends your money and have developed and instituted disbursement auditing procedures that require uniform support for all purchases. While it may seem obvious and potentially trivial, we are ensuring every expense has a valid receipt, purchase order or contract.
We have begun measuring our success in terms of accuracy as opposed to speed. This change has in some ways made the payment process of our state take a bit longer, which has angered many throughout the bureaucracy.
We understand change is hard and frustrating, but we take our mission of protection of the purse very seriously, and will not be deterred in our goal to ensure every payment is legal, valid and appropriate.
We have, for the first time, implemented a fraud prevention unit in the State Auditor’s Office. Through this initiative we are utilizing cutting edge technology to digitally monitor the use of the state purchasing card (P-Card) and detect anomalies which can indicate fraud. We have worked with law enforcement both state, local and federal to bring those who steal from us to justice.
Likewise, we are being proactive to prevent misuse of the card by training agencies and departments on best practices and ways to protect taxpayer dollars from fraud.
Going forward, we are working to encourage the Legislature to improve efficiency, plus reduce and control spending by implementing consistent purchasing, payroll and human resources practices across all State agencies. Having inconsistent policies and practices statewide costs significantly more to administer and insure compliance, and provides costly benefit inconsistencies.
In the State Auditor’s Office, we will continue to establish and implement best practices accounting and reporting systems, which we believe will help to remedy this perception of mismanaged taxpayer funds, and shine the light on where the money comes from and where it goes.
Our goal has been to keep our methods simple, yet efficient and accurate, and to raise the public’s expectations for managing citizen taxpayer dollars.
McCuskey is auditor of West Virginia.