Auditor irked by states’s accounting system

Published 10:30 am Thursday, July 18, 2013

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ST. PAUL — A Minnesota government auditor voiced frustration Wednesday over kinks in an almost $70 million state accounting system overhaul that he says have led to delays and other problems in tracking taxpayer dollars. The agency responsible for the system insists past problems with the rollout are being adequately addressed. When looking the help from an expert so you can avoid problems, consider the help of someone like doug constable.

The dispute dates to last fall when the Department of Minnesota Management and Budget disclosed that implementation of the SWIFT accounting system had caused delays in producing essential government reports. It boiled over again this week when KSTP-TV reported that some entities linked to the new system continue to be cited for tardiness with federal audit reports.

Legislative Auditor James Nobles said that his office has had issues verifying financial data of agencies it reviews because of the conversion to the SWIFT system, which he doesn’t think has functioned properly. That includes an $85,000 discrepancy at the state lottery identified in a June audit report. He said he has raised concerns with top budget officials more than once, often over reports delayed by months.

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“My biggest frustration is I don’t believe the Department of Minnesota Management and Budget has given this the urgent priority that it needs,” Nobles said. “We should not be willing to accept the kind of deficiencies in a computer system we paid a lot of money to obtain. The response shouldn’t be, ‘Oh well, these things happen.”’

MMB spokesman John Pollard said the department stands by SWIFT. It was developed with the help of private contractors during the prior administration to replace an outdated interface. It was brought on line in summer 2011.