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Indictment of govt. employee highlights need for p-card monitoring

Accused of stealing up to $20,000 over a period of four years through the illegal use of a county purchasing card (P-card), the former Newton County Fire Chief was recently indicted for four counts of “theft by taking by a government employee”.

The use of the P-Card for personal use had largely gone unnoticed until an anonymous tip was received by the county’s sheriff office. This incident has led the commissioners to hire an independent auditing firm to audit the purchasing accounts of all county employees. Instructions to audit cash expenditures was also included in the resolution.

This incident highlights the risk of not continuously monitoring P-Card transactions for misuse and abuse. Reviewing a sample of transactions is unreliable for detecting systemic misuse as well as preventing abuse, while relying on spreadsheets has capacity limitations and is prone to errors.

The use of purpose-built data analytics tools to extract and analyze data from different sources and file types enables you to detect patterns as well as unique instances of misuse and abuse. These tools also provide the benefit of being able to analyze 100 percent of the p-card data, rather than a small sample of data.

By continuously monitoring your P-Card data any misuse or abuse can be caught early and not allowed to become systemic, as in the case of the former county fire chief whose illegal activities remained undetected for years.

Do you use purchasing cards and would like to learn how you can easily monitor their transactions?

About Andrew Simpson

Andrew Simpson (LinkedIn | Twitter) is Chief Operating Officer at CaseWare RCM and has more than 20 years of experience building businesses in the fields of information systems audit and security, data analytics, Anti-Money Laundering and forensics. He is a regular contributor to conferences and a recognized thought leader in financial crime management.