In 2014, approximately $31 million was distributed among the 254 Texas counties for the 24 million vehicles registered in the State of Texas. Tarrant County is the third largest county in the state with nearly two million residents. Texas counties register vehicles using the state’s Registration and Title System (RTS). Weekly, the state provides Tarrant County a transactional report generated from RTS for review and analysis.
Tarrant County receives approximately 400,000 records each week from the state for review and analysis. This data is provided in different file formats, fixed length and standard ASCII, which must be sorted and prepared for analysis. The sheer size and complexity of the data prevented auditors from reviewing the information in detail and performing comparisons.
The Tarrant County Auditor’s Office searched for a solution to the process of acquiring, sorting, and analyzing the volume of data provided by the state. With the assistance of the Tarrant County’s Motor Vehicle Office, the Auditor’s Office developed a custom IDEAScript to automate the process of monitoring transactions to identify trends and abnormal activity. Specifically, the auditors reviewed and analyzed the following:
With an automated process in place, Texas county auditors have reduced the frequency of necessary reviews, and improved the accuracy of all transactions and corresponding records.
The Auditor’s Office communicated the results of the testing to Motor Vehicle management for resolution. Furthermore, the Auditor’s Office has shared the IDEAScript and trained the Tax Office’s internal audit group to perform some of the same analytical procedures. This monitoring process has assisted in the detection and correction of errors and continues to provide Tax Office management areas of training and improvement that are needed.
Tarrant County was not alone in its struggle to analyze hundreds of thousands of transactions each week. The Auditor’s Office has shared the IDEAScript and new processes with fellow Counties including the Dallas County Tax Department and Travis County Internal Audit.
Travis County Tax Office auditors are using IDEA to sort files provided by the DMV to look through transactions, including the supporting documents. Auditors can compare data year-to-year to review trends over time, perform time analysis, and compare vehicle records against a national database of vehicle identification records (VINs) to search for inaccuracies and potential fraud.
With an automated process in place, Texas County Auditors have reduced the frequency of necessary reviews, and improved the accuracy of all transactions and corresponding records.