Washoe County, covering Reno, Nevada and many square miles of high plains and forest, felt the recent economic crunch more than most counties in the U.S. Property tax revenue impacted by the mortgage crisis and sales tax revenue linked to high unemployment had a combined drop of approximately 15% since 2007. The State of Nevada planned to divert $48.5 million in pledged funds over the same period. In addition, the county had 2 frauds prior to 2010 totaling millions of dollars in loss.
Washoe County’s management was forced to take action including:
Staff reductions included the internal audit department, leaving Alison Gordon, CPA, CFE, with the sole responsibility of addressing high-risk issues such as disbursement controls, segregation of duties, continuity of existing business procedures and the prevention of fraud. IA needed a tool to detect and eliminate disbursement errors despite organization-wide resource reductions.
The CaseWare Monitor solution provides:
CaseWare Monitor helped us identify true duplicates and research the root causes, which uncovered a disbursement procedure that needed adjusting for strong controls. We’ve taken that success and secured more county agencies to participate inreviewing their own duplicates. Each agency is doing its part to combat fraud, waste and abuse.
Alison Gordon, CPA, CFE
Internal Auditor, Washoe County
Continuous monitoring provides a “virtual employee” to identify anomalies and review of 100% of transactions. The “virtual employee” highlights risk and control issues within a given audit area and lets her respond in a timely manner.
Key outcomes with CaseWare Monitor Solution:
Washoe County is forecasting a modest 1% increase in sales taxes in 2013, however property taxes are forecast to drop another $2.5 million in the upcoming year due to the continued decline in Nevada’s housing market. CaseWare Monitor was selected in part for its flexibility to add more reports with ease. As Washoe County continues to respond to predicted shortfalls, additional business units can participate in strengthening controls. The new business logic will expand the business areas and processes that are monitored to ensure proper use of limited funds. Washoe County is gathering the requirements for exceptions in the next focus area.