Budget report highlights Accountant General’s failings

  • On administrative leave: Accountant General Joyce Hayward

    On administrative leave: Accountant General Joyce Hayward

The Accountant General’s office is underperforming, according to latest budget estimates from the Ministry of Finance.

Key performance measures, such as the timely provision of financial reports, were not met by the department responsible for ensuring tight control of Government finances.

In 2011/12, for example, the Accountant General provided just two monthly governance reports to the Ministry of Finance in a timely manner. For the current year, Government estimates that only six of the reports will have been provided in a timely manner come March 31 when the fiscal year ends.

The reports are supposed to be provided by the end of the subsequent month.

The Accountant General is also expected to provide monthly financial management reports. But none were provided by the time required in 2011/12 and only five are expected to have been provided in time by the end of this year.

Quarterly fixed asset reports are also required from the Accountant General within 60 days of the end of the quarter being reported on.

But in 2011/12 the office did not meet the standard at all, and this year only two of the quarterly reports are expected to meet the standard.

Accountant General Joyce Hayward has been on administrative leave since December last year.

The budget book also documents woeful underperformance of the treasury management unit. Only four of the 12 monthly cash flow reports are expected to be submitted in time this year, and just three of Government’s monthly investment transactions were processed within 10 days of receipt of investment information. But that is an improvement over the previous fiscal year when the Accountant General failed to process a single of its treasury reports in the target time frame.

The Accountant General’s office also failed to produce all of its monthly consolidation reports reconciling accounts with the quangos. Just one was produced in 2011/12, while three were produced this year.

And the office managed to provide monthly Financial Instruction training just twice this fiscal year, and not at all in 2011/12.

It did, however, manage to pay salaries and wages accurately and in a timely manner 98 percent of the time in both of the last two fiscal years.

But its debt collection record has not fared as well.

In 2011/12 it collected just 10 percent of the total debt referred to it by Government departments. This year it is expected to collect just 25 percent, the target set by Government for the next fiscal year.

It established payment plans for 50 percent of the total debt referred to it in 2011/12, compared to 60 percent this year and a target of 70 percent for next year.

In her latest report on Government finances, Auditor General Heather Jacobs Matthews said Government had failed to adhere to international practice by producing late and incomplete 2011/12 financial statements.

She also noted that her report was delayed because initial financial statements provided by the Accountant General had required “significant adjustments”.

And she said that the financial statements of the Consolidated Fund for last fiscal year were of limited usefulness because they did not include results for the quangos.

By press time last night Finance Minister Bob Richards had not responded to our queries submitted through the Department of Communication and Information.

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Published Feb 25, 2013 at 8:00 am (Updated Feb 24, 2013 at 11:53 pm)

Budget report highlights Accountant General’s failings

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