Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor
Financial Audit Division

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Report Summary
Department of Agriculture
Internal Control and Compliance Audit

 

Financial Audit Division Report 08-35 Released December 18, 2008

Conclusions

For the areas audited, the Department of Agriculture's internal controls were generally adequate to ensure it safeguarded receipts, accurately paid vendors and employees, produced reliable financial records, and complied with most legal requirements. However, the department had some weaknesses in its internal controls for travel, overtime, purchasing cards, cell phones, and limited aspects of its personnel and payroll transactions.

For the items tested, the department generally complied with finance-related legal requirements, except for certain travel, purchasing card, and cell phone requirements. The department resolved a prior finding relating to receipts processing.

Key Findings

  • The department did not adequately control travel expenses and had no separately established criteria for promotion and marketing expenses exempted from state travel rules. The department lacked written policies, had inadequate control over state-paid travel costs when combined with personal travel or when amounts are paid by outside organizations, did not sufficiently document some travel expenditures, and had poor control over mileage claims.
  • The commissioner and other employees did not document and report accrued travel-related benefits earned on state business trips.
  • Employees submitted untimely travel expense reimbursements causing the state to incur additional employer taxes, and the department failed to properly record some of the commissioner's untimely travel reimbursements as taxable income.
  • Purchasing card controls did not include the monitoring of rejected transactions and card limits, and some employees made restricted purchases.
  • The department did not sufficiently document advance approval to control overtime costs and reasons for payroll expense funding adjustments.
  • The department did not effectively manage and control its cell phones.

Audit Objectives and Scope

Internal controls and compliance for fiscal years 2005, 2006, and 2007 over the following selected areas:

  • Receipts
  • Employees' Use of Cell Phones and Purchasing Cards
 
  • Payroll Expenditures
  • Travel Expenditures

Background

The Department of Agriculture's mission is to administer programs that ensure the integrity of the food supply and strengthen the state's agricultural economy. In fiscal year 2007, the department received General Fund appropriations of totaling $41 million, collected $43.6 million, and spent $75.5 million.

More Information

Office of the Legislative Auditor ♦ Room 140, 658 Cedar St., St. Paul, MN 55155