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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Department of Economic Development
Travel Card Transactions
(Issued: 7/22/2015)


Purpose

The objective of our examination was to assess the timeliness of reconciling credit card transactions against expense reports and the appropriateness of select travel card transactions at the Department of Economic Development (DED). 


Background

The New York State Travel Manual requires travelers to submit expense reports timely to provide the information necessary to reconcile the travel card bill and dispute potentially fraudulent charges.  When travel card charges remain unreconciled for more than 30 days, there is an increased risk of fraudulent or inappropriate transactions not being addressed appropriately.  This is a particular risk in an agency like DED, which has a relatively high volume of transactions per traveler, including international travel. 


Key Findings

We found many DED travelers did not reconcile their credit card transactions timely.  At the start of our examination in October 2014, DED had nearly $90,000 in travel card charges that remained unreconciled by 46 employees for 31 to 618 days.  As a result, DED Finance Office managers were unable to detect and stop inappropriate travel practices timely. 

In addition, we found DED Finance Office managers did not consistently hold employees accountable for unreconciled charges.  Subsequent to our Office’s initial inquiries regarding the unreconciled charges in April 2014, Finance Office managers closed the International Director of Marketing’s travel card account because he did not reconcile credit card charges for periods up to 588 days.  However, Finance Office managers did not take the same action for Assistant Counsel, who in addition to having $9,634 in charges that remained unreconciled for periods up to 595 days, also owes $105 back to the State for charging more on his travel card than he was entitled to receive in accordance with travel reimbursement rates.

In their response to our letter report, DED officials agreed our recommendations.  DED will continue to implement procedures and processes to improve the timely submission of travel vouchers and has assigned staff to train travelers who continue to have issues with timely submission.  DED will also continue to review outstanding charges and hold employees accountable for their travel card charges.  In addition, DED officials stated that unreconciled charges have dropped from $90,000 at the time of our examination to just over $14,000.


Key Recommendations

  • Complete the reconciliation process for remaining unreconciled charges and bill employees for any overages.
  • Continue to develop and implement a process to ensure employees reconcile travel card charges consistent with the time frame in the New York State Travel Manual and promptly repay any monies due to the State.
  • Consistently hold employees accountable for unreconciled travel card charges.

For a complete copy of the Report 2015-BSE5-001, click here.

 

Division of Contracts and Expenditures
Bernard J. McHugh, Director of State Expenditures

Phone: (518) 474-4868 Email: stexpend@osc.state.ny.us
Address: Office of the State Comptroller, Division of Contracts and Expenditures
110 State Street, 10th Floor; Albany, NY 12236