By Olivia Krauth–
U of L’s Board of Trustees’ audit committee agreed to continue working with Strothman and Company for further evaluation of U of L’s fiscal standing. The decision came at today’s meeting after hearing a review of the progress made towards the auditor’s recommendations over the past semester.
U of L’s chief financial officer Harlan Sands, whose job was created after the recommendations, spoke to the committee, outlining changes made and future changes. Sands, who seemed optimistic, said significant progress has been made and continues on all recommendations.
The majority of changes focus on standardizing, enhancing and computerizing the University’s fiscal procedures. Highlights of changes include a centralized reporting structure involving lead fiscal officers and an automated vendor system. Assistant Vice President for Finance Susan Howarth noted that while they cannot force vendors to participate in the changes, they’re “forcing it as much as (they) can.”
In an effort to improve tracking of U of L accounts and prevent embezzlement, 11 U of L-related bank accounts were closed and others were renamed. “If there are bank accounts, fallow or active, that are out there, folks that can take a check made out to U of L can go into one of these accounts outside of our scope of control and use that route to divert funds,” explained Sands.
Ongoing initiatives include reviewing U of L’s financial trends, enhancing and clarifying roles and responsibilities and creating an online policy library for reference.
Strothman and Company was initially hired summer 2013 to review U of L’s finances after multiple high-profile instances of fraud and embezzlement related to the University.