Second P-card audit: All authorizations, documentation appropriate

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Purchases made using Beaufort County School District credit cards were properly authorized and documented, according to an outside audit performed by a Georgia-based firm hired by the Board of Education.

The report from Mauldin & Jenkins of Savannah was the second outside credit card audit in two years to find that district procedures had been properly followed. The district makes most of its purchases of goods and services electronically – everything from classroom supplies to school furniture to monthly utility bills – using “purchase cards” provided by Bank of America.

After examining 2,664 purchases between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019, Mauldin & Jenkins found no unauthorized purchases and determined that district procurement procedures had been followed.

The Mauldin & Jenkins report, which was presented to the Beaufort County Board of Education Tuesday, May 5, echoed findings from a 2018 audit by a Virginia CPA firm. After that firm, Reed & Associates, sampled 262 transactions from July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017, Board members commissioned a second audit aimed at reviewing a larger sample of transactions.

In addition to the 2018 and 2020 Board-ordered audits, internal controls for P-cards are reviewed in the district’s annual independent audits required by the state.

In the 2018 and 2020 audits as well as district administration’s independent annual audits and procurement audits, there has never been a significant problem found with internal controls concerning P-card purchases.

District P-cards are subject to fraudulent use just as family credit cards are, and of more than 27,000 charges made during the 2018-19 fiscal year, individuals who were not district employees illegally made purchases 30 times using district P-card numbers. Each of those 30 cases was monitored and investigated, and in each case, Bank of America reimbursed the full cost of the illegal charge. The credit cards involved were replaced by Bank of America.

Cash rebates are also an important benefit for the Beaufort County School District, which received more than $1.9 million in P-card cash rebates from Bank of America over the past five years. Rebate funds become part of the district’s operating budget.

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