Many city, county and state departments collect cash, in various forms. There are fees for licenses, cash collected during events, and money exchanged for the sale of surplus property. We see poor cash-handling practices crop up in audits all the time. The San Francisco’s City Services auditor has focused on this issue over the last few years. It has faulted departments for storing cash or checks in unlocked drawers, for not checking to see if cash collected matched records of goods sold, or for not depositing cash in a timely way. The list goes on and on.
Last week, the auditor’s office published a cash-handling bulletin summarizing the problems. We thought the following chart of cash-handling weaknesses and risks would be helpful to many other governments as well.
The bulletin also has a very useful checklist. It asks a series of questions to help departments identify weaknesses. A combined report of six audits, earlier this year, describes specific cash-handling problems in greater detail.