Mississippi's Chief financial watchdog tells state agencies they need to do better managing state dollars. MPB's Ashley Norwood reports on the state's annual audit.
There's good news and bad news in the annual report on the state budget from auditor Stacey Pickering. The annual report looks at all tax money coming into the state of Mississippi and how agencies manage it. As an example of where the state can improve, Pickering points to the Department of Finance and Administration.
Pickering says the employees of the Department of Finance and Administration do not have the skills or training to prevent fraud. The department is responsible for managing the state's accounting system. It was implemented in 2015 with no budget for training.
"We implemented a brand new enterprise-wide accounting system without spending a dime on training. We had a massive loss of financial expertise in the state of Mississippi and then we replace with people learning their financial management job but also, they didn't know how to work the new accounting software and their having to learn it and we turn into these massive number of findings we have across the state," said Pickering.
In a statement, the Department of Finance and Administration says they bear some responsibility but state agencies also need to do better. Pickering says it's not all bad news. In general, Mississippi is financially sound.
"We've actually seen real income increase for Mississippi families. It may be a small increase, but it's still an increase and it's heading and trending in the right direction," said Pickering.
The Comprehensive Annual Financial Report is available on the state auditor's website. Ashley Norwood, MPB News.