Continuous Auditing: Automating Property Tax Refund Audit

2023 NACo Achievement Award Winner

Travis County, Texas, TX

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About the Program

Category: Financial Management (Best in Category)

Year: 2023

The Risk Evaluation and Consulting Division (REC) of the Travis County Auditor’s Office is tasked with auditing the internal controls and financial records of each department in the County. The audits performed include statutory, risk-based internal controls, and information systems audits. The County’s operating environment and services are becoming increasingly sophisticated as more regulations are introduced without the necessary funding sources to facilitate compliance efforts. As innovative auditing techniques are being developed, internal audit groups can improve their effectiveness by increasing their audit coverage. This can be achieved by implementing continuous auditing and monitoring techniques to detect exceptions in real-time and allow auditors to review entire populations, rather than sampling. REC is required to audit property tax refunds issued by the Travis County Tax Assessor-Collector’s Office throughout the year. On average, the volume of these property tax refunds has been increasing by 25% annually since 2018. The review process for these refunds requires significant resources, and the increasing volume of refunds has stretched REC’s resources. To meet this challenge, advanced analytics and automation processes were implemented to reduce the number of auditing hours required for this audit by as much as 91%.

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