Auditor questions state’s accounting system

Minnesota’s Legislative Auditor is raising questions about how well the state’s accounting system is working.

Legislative Auditor James Nobles says taxpayers should be getting more for their money (MPR Photo/Tom Weber)

The system known as SWIFT, administered by Minnesota Management and Budget, is not providing timely information on the state’s spending, according to Legislative Auditor James Nobles.  The state spent nearly $70 million on the system, and it still isn’t working correctly, said Nobles.

“I just don’t think we should accept spending that kind of money and receiving a product that doesn’t perform as it should as it was promised,” Nobles said. “We are two years into implementation of that new accounting system, and we are still, in state government, experiencing problems in what we need and what is required.”

Nobles said he has not found any cases where state money hasn’t been accounted for or is missing.

Gov. Mark Dayton said the state’s citizens expect integrity in financial reporting. He said officials with Management and Budget disclosed last year that there would be reporting delays.

“They’re well aware of the flaws that remain and are working hard to correct it,” Dayton said. “It’s unfortunate anytime you start one of these very large scale systems there are often glitches, but [MMB Commissioner] Jim Schowalter and his team are working hard on it; and I have no doubt they’re going to keep it in hand.”

The computer accounting system  was created during Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s time as governor but was not operational until July 1, 2011 – Dayton’s first year in office.

An official with Management and Budget says although there have been delays, there have not been any other problems with tracking the spending of taxpayer dollars.