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Other Matters: Inefficiencies in Revenue Collection

Manual processes have led to inconsistent data collection and an inefficient collections process.

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In December 2009, the Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) installed an automated unemployment insurance (UI) system called UI Online, which included a revenue component. However, according to DUA management, when this new system was implemented, it did not provide for records of collection activity performed on delinquent employer accounts to be carried over from its legacy system. Management stated that as a result, to find past delinquent UI contribution records, DUA had to retrieve hardcopy records for each associated employer and then determine what collection activities, if any, need to be completed moving forward.

Additionally, the UI Online automated processes associated with the Revenue Enforcement Department did not function as intended. Specifically, on August 22, 2017, we met with DUA management for a walkthrough of the collection-activity process. During this walkthrough, DUA stated that employer accounts assigned to the DUA Revenue Enforcement Department staff for collection were entered in a separate collection database for assignment and tracking purposes. DUA stated that as a result, it had to implement a manual process, which it still uses today to track the contacts made by the Revenue Enforcement Department staff and employers in an effort to settle outstanding debt. Further, DUA stated that letters created and issued as part of the debt collection process, including Certified Assessments, Requests for Judgment, Notices of Lien, and Notices of Levy, must be created outside UI Online, in Microsoft Word, and later scanned into UI Online, which creates inefficiencies in the process and a higher likelihood of error.

In addition, during the walkthrough, DUA management informed us that staff members must first enter information associated with their other collection activity in DUA’s Microsoft Access database and then reenter the information in UI Online. That information transcription in UI Online does not always happen; this leads to missing information and/or documentation related to collection activity in UI Online. DUA management has also acknowledged a lack of institutional knowledge of the various functions related to assessing and collecting UI contributions in this system and has cited this lack of institutional knowledge as a cause for its inability to provide timely, comprehensive responses to our requests for information.

Finally, DUA’s internal control documentation does not describe the UI Online system or the controls that have been implemented to ensure its continued effective and efficient operation.

We recommend that DUA work on developing and funding changes to UI Online that will allow it to use the technology available in this system to manage its revenue collection process more effectively and efficiently.

Date published: June 15, 2018