- Office of State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump
Media Contact for Audit Shows Weaknesses in Inventory Process at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
Mike Wessler, Communications Director
Boston — Auditor Suzanne M. Bump today released an audit which found that the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) needs to improve management of its furniture and equipment inventory, which has an estimated value of over $5 million.
“The enhanced risk of loss and theft of property at our colleges and universities, due to their open campuses, means that these institutions must be vigilant in protecting their assets,” Bump said of the audit. “Our audit found that the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts was no exception to this challenge, and that the school had deficiencies in their controls for physical assets. I’m pleased that they recognize the value of our recommendations to address these problems, and have already begun to implement them.”
The audit found that annual physical inventories were not performed and there were omissions and inaccuracies in the inventory list. Newly purchased inventory related to the construction of the Feigenbaum Center for Science and Innovation in 2013 and the renovations of an academic hall in 2015 were sent directly to the site rather than the Shipping and Receiving Office, which processes inventory. As a result, those items were not properly listed as inventory. The inventory list also inaccurately listed locations of items as management did not ensure that employees completed proper paperwork when relocating items. The school also did not always properly preapprove travel expenses that were placed on MCLA credit cards because of conflicting policies regarding the process for approving travel-related expenses.
Bump’s office provided recommendations to strengthen inventory controls, credit card purchase policies, and processes for reporting lost or stolen items. The school indicated they will be implementing all of the recommendations that were provided.
Earlier this year, Bump released audits of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Massachusetts Bay Community College, Middlesex Community College, Framingham State University, and Cape Cod Community College, all of which found similar problems with physical inventory control, and made similar recommendations to address the problems.
MCLA, which is located in North Adams, is a member of the Massachusetts public higher-education system. As of spring 2015, its student population was 1,691.