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Auditors Recommend A Thorough Review of University of The Gambia’s Finance Department

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Officials from the University of the Gambia

By Ramatoulie Jawo 

In their 2019-2020 Management Letter presented to the National Assembly’s Finance and Public Accounts Committee, DT Associates, external auditors for the University of The Gambia (UTG), have recommended a comprehensive review and reorganization of UTG’s Finance Department to address significant concerns raised during their audit.

The auditors reported substantial errors and omissions that required numerous corrections, revealing inadequate capacity within the Finance Department to address these issues in a timely manner.

“Errors were found in prepared bank reconciliations, trade payables, trade receivables, etc., and other mis-postings which resulted in significant adjustments to the original trial balance provided to us at the beginning of the audit. We noted a significant backlog in posting accounting transactions as well,” the auditors said.

They emphasized that management should undertake a thorough review and reorganization of the Finance Department, focusing on clearly defining daily tasks and reporting requirements for the department’s personnel. Without adequate capacity, the accounting functions may not produce the accurate and reliable information necessary for effective management.

“Management should conduct a thorough review and reorganization of the Finance Department to address the issues of concern to raise attention should be paid to defining the daily tasks and reporting requirements of personnel within the Financial Department,” they said. 

The report further recommended an assessment of staffing and skills to ensure that personnel with the relevant qualifications and experience are either recruited or trained and assigned appropriate tasks and responsibilities. Additionally, the auditors suggested implementing proper review and monitoring processes to minimize errors and omissions and to enhance the department’s efficiency.

In response, UTG management cited the implementation of the new accounting software, Sage 200, in 2019 as a contributing factor to the issues. They noted that this coincided with the recruitment of a new Chief Accountant to manage the project. Prior to this, UTG had no effective accounting software, and transactions were manual. Consequently, the transition resulted in many corrections following the review process, highlighting the absence of the necessary skill set for an effective financial system.

“This also coincides with the recruitment of a new Chief Accountant as the Project Manager of the new deployment. It is worthy to note that prior to this, there was effectively no accounting software, and transactions were manual. Unfortunately, the desired results could not be achieved, and hence the corrections of errors in postings were many following the review process. As observed by the previous auditors, the required skills set for an effective financial system was not available,” the UTG management highlighted. 

UTG management also mentioned that they began appointing qualified accountants in 2018 and 2019, with the current Director of Finance and Chief Accountant being part of these efforts.

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