– relies on cumbersome, inefficient, manual systems, audit finds
Chartered Accountants Ram and McRae have concluded that the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation needs to use Information Technology solutions to properly manage its financial system and implement Standard Operating Procedures for proper internal control.
The accounting firm was appointed by the Government of Guyana to investigate the financial operations and functioning of the GPHC.
The recommendations were made based on the complexity and size of the health institution. The report on the findings suggests that the hospital should be operating in a fully functional integrated computerised environment.
“The hospital makes little use of Information Technology with all the critical areas of Finance, Pharmacy Bond and Central Stores relying on cumbersome, inefficient, manual systems which are incapable of providing reliable management information.”
It was also suggested that a competent and qualified consultant be engaged to take on a complete evaluation of all the hospital’s IT needs in order to arrive at an acceptable solution.
The final report on the investigation explained that financial statements are not prepared by the hospital. However, the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMAS) is used to keep track of allocations and expenditures.
It was noted that presentation of information concerning income, expenses and bank balances are readily available. However, the report said that it would be impossible for the GPHC to provide accurate information of inventory and fixed asset balances.
The report also highlighted a discrepancy regarding the expenditure of income generated by the Hospital. As of September 2015 the decision was made whereby the institution’s income would be directed towards funding projects.
The audit recommended that all income earned by the hospital is deposited into the Consolidated Fund. This was recognized as the better option, since the practice currently used by the hospital would result in unauthorised expenditure of significant sums.
With regard to the hospital’s payroll, the FastPay software is used to prepare the information. The report said that discussions revealed that information stored on the hospital’s servers is not backed up offsite.
Moreover, Acting Director of Human Resources Ms. Wickham indicated that their systems crash continuously and she does not believe that any of the information stored on the hospital’s systems is being saved to the server, since the department is unable to retrieve information when the systems crash.
It was recommended that an offsite backup system be implemented in the event of a catastrophic event or damage to the server. The audit endorsed the idea that in the short-term an IT specialist should be engaged to ensure that information can be saved to the hospital’s server until a permanent solution can be found.
In addition to the need for IT solutions, the audit also disclosed that there is need for documented Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) at the hospital. It was reported that the GPHC does not have an internal control manual and functional internal controls are largely based on ad hoc practices.
This absence has led to a system in which the institution is micromanaged by the Chief Executive Officer. All payments including petty cash, payroll and payment to suppliers are approved by the CEO. Additionally, all contracts and requests for purchases are approved by the CEO. The absence of a working SOP was found to be a weakness for departments, especially finance and pharmacy.
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