Project Description

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Data-driven audit management at City of Gainesville

Interview with Carlos Holt, city auditor, City of Gainesville, FL

We’re mid-sized, 140,000 or so people, and it’s got its own distinct government separate from accounting. We do everything other governments do. One of which is we own a large regional utility.

I report to elected officials, so they can make decisions and think things are a good idea and I have to be there on the front end to say, “Well wait a minute. There’s some risk in that.” When I interviewed for the job, basically I told them I work for the public interest.

What strategic risks are you faced with in a city audit environment?

The biggest strategic risk is that the city makes decisions that bind us to things that are going to cause us trouble, that is either going to cause us to get less revenue—primarily from taxes and so forth—or to make expenditures larger than we have a budget for, or that we violate federal and state laws. You have to know the facts. And to do that you’ve got to have a good handle on your data.

Describe your team’s reality before deploying the ACL platform?

The largest expense in that office, besides personnel, when I came was paper. They had manual work papers. They were basically auditing 1980s style. I needed something I could get up and running quickly with a very small staff. My solution was ACL GRC and I also bought Analytics, of course. And life has changed significantly since that time.

How is ACL’s data-driven platform adding value for your team?

We have automated our work papers; they’re on the web. I can get to them from home, I can get to them from Chicago, where I am now. We have standardized our templates, we’ve added to the templates that were already provided. We’ve built onto them so they are more suitable for a municipal government auditing standards Yellow Book shop.

We have begun using Results Manager to do our COSO internal control survey in order to build our risk module using Risk Manager. We have just begun using ACL Storyboards and the other display items.

We are so far ahead of the game that my people now are enthused and excited to work. They are actually performing at a much higher level. And time is so much more available when you’ve got an automated process. I mean they used to spend literally dozens and dozens of hours doing those manual work papers, typing them up. And the other problem is, when you sign off a manual work paper, there’s no quality assurance after the fact of when it was signed off and by whom.

Would you recommend ACL’s Cloud-based GRC solution to other city auditors?

To me, it’s just a no-brainer. It’s much easier in the Cloud. I can get to it anywhere at any time from any device. It’s that simple.

Gainesville is the largest city and county seat of Alachua County. It serves as the cultural, educational and commercial center for the north central Florida region. The city provides a full range of municipal services and owns a regional transit system, a municipal airport, a 72-par championship golf course and a utility.

Products in use:

ACL Analytics

ACL GRC

"I needed something I could get up and running quickly with a very small staff. My solution was ACL GRC and I also bought ACL Analytics, of course. And life has changed significantly since that time.

Carlos Holt

City Auditor, City of Gainesville