Release Date: October 12, 2019
BUFFALO, N.Y. – The following is a statement from the University at Buffalo regarding the Office of the State Controller’s Procurement Practices audit report.
The University at Buffalo is strongly committed to good stewardship of state resources. This includes ensuring that university procurements are reasonable and appropriate, and optimizing the efficiency and effectiveness of procuring goods in compliance with all New York State regulations guiding procurement.
While the university agrees with some recommendations of the Office of the State Controller (OSC) report, we have raised concerns that the report overstates the impact of some of the OSC’s findings, and fails to acknowledge important steps that the university has already put in place for improved planning and operational efficiencies.
The OSC audit report indicates in its findings that “questionable transactions” were made by the university to two vendors, and questioned whether the funds were spent “appropriately and in the best interest of the state.” While the university agrees that there is an opportunity to improve documentation and internal processes, all identified purchases benefited UB and the UB community. It is important to note that there is no evidence that the purchases were inappropriate or fraudulent.
The report fails to mention that in several instances, prior to the OSC review, the university was in the processes of implementing systems and making process changes that will enhance the university’s monitoring controls, standardize the procurement process and lead to improved efficiency and effectiveness.
Over the past several years, at the direction of UB’s president, the university’s Office of Finance and Administration has taken several steps to strengthen the financial control structure at the university, including instituting a comprehensive budgeting process, and implementing the Shop Blue procurement system that provides reconciling pricing lists and invoices, availability of funds and notification of discounts. In 2017, UB created and implemented a new policy for the administration of, and internal controls over, university cash-handling operations and established a new internal controls policy.
These measures are meant to ensure that across every area the university is exercising the utmost diligence in its business and financial practices and exercising responsible management of university resources.
The university appreciates OSC’s comprehensive audit work and welcomes the opportunity to address legitimate recommendations raised in the audit for procurement practices that align with local, state and federal requirements. The university is always cooperative when agencies review our programs and policies. UB will consider identified recommendations, and make any necessary improvements.
Stewardship of the public trust is integral to our university values and mission. UB is committed to adhering to the principles and practices of good internal control practices, and to ensuring that resources are spent properly and continue to benefit the university and the UB community.
Corr Distributors, Inc.
University at Buffalo Foundation Activities