BOSTON, MA — An audit of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), released today by Auditor Suzanne M. Bump, found that the entity has left long overdue accounts receivable balances on their books without collecting them or writing them off as uncollectable. In total, $1,863,103 in funds due to the agency’s accounts receivable were more than 90 days past due, with approximately half of this amount more than a decade past due.
“Our audit found the MBTA, an agency with chronic management and funding challenges, was not properly collecting outstanding balances, and was leaving unpaid balances on their books for an extended period of time,” Bump said of the audit. “The MBTA should take all appropriate steps to collect funds that are due to the agency, but should also realistically write-off balances that are not likely to be recouped. This ensures an accurate picture of the financial status of the entity.”
Additionally, the audit determined the agency did not efficiently process transactions to its accounts receivable, or ensure proper approval was provided before balances were adjusted or written-off as uncollectable. These deficiencies mean that the MBTA is missing out on funds due to the agency, and that collectable funds could be lost due to inappropriate write-offs and adjustments.
“As leadership at the MBTA considers significant overhauls, they should first look at their oversight processes to ensure that they have adequate protections in place to protect taxpayer funds from theft, loss, or abuse,” Bump said. “Without these protections, systemic problems like those identified in our audit will likely continue, despite structural changes.”
The MBTA was created in 1964 and provides transit to almost 4.8 million people over an area of 3,200 square miles. It is the fifth-largest mass transit system in the United States, serving approximately 1.3 million passengers per day. The audit examined activities of the MBTA from July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2015.
About the Office of the State Auditor
The Office of the State Auditor conducts performance audits of state government’s programs, departments, agencies, authorities, contracts, and vendors. With its reports, the OSA issues recommendations to improve accountability, efficiency, and transparency. The OSA has identified more than $1 billion in unallowable, questionable, or potentially fraudulent spending and saving opportunities for the Commonwealth since 2011. Last year, auditees report implementation of 91 percent of the OSA’s audit recommendations. This year, the office received the Einhorn-Gary Awardfor its success furthering government accountability.