Audit uncovers flaws in state’s accounting system


When you try to manage a multi-billion-dollar state budget with three-decade-old software, problems are bound to happen.

An audit has found security flaws in the Department of Financial Services‘ antiquated FLAIR accounting system, according to a report released Friday. (FLAIR stands for “Florida Accounting Information Resource Subsystem.”)

The department is run by Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater.

Among those, “access privileges for some FLAIR and network users did not … restrict users to only those functions necessary for assigned job duties,” it said.

Also, the department’s “procedures and processes for conducting periodic reviews of user access privileges need improvement,” and other “security controls … need improvement to ensure the confidentiality, integrity and availability of Department data and IT resources,” the audit report said.

Atwater spokeswoman Ashley Carr has previously said the department must process nearly $90 billion in payments every year, and FLAIR is no longer meeting that need.

That’s why DFS continues to ask lawmakers for money to replace it with PALM, the Florida “Planning, Accounting and Ledger Management” system.

“Data security is imperative,” Carr said. “As noted within the report itself, we’ve addressed the few recommendations specific to FLAIR that were made, and we look forward to the continued progress of the FLAIR to Florida PALM transition project.”

Though FLAIR “has been repaired time and time again, findings will continue to arise that simply cannot be corrected on this more than 30-year-old system, reiterating the importance of the Florida PALM replacement project,” she added.

“As of May 2016, the Pre-Design, Development, Implementation (Pre-DDI) phase (of PALM) was in progress and expected to be completed in February 2018,” the audit report said.

Jim Rosica

Jim Rosica is the Tallahassee-based Senior Editor for Florida Politics. He previously was the Tampa Tribune’s statehouse reporter. Before that, he covered three legislative sessions in Florida for The Associated Press. Jim graduated from law school in 2009 after spending nearly a decade covering courts for the Tallahassee Democrat, including reporting on the 2000 presidential recount. He can be reached at [email protected].


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