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Dealers should not always rely on reports being printed for them

By Phil Villegas

As internal auditors and forensic accountants, we always approach most operational and accounting reports with a degree of skepticism because we ultimately know the impact that human behavior can potentially have on these reports.  To emphasize how important it is for us to know the reports and data we are looking at are pure and unaltered, it is standard protocol for us to require our clients to provide us system access in most of our engagements.  We will seldom, if ever, rely solely on client reports if the reports have not been run by one of our associates.  While this can often create increased workload for our team, it’s fundamental to what we do.

The recent story below, which is true will highlight the importance of this.

One of our analysts, who was not as well versed with the UCS as he is with other DMS systems, had requested a copy of the Open Repair Order report directly from the dealership since he was uncertain of how to generate the report himself.  This report was requested in preparation for a field visit we were conducting the following day, but we ended up having to delay the field visit a few days.  During the field visit, one of our Partner’s was reviewing the Open RO report and noticed it was a few days old and decided to rerun it herself.  On this newly run report, one of the oldest ROs on the list belonged to the Service Manager, it was approximately 90 days old and totaled over $1,000.  Yet this RO did not appear on the report provided to us from a few days prior.  We inquired with our analyst as to who had obtained the original Open RO report and we discovered it was run by the Service Manager.  The Controller at the store did not know how to generate the report and therefore requested it from the Service Manager.  We found out the Service Manager selected an option where he could exclude his own repair order from the report and therefore would not be subject to questioning.

The lesson to Dealers and even Controllers, given system and report parameters, do not always feel that since it’s printed on a system report that what you see is accurate.  Learn how to generate key reports yourselves and inspect what you expect to avoid any unforeseen surprises.

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