Wintec tidies up travel paperwork after Audit NZ's damning report
Wintec finance and risk committee chairwoman Ping S’ng said the organisation’s updated international travel request form is working well (file photo).
Wintec has tightened up its paperwork around staff travel, with one board member saying it “almost puts you off going anywhere”.
In February, Audit New Zealand released a bombshell report into spending on overseas trips by Wintec executives.
Audit New Zealand scrutinised 10 years’ worth of accounts and found generally no evidence of a business case for individual trips.
Wintec finance and risk committee member Des Brennan said Wintec’s travel request form “ticks every conceivable box” (file photo).
Record keeping was so loose that auditors were unable to account for how much public money was spent or what it was spent on.
Auditors recommended detailed business cases be made for all trips so that the “justification for travel is properly tested before expenditure is incurred”
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Members of Wintec’s finance and risk committee met on Thursday to give feedback on changes to Wintec’s travel request form and its travel and gift policies.
Wintec chief financial officer Paul Holloway said the updated travel request form is already being trialled.
The request form is the “most important” document, Holloway said, because it captures the reason for travel.
Committee member Des Brennan said the request form appears to “tick every conceivable box that I’ve ever seen in a form”.
“It almost puts you off going anywhere,” he said.
Committee chairwoman Ping S’ng said she had signed off on travel using the updated request form and it works well.
However, S’ng drew attention to a question on the form that asks if a proposed trip has a budget to work within.
If the answer is no, then staff need to provide an explanation as to why there is no budget allocation, S’ng said.
“The ‘no’ [answer] needs a conclusion or some reason,” she said.
The travel request form also includes a prompt asking staff how they intend to cover sundry costs. An option is for staff to claim a cash advance.
Some Wintec staff don’t have work credit cards.
Committee member Niwa Nuri said those requesting a cash advance should be asked to give an explanation.
Referring to gifts, Nuri asked if the document sought to capture the receiving of gifts or the fact a gift was kept.
“What happens, just generally, you receive a gift and you go through the formalities and you throw it away when you get back to the hotel?” he asked.
“Is it the receiving of the gift that you have to actually record or is it the bringing back [of the gift] that you record?
Holloway said it’s the receiving of the gift that should be declared.
“The reality is you do not get gifts when you’re overseas, they’re just tokens of appreciation, value $5. The more likely situation you get a gift, is more likely in New Zealand,” he said.
The finance and audit committee are expected to give a final sign off on the travel request form and travel and gift policies in July.