TAFE NSW has hired a team of auditors from KPMG to chase up millions in student revenue that has gone missing as the vocational education authority struggles with the state's LMBR IT overhaul.
Last year the state’s acting auditor-general Tony Whitfield said he couldn’t sign off on NSW TAFE’s finances for the 2014-15 financial year, following the October 2014 switchover to a new student management system installed as part of the learning management and business reform (LMBR) program.
The LMBR project began in 2006 as an effort to replace the legacy systems used across NSW schools and TAFE campuses for student management and back office ERP functions.
But it has hit a series of roadblocks along the way, and at last count was more than $100 million over budget at a reported $587 million.
“System limitations prevented me from obtaining sufficient and appropriate audit evidence to support amounts recorded for student revenue and related transactions,” Whitfield wrote to TAFE after auditing its books for the agency’s 2014-15 annual report.
The untracked revenue added up to $477.4 million received for goods and services, plus $47.6 million worth of student fees.
In the lead up to finalising its 2015-16 books, TAFE will spend $5.9 million on KPMG to produce “complete and accurate revenue and revenue related financial balances for TAFE NSW” to make up for the system shortfalls.
The work will include a redo of the 2014-15 year accounts, plus a recalculation of opening balances at 1 July 2014.
The auditors have been asked to “support revenue and revenue related financial balances with sufficient and appropriate audit evidence".
TAFE’s woes have also had a flow through effect on its student management system vendor, UK based software specialist Tribal, which was forced to downgrade its 2015 profit forecasts and may potentially pull out of the London Stock Exchange.