The Office of the State Auditor is using new technology to look at more government transactions for fraud than ever before. The techniques we are using today were not available 10 or, in some cases, even five years ago. Criminals should be more worried about the Auditor’s office than ever.
To understand the power of this technology, let’s compare it to farming. If you were a farmer who wanted to test the quality of your soil, you might take a sample of dirt from one corner of your field, then drive across the field and take another small sample, then perhaps another, and then send those samples to be tested.
This is sort of how traditional auditing works. It’s too onerous for auditors to examine how every penny was spent. Instead, we take samples. We do so to make sure those sampled expenditures do not contain signs of fraud.
New technology dramatically expands the number of expenditures we can review, because we no longer need human eyes to check every single one. Now we can sometimes take every expenditure that a government office has made, put those expenditures into software, and analyze them with an algorithm. The algorithm tells us which expenditures look suspicious, and human auditors review those suspicious expenditures.