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Audit Finds Accounting Weaknesses at DABC, Recommends Training

Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control commissioners at the May 26 meeting in Salt Lake City.

A financial audit released Tuesday shows Utah’s state-run liquor agency staff need more training in customer service and accounting.

According to the state’s mandated annual audit of the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, too few people are performing too many accounting tasks at the DABC, which could potentially lead to fraud or error. The report shows this inadequate separation of duties can be attributed to the department’s limited accounting expertise and lack of understanding of internal controls.

DABC Executive Director Sal Petilos says he’s open to increased training for accounting staff, which the audit recommends, but points out the state cut the department’s budget by half a million dollars this year.

“I think it shows the degree, the extent of leanness that we have in the department if we can’t have segregate, have sufficient separation of duties to have formal internal controls in place,” Petilos says.

The report also criticized the agency for lack of employees with retail experience. It recommended management participate in outside training to better understand industry best practices. The DABC is forbidden from promoting alcohol sales. But Petilos says there’s an expectation on the part of customers that employees should be able to help them.

“I guess you could say you could do things that the private sector would do but we can’t do that,” Petilos says. “It’s just to provide what’s being demanded.”

Petilos says he plans to ask the legislature for money to be restored to the DABC budget next year. 

Whittney Evans grew up southern Ohio and has worked in public radio since 2005. She has a communications degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, where she learned the ropes of reporting, producing and hosting. Whittney moved to Utah in 2009 where she became a reporter, producer and morning host at KCPW. Her reporting ranges from the hyper-local issues affecting Salt Lake City residents, to state-wide issues of national interest. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the guitar and getting to know the breathtaking landscape of the Mountain West.
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