Do the data on municipal expenditures in the Czech Republic imply incorrectness in their management?

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Technická Univerzita v Liberci
Technical university of Liberec, Czech Republic
Limited public resources confront public administration bodies with the question of how to handle them in an economically rational manner. Audit of public expenditures necessitates an ongoing creation and modification of an effective control system. Such a system is made up by subsystems of a formal (accounting and documentation) and economic control, responsible for monitoring the efficiency, effectiveness and economy of managing public expenditures. Significance of such interconnection rests in the fact that the formal control may signal possible improper management of public expenditures. This may become a stimulus for the economic control subsystem to verify the effectiveness, efficiency and economy of outlaid expenditures. For identification purposes related to potential accounting and record-keeping incorrectnesses in the management of public expenditures is proposed adoption of Benford’s Law (Benford’s test). Benford’s test is applied on municipal expenditure data for the year 2012. Data represent sums of public expenditures in the structure of the statement of budgetary execution and control specified by the Regulation of the Ministry of Finance of the Czech Republic No. 323/2002 Coll. For the data analysis there were used statistical methods, hypothesis testing, linear regressions and comparisons. Although the empirical analysis points at a limited use of Benford’s test in the conditions of municipal expenditures in the Czech Republic (mainly due to the instability of results and unavailability of suitable data), the analysis showed that Benford’s test can be adopted as a supporting tool, suitable for building into the control system of public expenditures. It is one of the ways to increase the effectiveness of a complex control of public expenditures.
control of public expenditures, municipal expenditures, manipulation of public expenditure data, Benford’s Law, Benford’s test as a signalling tool for auditing public expenditures