Role & Function

The Office of the Controller is composed of eight divisions: Pre-Audit, Post-Audit, Special and Fraud Investigations, Administration, Financial and Policy Analysis, Pension Affairs, Information Technology, and Legal Affairs.  All Deputies and division directors report to the First Deputy City Controller. 

A. Pre-Audit Division

Led by Deputy Controller John H. Thomas, the Pre-Audit Division is responsible for approving disbursement requisitions for payment from the City Treasury.  It consists of an Expenditures and Receipts Control Unit and a Technical Unit.

1. Expenditures and Receipts Control

Expenditures Control conducts an audit program of expenditure documents required to be submitted for approval, such as invoices, payment vouchers, purchase orders, and contracts.   Documents are selected for audit on a category and statistical basis.  Expenditures Control verifies that all expenditures are authorized and accurate in accordance with the Charter and other pertinent legal and contractual requirements, before any monies are paid by the City Treasurer. Receipts control verifies, compares and files receipts documents, for both money and property, which are submitted to it.

2. Technical Unit

The Technical Unit, consisting of auditing and engineering staff, inspects and audits capital project architecture and engineering, construction and related expenditures.  Under the Home Rule Charter, expenditures for capital projects are subject to such review before payments are made.  Because the capital projects increasingly are built by authorities and private entities not covered by the Charter, but still using Philadelphia taxpayer dollars, the Controller’s Office tries to obtain audit authority over these expenditures by contract.

B. Audit Division

Led by Deputy City Controller Christy Brady, CPA, the post-audit division consists of an Audit Unit and Computer Assisted Auditing Techniques Unit.

1. Audit Unit

This unit is responsible to audit at least annually:

  • The affairs of every officer, department, board and commission receiving appropriations from City Council.
  • The financial report of the City and School District of Philadelphia and to render an opinion on whether the financial statements are fairly presented in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.
  • Federal and state financial assistance received by the City and School District of Philadelphia and to render an opinion on whether the funds were spent in compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

The Audit Unit also conducts performance audits to determine the efficiency and effectiveness of City operations, fraud audits, drug forfeiture audits and other special audits requested by the Controller, the Mayor or members of City Council.

Audits are conducted in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards established by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and generally accepted Government Auditing Standards (GAGAS) established by the Comptroller General of the United States.  All audit reports are made available to the press and general public.

2. Computer Assisted Auditing Techniques (CAAT) Unit

The CAAT Unit evaluates internal controls throughout the City’s automated accounting systems, and it researches, retrieves and configures financial data.

C. Administration Division

The Administrative Services Director and supporting staff provide general services for the department.  These services include departmental budget preparation and accounting, personnel administration, payroll timekeeping and preparation, purchase and maintenance of equipment and supplies, records maintenance and file room and general office management.

D. Financial and Policy Analysis Division

This division was formed during the 1990 financial crisis to forecast proactively revenue and expenditure trends as well as to formulate accurate cash flow estimates. The division opines on the City's Five-Year Plan, publishes reports on the financial condition of the City, conducts policy analyses, and advises the Controller on crucial issues of the day.

E. Information Technology

This unit is responsible for the planning, purchase and administration of the Office’s computer hardware and software.  The unit documents, diagnoses and maintains the Office’s LAN(s) systems and its intra-net and internet web pages.

F. Pension Affairs

The Pension Affairs specialist is responsible for the Controller’s activities with respect to the Municipal Pension Fund, Sinking Fund Commission, and PGW Retirement Reserve Fund.

G. Special & Fraud Investigations Division

The Special and Fraud Investigations Division coordinates and undertakes all investigations in response to tips and other information which may indicate fraud involving City contracts, alleged misconduct on the part of City employees, worker injury abuse, enforcement of the residency requirement, and conflicting employment issues.  Completed investigations may be referred to the U.S. Attorney or the Office of the District Attorney for prosecution.