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09 Jun 06 On NSW worker’s compensation audits

MEMBER 1 writes:

"Some of our clients have recently been subjected to NSW workers compensation audits. I have been astounded by the lack of knowledge and lack of professionalism displayed by the contracted auditors. We have had to spend considerable time on 2 audits explaining the law to the auditors.  This has been after the auditors in each case have wrongly accused the client of under declaring wages and threatening adjustments plus penalties when clearly this has not been the case. This places a strain on the relationship with our clients as we have assisted them in complying with their Workcover obligations. In one audit in particular where we had to explain the law to the auditor and point out that their accusation that our client was rorting Workcover was false we seemed to receive a fax from the auditor (part of a large accounting firm) almost every day after the visit asking for information which was either not relevant to the audit or which had already been provided. Unnecessary as well as being extremely time consuming and costly for our client who had complied fully with the law.

Workcover should ensure that the firms which it contracts these audits out to are skilled enough to complete the tasks required. Further our so called colleagues in these firms who tender for audits should not be doing so if they do not have staff with sufficient skills to carry out the audits. I am a huge advocate of audit activity to ensure compliance in all areas of business, this is a necessary part of maintaining the integrity of the system. I shudder to think just how many people have been hit with increased premiums and penalties if workers compensation audits are conducted in this way across the board. No doubt the firms conducting these audits are being well paid by Workcover whilst our clients are paying for their education and incompetence through us having to charge higher fees for the extra time taken to represent clients in these audits. The least that these contacted Workcover auditors can do is to provide a professional service by sending out auditors who understand the legislation which they are auditing clients under. We would not tolerate this incompetence from the ATO and should not tolerate it from contractors to Workcover.

Thank you and keep up the good work."

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