According to the New Mexico State Auditor, certain government employees tasked with payroll management, received emails from other state employees asking them to redirect their payroll deposits to a new bank account. In the name of service and efficiency, the payroll administrators happily honored the requests and redirected the pay to the new accounts to the horror of the employees effected.

Why? Unfortunately, the employees never made the request and the emails were fake, directing the money to unknown accounts where it was quickly removed.

I am guessing the State of New Mexico Policies and Procedures include directions that would prohibit making changes to employee payroll without the knowledge of the employee and the proper authorization.

In my book, Accounting Policies and Procedures for Small Businesses Working with the DCAA and Other Government Agencies, I include the following discussion about payroll management:

“One important concept is to make no changes to employee pay without their knowledge. The sample Personnel Action Form is provided as a tool for this.”

I also include the following sample Policy:

“The manager completes a Personnel Action Form (PAF) for changes to employee status, including hiring, promotions, change to departments or job position, pay status, termination, or other change in employment. Employees complete the Personnel Action Form for changes regarding changes to withholding taxes. A change in status must be approved by an HR employee relationship manager.”

The sample form I include in the text is one I developed decades ago and still handles changes to payroll well. Maybe I should send a copy to the State Auditor?