Airport Improves Tracking of Money It Should Receive

Published on December 16, 2021

Image of Denver International Airport with the Westin Hotel on the left.

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DENVER – In our final follow-up report of 2021, Denver International Airport is doing a better job than it was two years ago of tracking and collecting the money it is owed, according to Denver Auditor Timothy M. O’Brien, CPA.

“Having efficient systems to track and reconcile the accounts that have owed money to the airport for a long time is important,” Auditor O’Brien said. “Just because the airport’s budget is more than a billion dollars doesn’t mean it’s OK to miss out on millions.”

Our 2019 audit examined how the airport manages its accounts receivable, which represent money owed to the airport by customers for goods or services that have been delivered but not yet paid for.

We found the airport wasn’t properly charging interest on late payments, resulting in an average loss of more than $1 million each year starting in 2018. Airport management also failed to write off uncollectible debts and didn’t have correct documentation for millions owed in doubtful accounts.

The airport needed to resolve issues with software and understaffing.

Airport management implemented 13 of the recommendations we made in the 2019 audit and partially implemented two others. Airport officials disagreed with the remaining three recommendations.

Since the time of our audit, the airport improved efficiencies, enhanced collection efforts, hired additional staff, and reconciled some accounts.

However, other customer accounts still need reconciliation and the airport continues to miss out on revenue from interest payments and late fees because a new software system is still not fully implemented.

“Airport management disagreed with our recommendation to collect late fees and interest until after the implementation of its new system,” Auditor O’Brien said. “However, delays due to the pandemic and changes in scope mean the system won’t be implemented until next year — and meanwhile, the airport continues to miss out on revenue.”

According to the airport, once the airport’s new revenue and property management system is in place next year, reconciliations will be more streamlined, freeing up staff time to work with customers on timely reconciliations. 

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