Deloitte & Touche has conducted a review for the Royal Canadian Mint to try to account for a $15.3 million discrepancy between a rolling inventory and a physical count of gold owned by the mint and its customers, and Goldfinger is apparently not to blame.

The mint conducts a count of its stock of precious metals twice annually, and compares and reconciles the amount with its stock-keeping records. However, after a reconciliation on Oct. 26, 2008, there was an unaccounted-for difference of approximately 17,500 troy ounces of gold, or about 0.32 percent of the mint’s throughput for the fiscal year.

Deloitte’s review aimed to determine whether the discrepancy was the result of an accounting or transaction-recording error, but ultimately ruled out an accounting error. “The unaccounted-for difference in gold does not appear to relate to an accounting error in the reconciliation process, an accounting error in the physical stock count schedules, or an accounting error in the recordkeeping of transactions during the year,” said the report.

Instead, Deloitte identified three other areas for mint officials to consider. One suggestion was to conduct a technical review of operations. As the mint applies scientific processes and formulae to various aspects of refining, such as process losses, it could review and update its benchmarks and third-party studies regarding such technical processes and formulae.

Another suggestion, to conduct an accounting review of prior periods, was probably not feasible, however, Deloitte admitted. “Although, in theory, revisiting prior-period reconciliations could explain the difference, it would be difficult to complete such a review due to the passage of time, the availability of supporting documentation and the turnover of mint staff,” said the report.

The other suggestion involved security reviews, raising the suspicion of theft. Deloitte suggested that the mint conduct a “more in-depth review of systems security and an assessment of potential inappropriate activity by both internal and/or external parties.” The report also recommended that the mint assess its physical security controls to identify any theft opportunities on hand and related to material held offsite, and that it should identify any “opportunities for accidental or deliberate manipulation of the manual accounting records or of the recordkeeping systems and data.”

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