Project Tracking Systems and Economic Assistance Program Evaluations (Follow-Up)

Issued Date
February 14, 2024
Empire State Development


To determine the extent of implementation of the two recommendations included in our initial audit report, Project Tracking Systems and Economic Assistance Program Evaluations (Report 2019-S-48).

About the Program

Empire State Development (ESD) is the chief agency responsible for the coordination of the State’s economic development programs. Its mission is to promote a vigorous and growing State economy; encourage business investment and job creation; and support diverse, prosperous local economies across New York State through the efficient use of loans, grants, tax credits, real estate development, marketing, and other forms of assistance. ESD offers more than 50 programs, encompassing more than 5,000 associated projects. ESD is statutorily required to report on its economic assistance programs, including both program-specific reporting as well as generalized reporting on its portfolio of economic assistance programs. Furthermore, ESD is mandated to perform periodic evaluations to determine the economic impacts of those programs on the State’s economy.

Over the years, ESD has primarily tracked its programs using an in-house project tracking system as well as desktop applications. In November 2016, ESD’s Board of Directors approved the selection of Microsoft Dynamics (Dynamics) to replace its existing project tracking system to reduce duplicative data entry, facilitate greater sharing of information, simplify project reporting, and create a central data warehouse. In January 2017, ESD hired a contractor to migrate projects from the in-house project tracking system to Dynamics and integrate its supporting databases. The migration of ESD’s loan and grant projects to Dynamics was completed in early 2019.

The objective of our initial audit, issued October 2021 and covering the period January 2016 to April 2021, was to determine if ESD maintained adequate information systems for the collection of relevant data to effectively manage and report on the economic assistance programs it administers and ensure programs meet desired outcomes. We found, with few exceptions, that ESD did not evaluate its economic assistance programs to ensure they meet intended goals and further ESD’s mission. Also, we found ESD generally collected and maintained relevant information to effectively manage, track, and report on its economic assistance projects, but after implementing Dynamics, ESD continued to use multiple systems to capture such data.

Key Findings

ESD has made some progress in addressing the two issues we identified in the initial audit report. Of the initial report’s two audit recommendations, both have been partially implemented.

Key Recommendation

Officials are given 30 days after the issuance of this report to provide information on any actions planned to address the unresolved issues discussed in this follow-up.

Heather Pratt

State Government Accountability Contact Information:
Audit Manager
: Heather Pratt
Phone: (518) 474-3271; Email: [email protected]
Address: Office of the State Comptroller; Division of State Government Accountability; 110 State Street, 11th Floor; Albany, NY 12236