The Loudoun public school system has tightened procedures for paying employees after an accountant stole about $202,000 by exploiting financial control "deficiencies" detailed in an audit made public this week.

School officials announced that they had changed procedures for issuing paychecks as soon as Nettie J. Ennis, 51, was arrested last year and charged with embezzlement. She was sentenced on Jan. 13 to two years in prison.

With the conclusion of the legal proceedings, school officials released documents Tuesday that showed what kind of improvements they have implemented.

According to the report completed in September by Robinson, Farmer, Cox Associates, an accounting firm based in Richmond, Ennis was able to steal funds because she had access to computer software that allowed her to reactivate former school system employees and change their direct deposit information.

She then issued paychecks to these employees, depositing money into accounts she controlled.

The auditors suggested that payroll employees be denied access to software that reactivates former employees and be blocked from being able to change paycheck deposit information. Instead, they recommended that only employees in the school system's personnel department be able to activate or deactivate employees in computer files.

They also recommended that information about employee bank accounts be maintained by the employee benefits division and be altered only at the written request of employees.

The auditors also noted that payroll employees had access to printed employee paychecks and recommended that access be more limited before they are distributed to employees.

C. Sue Hurd, assistant superintendent for business and financial services, wrote in a letter to the School Board that the auditors' recommendations have been fully implemented. "I am confident that we have established the necessary controls to protect the system," she wrote."