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School district advised in annual audit

Article Date: 
22 November, 2013 (All day)

The accounting firm of Gilbert & Stewart in Provo issued an unmodified, clean opinion of the Morgan County School District’s finances.  With significant changes in auditing standards whit year, it is the highest opinion that can be received.
“In the past, the district has had material weaknesses, significant deficiencies in control systems,” said auditor James Gilbert.  “The biggest issues you have are at the individual school levels, with limited oversight and personnel.  But the district has made significant improvements, and has downgraded to management recommendation areas.”
Those past “weaknesses” have involved separation of duties, essentially not having more than one person handling monetary transactions at the individual school level.  Having one person handle finances from beginning to end is not recommended.  In recent years, the district has made strides to bring in an outside firm to aid with bank reconciliations.
Gilbert suggested having two or more people handling receipts and deposits of money at each school.  He also told the board that they themselves need to be “vigilant” in watching over the funds.
“You have a limited number of personnel at each school level,” Gilbert said.  “The district has done a pretty good job with the limited resources it has, which is commendable.” 
Gilbert told the board and district that as policies and procedures change and people change positions, they should review internal controls.  He also suggested monthly financial statements and periodic random “spot” audits at the schools.
The board is paying close attention to the audit this year, taking steps to form a finance committee and asking tough questions of their auditing firm.
Gilbert praised the district for implementing new financial software that admittedly has many “quirks.”
He praised the district, saying that two and three years ago, the district had excessive amount of journal entries necessary to close the books, but that those journal entries are few now. 
Gilbert said upcoming auditing requirements, particularly those requiring to detail how the state has underfunded insurance, may rock the boat in the future.