Saturday, July 12, 2014
Obliterating the stain
The Goochland Board of Supervisors’ draft strategic plan concentrates on stewardship, transparency, fiscal responsibility, and accountability with good reason.
For the past five years, Goochland has been working its way out of a crater of fiscal dysfunction. The current Board of Supervisors wants the county to have clean audit reports every year going forward. Goochland is still considered a high risk auditee, which means that extra tests will be applied when reviewing financial procedures. This condition will be lifted when the county undergoes two annual audits free of material weaknesses. (To see lots of previous material weaknesses, please see the 2010 special audit for fiscal 2009, which can be found, in its entirety, on the finance tab of the county website: www.co.goochland.va.us)
When the county audit committee, comprised of representatives from the Board of Supervisors, school division, county finance staff, Treasurer’s office, and outside auditors from PBMares, met on July 1, its focus was to address problems anywhere in county finances in pursuit of a clean audit for fiscal year 2014.
This is the third time that PBMares will perform the county audit. Next year, the county is expected to change auditors, not because of any fault with PBMares, but because it is a best business practice. The introduction to the audit procedures presented by PBMares declares that “we (PBMares) will continue to build a professional relationship that is based on candid feedback and mutual respect.”
The audit will be performed in accordance with standards generally accepted in the United States of America. In essence, the good people from PBMares rummage around in county and school operations to ensure that proper accounting procedures are followed and sufficient internal controls are in place to deter dishonesty and detect fraud. They also check to make sure that state and federal revenues are recorded and spent in the proper manner.
New Virginia Retirement System (VRS) reporting requirements will begin at the end of calendar 2014, which will add another layer of complexity to the audit process.
Thanks to a new spirit of collaboration and cooperation between the school division and county staff, the auditing process is more comprehensive and transparent than ever before.
At its August 5 meeting, the Board of Supervisors is expected to consider a comprehensive set of guidelines for fiscal policy to become “a cornerstone of sound financial policy.”