I always get a charge from local press coverage of GAGAS / SIngle Audit presentations because what are seemingly simple concepts are actually mind numbingly arcane. Luckily for the reader, my mind has previously been numbed with this bit of arcanity so along those lines I got a chuckle at Mary Perez’s rendition of the D’Iberville City Council meeting where their FYE September 30, 2012 SIngle Audit report was presented.
First things first folks as the audit submission is late (it was due on June 30, 2013) and that gives a clue as to the state of the finance department at the City. Good, clean records are easy to audit and those entities with good, clean records typically are not late with audit submissions. In fact, my experience has been that auditees with good, clean records typically have their audits wrapped up 3 to 4 months after the fiscal year end. In the private sector 3 months after Fiscal year end is typically considered timely for audit completion by way of comparison.
The second thing is Mary’s report quotes the CPA firm representative as saying the firm’s opinion was unqualified which in turn is a “clean, good opinion”. My question is which opinion because there are something like 4 or 5 auditor opinion letters contained in a single audit and from the sound of things the City of D’Iberville’s operations are anything but “clean” and “good” as there is double dealing galore there beginning with DMR but not ending there as internal controls over grants and contracts appear nonexistent along with gaping holes in the cash disbursement processes. That much was clear from Mary’s report and there is nothing good or clean about that.
And then of course there is that pesky FBI investigation into the Utility Authority, SH Anthony Construction Company along with Maxwell Walker Consulting and their curious contract with the City. And while my experience has been that FBI agents are meticulous in their grooming, there is nothing good and clean about having the FBI about investigating government corruption.
To be clear here I am not casting stones at Mary Perez or the CPA firm, which has a reputation for doing quality work under the GAGAS standards, but I would recommend a bit more effort on the delivery because there is nothing clean or good in the City of D’Iberville these days since the various DMR connected scandals broke other than them numbers on those General Purpose Financial Statements to which the CPA firm referred that are now 9 months old. I submit that was the least important part of the report that was presented yet it lead the story told by the media mainly because it leads off the SIngle Audit Report.
My own two cents and a personal rule of thumb is if the financial data is more than 3 months old, I do not emphasize those sections of the report thus it is the area where I spend the least time in report presentation. Often discussions of internal controls, compliance with laws and regulations, certain footnote disclosures or, as is often found in the contracting world, the schedule of work in progress are far more salient. I certainly think that is the case here.