County officials say flaws found during audit have been rectified | New


Cherokee County’s fiscal year 2019 audit report mirrored a previous investigation that found parts of government to be non-compliant, but the issues have since been rectified.

State auditor and inspector Cindy Byrd, a chartered accountant, said the financial statements are presented fairly, with respect to revenue, disbursements and changes in cash balances.

“We believe that the audit evidence we have obtained is sufficient and appropriate to provide a basis for our audit opinion,” the report states.

As for the government’s audit standards report on internal control over financial reporting, the OSAI said it identified some internal control weaknesses that they consider to be “significant weaknesses” and “significant deficiencies”.

“Through the process of understanding the county’s internal control structure, it was noted that county-wide controls over risk assessment and monitoring have not been designed,” the report said.

County Clerk Cheryl Trammel explained that the lack of county-wide controls could create more risk and lead to unrecorded transactions, undetected errors or even embezzlement.

“That’s all that could impact the county, and we’re supposed to meet quarterly to discuss [countywide internal controls]”said Trammel.

Based on the findings listed in the report, the OSAI recommended that the county design and implement a system of procedures to identify and manage financial reporting risks.

“OSAI also recommends that the county design and implement monitoring procedures to assess quality of performance over time. These procedures should be written policies and procedures and could be included in the county’s policies and procedures manual, ”the report said.

County officials said they had drafted and implemented an updated manual and would now make sure to hold quarterly meetings.

The lack of internal controls over the county treasurer’s cash collection, distribution and balance processes, Patsy Stafford, showed that no mail journal was kept and there was no indication review of bank deposits for accuracy.

“An employee has the ability to issue receipts, cancel receipts, perform global balancing, prepare deposit, deposit deposit in bank, prepare daily report, prepare monthly report, to prepare the financial statement and perform bank reconciliations, ”the report said.

Stafford’s response to OSAI was that a mail log is not maintained; however, every mail received is time stamped on arrival and is processed to date, unless a problem or question can be resolved.

“During tax season, mail is kept by the received and processed dates in that order. From March 18, 2021, each filing is reviewed, initialed and dated by someone other than the preparer, ”the report says.

Another finding in the report was that reconciliations were not being made between the County Clerk’s Appropriation Ledger and the Treasurer’s Ledger. The OSAI recommended that steps be taken to ensure that reconciliations have been made between funds presented to the County Clerk’s Ledger and the Treasurer’s Ledger on a monthly basis.

The reconciliation documentation must be reviewed and approved by someone other than the preparer.

“We are now making reconciliations between the County Clerk’s Credit Ledger and the County Treasurer’s Ledger, and someone other than the preparer has been reviewing and documenting this review since November 2019,” the report said in the report. county management response.

OSAI’s review of sales tax collections and disbursements noted that the calculations were made by the treasurer, but not approved by anyone other than the preparer.

“Sales tax revenues that are split between the sales tax fund and the government building authority fund are mixed with other sources of revenue. In addition, this other GBA fund income is considered trust and agency funds and is not county funds, ”the report states.

According to Stafford and Trammel, these calculations are now made and distributed by the preparer and treasurer, or an assistant. The documents are presented to the secretariat of the County Commissioners Council for review, approval and date.

Regarding investments, the OSAI said there was no policy approved by the Commissioners to authorize Stafford to make investments for the 2019 fiscal year. The OSAI recommended that Stafford prepare and present to the statutory auditors an annual investment resolution for their approval at the start of each new financial year. reporting period.

“Cherokee County has an investment policy. However, it has not been presented to the County Commissioners Council for approval for the 2019 fiscal year. It will certainly be presented for approval every year in the future, ”said the county’s response to the report.

The OSAI found that the county had not designed and implemented internal controls for financial statement presentation. The OSAI determined that the preparer of the return did not provide specific figures.

Stafford said the return was prepared by the senior accounting clerk and reviewed, initialed and dated by the county treasurer or deputy treasurer.

“We are now using OSAI Form 308 to reconcile all accounts with the county clerk’s office, which will increase the accuracy of the financial statements. All documents affecting the financial statements will be reviewed and documented to increase awareness of any discrepancies, ”the county responded to the state comment.

Stafford said members of his office would seek advice from the OSAI regarding questionable entries and attend classes offered by OSAI, the county government training program of Oklahoma State University on financial statements and related matters.

“We will also communicate with other countries regarding their financial statement preparation procedures. We are diligently trying to present an accurate financial statement for Cherokee County, ”the county told auditors.


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