GILLETTE, Wyo. — An audit an independent agency completed on Campbell County identified four issues for fiscal year 2022.
Bennett, Weber & Hermstad’s report found that the Weed and Pest District and Conservation District, as was the case in 2021, do not have sufficient internal accounting control. Management is unable to correct errors. Like in 2021, Weed and Pest District personnel did not adjust the property tax allowance and grant deferred revenue accounts to the correct year-end balances.
Since the districts do not have enough staff and budget constraints will likely continue to keep the size of the organization small, the auditors recommended finding other ways to keep an eye on the transactions.
As in 2021, they recommended the directors and governing boards do the following:
- Review and approve each purchase order, invoice and warrant
- Review and approve budget variance reports monthly
- Reconcile and review bank statements and canceled checks monthly
- Review and approve compliance reports and reports to taxing authorities
The governing boards should directly oversee and get involved in the districts’ accounting work daily.
According to the report, Campbell County staff said the transactions involving the Weed and Pest District were due to a lack of communication between the entity and contracted accounting service providers.
“Care will be taken to ensure that all information is properly recorded to agree with underlying records at year end, and that supporting documentation will be reviewed and agreed to the general ledger before presenting information for audit,” a memo included in the report said.
A third problem was that county personnel did not properly adjust multiple account balances to actual at year-end, the report said. A thorough review process would have identified the problems.
County accounting staff made errors regarding the 2% lodging tax payable, the allowance for doubtful accounts, the deferred property and production account, an amount due from a local nonprofit, deferred grant revenue and accrued wage liability accounts.
The auditor recommended accounting personnel ensure all county information is properly recorded to correspond to underlying records at year-end and the general ledger before an audit.
In the memo, the county’s response was that the problems stemmed from a failure and breakdown of internal controls because the people who compile information for the county audit left staff. Since then, the county has hired a grants management specialist for the commissioners office; an account manager, financial specialist and accounting specialist for the clerk’s office; and an accounting manager for the treasurer’s office. The county also elected a new county clerk and deputy county clerk.
“Training has begun for these key positions to ensure all information is properly recorded to agree with underlying records at year end, and that supporting documentation will be reviewed and agreed to the general ledger before presenting information for audit,” the memo said.
The auditor also found that county personnel did not include all leases for consideration of recording under Governmental Accounting Standards Board No. 87 at year-end. At the time of the audit, the county did not have a designated person who maintains a lease inventory or a depository where department heads are each supposed to file long-term agreements. The auditor suggested several types of agreements that likely involve leases that the county did not provide for consideration and recommended the county enable and require all department heads to send all long-term agreements. That staff member would maintain the county’s lease documents.
The county has since made the County Clerk’s office’s financial specialist position responsible for maintaining the lease population, the memo said. It has also acquired a contract module with financial software to be the lease agreement depository.
According to the auditor, the audit is not designed to judge the effectiveness of internal control over compliance. The report simply describes the scope of the auditor’s testing of internal control over compliance and provides the results.
Reports dating back to fiscal year 2007 are here.
County Clerk Cindy Lovelace said at the Sept. 5 county directors’ meeting that her office wants to work toward preparing monthly for the annual audit to help keep the budget accurate and avoid budget line item transfers at the end of the year. That work involves meeting with departments individually. The department is exploring getting a new software program that will track budgets year-over-year.
Commissioner Del Shelstad said that should be part of the budget message for 2024.
“If you get to move money from one account to the next, then you really didn’t budget either one of them correctly,” he said.
Commissioner Jim Ford said preparing more regularly is kind of like how people prepare weekly or twice monthly to file income taxes to avoid scrambling at the end of the year.
The county now needs to meet a Dec. 31 deadline for its fiscal year 2023 audit.
“Bottom line is, systems are now in place for collaboration between the Commissioners’ Office, the clerk and the treasurer,” Campbell County Office of Commissioners Administrative Director Denton Knapp said at 7:20 p.m. Sept. 18. “The new Tyler [Technologies] program provides a means for mutual access to documents needed for the audit for daily review.”
Tyler Technologies is a Plano, Texas–based public sector software company that the county put into full use in July 2022, Knapp said. Before then, the company and the county had fielding and training. With a major personnel changeover, new people received training this year.
County commissioners will meet at 9 a.m. Sept. 19 for their next meeting. Here’s the amended agenda, which county staff released at 6:56 p.m. Sept. 18:
County agendas are here.