Caroga to use annual audits

CAROGA – Town Board members attended a budget workshop Wednesday following an audit by the state comptroller’s officer in December, which cited them for not filing it’s annual audit two years in a row.

Budget Officer Lita Hillier led the workshop by giving the board suggestions on auditing their finances.

The comptroller’s office audited the town’s financial records from January 2014 through April and issued a report in November listing several areas the town could improve its record-keeping practices. The report showed the town did not file an annual audit for 2013 and 2014. The board wrote a letter in response to the comptroller.

“It is unanimously agreed by this board that it will take steps to ensure proper accounting records by doing so an annual inspection of the supervisor and bookkeeper,” the board stated in its letter to the comptroller.

The comptroller’s audit had several recommendations for the town’s supervisor including:

The supervisor should review the town bookeeper’s work to ensure all financial activity is accurately and completely accounted for.

Provide detailed monthly reports to the board that explain the town’s account balances and expenditures.

Hillier said the easiest way to audit would be picking three random months and having a workshop at a board meeting. The random months the board chooses to audit could include the town clerk, tax collector or code enforcement officer.

“It’s a very simple, simple process,” Hillier said

The board would verify that all receipts match the bank statements and check numbers look like they are in order according to the check register. Lastly, they would make sure the financial records agree with the check register and receipts.

Supervisor Robert Sullivan asked how long a work session should be scheduled for an audit.

“If you are randomly picking out three months per each person that you have to audit, I would say half an hour to an hour at tops,” Hillier said.

She also provided the board with auditing checklists distributed by the state comptrollers website. The checklist has a list of questions to ask when completing an audit.

Hillier advised department heads to attend these workshop meetings in case of any questions regarding how or why they did something. An audit only needs to be conducted annually.

“If you are doing it once a year and seeing that everything is in order you can tell that something is off or isn’t right. It just gets everything done and over with at once,” Hillier said.

“[Hillier] has been very gracious with sharing her process. We will set that up sometime in the near future,” Sullivan said.

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