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The Audit Connection Blog

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Guide to Unauditable Governments in Washington infographic

May 23, 2019

State laws require local governments to be audited by our Office and for them to submit annual financial reports, yet every year many governments do not meet these obligations. Failure to be audited and provide annual financial reports keeps the public in the dark about how public money is being used, and impairs the decision making of management and elected officials.

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A drainage ditch along an agricultural field

Auditor’s Office issues fraud report regarding troubled King County drainage district, calls for public engagement in government accountability

May 22, 2019

Today the Office of the Washington State Auditor released a pair of reports regarding King County Drainage District 5: a fraud investigation and a new type of report identifying the district as “unauditable.”
The Office also published an online guide to more than 35 other small local governments that have failed to file any public financial information for years, rendering them unauditable.

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Financial graphs and charts report with pen on desk of business advisor. financial and accounting report concepts.

Avoid these common errors while preparing this year’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report

May 14, 2019

The State Auditor’s Office (SAO) performs almost 200 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) reviews each year. Local governments may also submit their CAFR to the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) for a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting. As part of their CAFR reviews, SAO and GFOA identified several common errors that could affect your government’s ability to obtain this certificate. 

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Close-up Of Businessperson Hands Checking Invoice With Magnifying Glass At Desk

McCarthy says Wapato audits show need for accountability in the city

May 2, 2019

YAKIMA – The Office of the Washington State Auditor published two audits of the City of Wapato today, documenting significant violations of government standards. The accountability and financial audits include eight findings, an unusually high number and cause for concern. The State Auditor’s Office (SAO) also issued a letter to Wapato leadership responding to concerns that the public raised about the city. The reports come after SAO issued a fraud report in February detailing a $300,000 misappropriation in Wapato.
“These audits speak to a basic lack of accountability and transparency in the city,” said State Auditor Pat McCarthy. “It is important the State Auditor’s Office shine a light on issues that need public attention, and the situation in Wapato is deeply concerning.”

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Male hand with compass

NEW GAAP BARS guidance: Contingencies and litigations

March 21, 2019

The 2019 Budgeting, Accounting and Reporting System (BARS) update for entities that report using generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) has a new section on accounting for “contingencies and litigations,” and we encourage you to check it out. It includes a comprehensive chart that will help financial statement preparers more quickly assess potential accounting and disclosure requirements. It also includes guidance on how to handle expected insurance recoveries related to a contingent liability.

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Cover of PRA & Records Management Technology Guide

Introducing the PRA & Records Management Technology Guide

March 19, 2019

Managing public records has become an increasingly complex task for Washington government agencies. The Municipal Research and Services Center (MRSC) has partnered with the SAO Center for Government Innovation (formerly known as the Performance Center) to give local governments information and resources for managing electronic public records. The PRA & Records Management Technology Guide (Guide) will help you understand the opportunities and challenges of preparing for, selecting, and using records management technology. Here are some of the highlights!

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Updated City and County Revenue Guides from the Municipal Research and Services Center.

New city and county revenue guides published

February 25, 2019

For many years, city and county officials have relied on the Municipal Research and Services Center’s (MRSC) Revenue Guides to better understand their various – and often confusing! – revenue options. And now, in partnership with the State Auditor’s Office (Center for Government Innovation (formerly known as the Performance Center), we’re excited to announce that we’ve completely re-written and re-published the two documents! Here are some of the highlights.

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A whole new way to envision the same old data: The Financial Intelligence Tool is now available

February 20, 2019

Today, the Office of the Washington State Auditor has struck a blow for the democratization of governmental financial data to Washingtonians; the newly redesigned Financial Intelligence Tool is now available. Our Office collects the annual financial reports of all governments in the state of Washington; we have now made this data accessible and simple to understand.

But FIT is more than a bunch of data—we designed this to be an educational experience, a place to inspire civic engagement and elevate the discourse on government operations. A previously difficult to understand and inaccessible world is now available; all it takes is a click to get started.

Government leaders have a responsibility to the public they serve to provide their information in new and interesting ways; FIT fills this need.

This tool is only the beginning of the conversation, not the end. We welcome your emails with questions, comments, observations and input; we are listening.