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The Audit Connection Blog

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How is federal money spent in Washington? Explore the 2017 SWSA summary plus data visualization

July 3, 2018

In 2017, Washington state spent more than $17.5 billion in federal money. Each year, the State of Washington Single Audit (SWSA) examines whether state agencies complied with federal requirements for those funds. As a whole, the state does meet those requirements. Today, we published our summary of the longer, more comprehensive report, together with an interactive data visualization available on our website. Please check it out, and let us know what you think in the comments.

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Whatcom Transportation Authority receives State Auditor’s Office Stewardship Award

June 29, 2018

The Office of the Washington State Auditor is pleased to recognize Whatcom Transportation Authority as an outstanding example of commitment to safeguarding public resources. Authority management has consistently demonstrated dedication to proactive risk evaluation and resolution, compliance with applicable requirements, transparency and an attitude that invites our Office’s guidance, especially during the audit process.

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Congratulations on your State Auditor’s Office Stewardship Award Bellingham School District No. 501

June 21, 2018

State Auditor Pat McCarthy was pleased to recognize Bellingham School District on June 20, 2018 as an outstanding example of commitment to safeguarding public resources. District leadership has consistently demonstrated dedication to risk evaluation and resolution, compliance with applicable requirements and transparency, especially during the audit process.

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New resource identifies best practices for small and attractive assets

May 29, 2018

Recently, the Performance Center provided several resources on accounting for capital assets to help local governments with financial reporting. Another group of assets, which fall below a government’s capitalization threshold, should also be considered when establishing and evaluating asset policies and other internal controls. In Washington, we frequently refer to these as “small and attractive assets,” but they these could be described using different terminology. For example, the Government Finance Officers Association refers to them as “controlled capital-type items” in its best practice guidance.

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County road levy diversion: A new focus for fiscal year 2017 county audits

May 16, 2018

Counties use property tax levies to collect funds for county roads. State law
(RCW 36.33.220) allows counties to divert a portion of these funds to the current expense fund. This must be done through a Board resolution, and the funds can be used for any service to be provided in the unincorporated area of the county. However, to be eligible for Rural Arterial Program funding (see below), counties must use the diverted revenues only for purposes of traffic law enforcement and must complete a certification attesting to this fact. It is important to note that this requirement is only applicable to counties with a population greater than 8,000.

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Come try our new, improved Local Government Financial Reporting System

April 26, 2018

As a part of our continuing commitment to making information about local government operations around the state more transparent and accessible, we have updated the look and feel of our Local Government Financial Reporting System, or LGFRS. Our Office has long provided unaudited financial data filed by local governments on our website via LGFRS. This same tool has a new look and is now even easier to use and understand.

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Keeping your private data safe: cybersecurity for government

April 24, 2018

Principal Performance Auditor Erin Laska was featured last week on TVW, highlighting the continued need for cyber security protection of the sensitive public data the state stewards. At the Office of the Washington State Auditor, we take safeguarding the public’s data from those who would seek to exploit it seriously. That’s why we regularly evaluate both state (see our most recent performance audit here) and local government cybersecurity controls for weakness, as well as make practical recommendations to help governments in Washington solve their cybersecurity challenges.

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When should I use enterprise funds?

April 20, 2018

Are you reporting your activities in the correct fund type? Local governments should analyze the services they are providing and determine if the fund types used are appropriate.

An enterprise fund is a fund that may be used to report any activity for which a fee is charged to external users for goods or services.  

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A first-ever comprehensive look at how Alternative Learning Experience programs work in Washington

April 11, 2018

In 2013, the Legislature asked us to review ALE programs by auditing their finances and measuring student outcomes. Since then, we’ve audited the compliance of every ALE program in the state with more than 10 full-time students. We’ve visited ALE programs in person, interviewed educators and surveyed students and parents. The reports released today meet the intent of the Legislature’s request.

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