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The Audit Connection Blog

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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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Know what to look for to prevent cash receipting fraud

April 2, 2018

While cash transactions might be less frequent than those involving credit or debit cards, or have individual low dollar values, over time small daily losses can add up. According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners’ (ACFE) 2016 Report to the Nations, the average median loss when cash was misappropriated ranged from $25,000 to $90,000.

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Local governments remain vulnerable to cyber attack: repost from the New York Times

March 29, 2018

As local governments in Washington and across the United States deal with increasingly sophisticated attacks aimed at bringing down vital government services residents depend on, the need for careful controls and cyber security measures grows ever more crucial. At the Office of the Washington State Auditor, one of the resources we provide local governments with is helping them increase their cyber security in anticipation of just such events as outlined in the New York Times below. Are you interested in learning more about how we can help? Click here to read cyber security resources.

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Annual reports deadline draws near

March 26, 2018

May is approaching quickly, and so is the annual report deadline for governments whose fiscal year ends December 31, 2017. These governments’ annual reports are due on
May 30, 2018. State law does not provide for any exceptions, so we are available to help you meet the deadline.

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Useful lives of capital assets: An important estimate

March 22, 2018

With the condition of infrastructure serving as a point of national discussion, useful life estimates for capital assets make for a timely accounting topic. Governments must maintain support for the useful life estimates they use for assets, and have a process to reassess the estimates periodically.

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