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The Audit Connection Blog

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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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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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