Audit focus for schools in fiscal year 2016

Pupil writing on the board at elementary school maths classSchool districts have asked the State Auditor’s Office to let them know in advance the areas they can expect auditors to emphasize in upcoming audits. This list will help your district prepare for audits examining FY 2016. If you have questions, your local audit team is available year round: they can answer technical questions and point you to additional guidance on specific areas of audit.  Continue reading

Filing workshops scheduled across Washington

The State Auditor’s Office is excited to bring back the popular annual report filing workshops. These workshops are designed to help local governments file their annual financial reports, and to meet the statutory requirement of submitting the report within 150 days of the close of their fiscal year.

New this year, participants can select a one-hour time slot for individualized assistance from a Local Government Support Specialist.  Laptops will be provided. If you bring the materials you need to file your report, you may be able to complete and file during your appointment.

If you are interested, sign up for a one-hour time slot online at the training EventBrite website. These workshops are offered at no cost to local government participants. If you have questions, please contact Heidi Walter at 360-725-5621. For more information and updates, visit our website.

GASB reporting model re-examination project

GASB_microphone_124632551.jpgThe Government Accounting Standards Board issued an invitation to comment on January 4 about potential changes to reporting of government funds, which GASB Chair Dave Vaudt recently described in a short video. The Board is seeking input on these ideas from local governments and other users during the preliminary stage of its project to re-evaluate the financial statement reporting model. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) for all state and local governments nationwide is set by GASB in accordance with an open, due process.

The State Auditor’s Office encourages local governments to follow the Board’s activities and provide input on potential accounting standards they will eventually need to follow.

(Stock photo)

School district alert for phishing email attack

During the week of January 9, 2017, malicious hackers conducted phishing attacks from multiple school district employees’ email accounts.

What happened? 

Hackers gained unauthorized access to work-related email accounts belonging to employees of multiple school districts, presumably by having the login name and password of the email account.

The hackers used the employees’ email accounts to send phishing emails to people with whom the employee had previous email contact. The message included instructions to click on a link to open a website. The website directs the email recipient to enter account credentials (email address / user name / password / phone number).

The hackers are also monitoring the victims’ email accounts and are responding to replies from recipients of the phishing email confirming the original request to click on the website link. In some cases, the hackers used the employees’ email signature to make the message appear more authentic. Continue reading

CAFR Summary

We issued our state CAFR summary report December 27, 2016.

Each year, our Office audits the state of Washington’s financial statements and reports the results in the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR). This is a very long, complex document that contains vital information about our state’s financial condition. The CAFR summary boils this down to about 10 pages to make it easier to read and understand. The CAFR summary can be found on our website.Professional Financial Service

Department of Retirement Systems contracts with CPA firm for GASB 68 audits

For the past three years we have worked with the Department of Retirement Systems (DRS) to perform the GASB 68 census data audits at state and local government employers. We have enjoyed working with all of our state and local government partners to complete this important work for our state.

DRS recently contracted with Clifton, Larson, Allen, LLP (CLA) to perform this work going forward. This CPA firm has contracted with DRS for many years, including auditing the DRS CAFR.  DRS informed the State Auditor’s Office that they were happy  both with our work and the relationship we have developed–the decision to contract with CLA simply provides them with administrative efficiency by having one point of contact for all of the work performed.

DRS is currently working with CLA to determine which entities will be audited during the upcoming year. They are also working on communication that will go out to all state and local government employers. You can expect a similar timeline as in the past, with work beginning in January or February each year and wrapping up by August 31st. DRS will inform employers who have been selected for audit in January 2017, and CLA will contact you to schedule the engagement. If you have any questions you can contact employer support services at employersupport@drs.wa.gov

For further resources, please visit the DRS website.

Performance audit findings on boards that conduct hearings on medical mistakes

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Doctors sometimes make mistakes, and those mistakes can have life-or-death consequences for patients. Washington, like every other state, uses boards to license and regulate doctors and other healthcare providers, and can impose discipline on providers.

The Washington State Auditor’s Office recently released a performance audit that looked at two of these boards. The Medical Quality Assurance Commission (MQAC) is one of the largest, regulating 31,000 medical doctors and physician assistants. The Board of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery (BOMS) is one of the smallest, regulating about 1,800 osteopathic doctors and physician assistants, but was included because medical and osteopathic doctors often do the same work in the same settings. Continue reading

The State Auditor’s Office is partnering up to simplify your annual reporting requirements

wa_highway_emptyThe State Auditor’s Office and the Department of Transportation (WSDOT) have been working together supported by the County Road Administration Board and the Washington State Association of Counties to eliminate duplicate reporting. Currently, counties and cities in Washington State are required to submit an annual street report to WSDOT in June. The data reported in this street report is duplicative of revenues, expenditures and debt information reported to the State Auditor’s Office in the annual financial report submission due at the end of May. Many counties and cities have requested to only submit this information once; we are working to make that happen. Continue reading

Performance audit highlights ways governments can reduce printing costs

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Large-scale printing

Information can be transmitted, shared and read electronically around the world almost instantaneously. However, even as information has become increasingly digital, printed materials still play an important role in business and government operations. The Washington State Auditor’s Office published an audit October 31, 2016, that focused on the state’s printing services. The audit followed up on a 2011 audit that made recommendations to reduce the state’s printing costs. While the audit focused on the state’s centralized printing services provider, Printing & Imaging (P&I) within the Department of Enterprise Services (DES), its findings and recommendations may also be helpful to many other governments as they try to minimize spending. Continue reading