BARS Manual receives regular update for 2018

It’s that time of year again! The updated 2018 version of the Budgeting, Accounting and Reporting System (BARS) Manual will be available on our website in the third week of December. While users may notice several changes in this update, the most significant revision to the 2018 BARS Manual centers on reporting schedules for cities and counties, and specifically Schedule 07 – Cash Disbursements, and Schedule 11 – Cash Activity. A new schedule, Schedule 06 – Summary of Bank Reconciliation, makes an appearance in the 2018 cash-basis manual to accommodate those changes to Schedules 07 and 11. Continue reading

Auditor McCarthy discusses her first year in Office: interview with Austin Jenkins

2017-12-08 Pat at TVW smile.jpgState Auditor Pat McCarthy sat down with TVW’s Austin Jenkins in Olympia this week to talk about her first year in Office. Since taking Office in early 2017 as the 11th State Auditor and first elected woman Auditor, McCarthy has emphasized the importance of the Office’s role in creating government transparency. “The Office is the public’s window into government,” McCarthy told Jenkins. Watch the full interview for more information on a variety of topics, including increasing accountability audits and cybersecurity efforts.

Local governments turn to Office of the Washington State Auditor for cybersecurity help

cybersecurity_200880859Did you know that the State Auditor offers free, in-depth evaluations of local government’s cybersecurity systems? In an article published today, the Pew Charitable Trust details the cutting-edge role the Washington State Auditor has in ensuring the IT system security of local governments around the state. This service helps protect local governments and their residents’ sensitive data from increasingly sophisticated hacking attempts. Want to learn more about how the Office of the Washington State Auditor is a leader in cyber security work? Check out the City of Mill Creek’s IT security performance audit here.

Change Management, Lesson Two

JennineGriffo

By Jennine Griffo, Continuous Improvement Coordinator with the State Auditor’s Office

 

Have you ever attending a training at work only to find you are expected to adopt the new technique next week? Chances are this has happened to you — how did it go? Were you and your co-workers motivated for a while, then less so as the new way slowly faded into memory and the status quo returned? Or maybe you and your co-workers skeptically eyed one another during the training, afterward marching in line to toss your materials in the circular file. Either way, the spectacular results the training promised were dulled by the daily weight of office drudgery.

Contrast this with the enthusiasm and excitement we feel when purchasing the newest iPhone or other tech gadget—the thrill of a new car or a bigger, better TV with which to watch the newest season of that hot new show. In our personal lives, we change all the time, and what’s more, we often crave and relish that change. What’s the difference between the way change feels at work and at home? In our personal lives, marketers understand what motivates us and spend their time trying to sell us those nice new products. At work … not so much. Continue reading

Inside the Auditor’s request for funding for additional accountability audits

The Office of the Washington State Auditor has asked the Legislature for $700,000 to pay for more accountability audits of state agencies, one of Auditor Pat McCarthy’s initiatives to increase transparency and accountability in government. You can read the full request here.

State agencies routinely are subject to audits of all kinds, including regular reviews of their financial statements. This Office issues more than 2,000 audits a year of all kinds of governments, from the smallest school districts to the largest ports to state agencies. Continue reading

Pre-proposal statement of inquiry: rule making

Law book with wooden judges gavel on table in a courtroom or lawThe State Auditor’s Office filed with the Code Reviser’s Office the notice to begin the rule making process to amend WAC 48-13 Access to Public Records.  The purpose of this chapter is to implement the requirements of the Public Records Act including the process the agency uses for disclosing records. This update will modernize the rule to reflect current law, technology, and processes. Interested parties can participate in the decision to adopt the new rule and formulation of the proposed rule before publication by contacting Cindy Evans at (360) 725-5585 or cindy.evans@sao.wa.gov.  The filed CR-101 form can be found here.

 

State Auditor’s Office leads national IT auditing conference

IMG_7596.jpgAs state and local governments increasingly depend on information technology (IT) systems to serve the public, the need to audit the controls in and around these systems increases. To help mitigate risk and to provide best-practice guidance to both state and local governments, the State Auditor’s Office performs IT audits. Because governments collect sensitive and confidential information from the public, it is critical to have good controls to protect that information. Continue reading

Don’t overlook changes to fiduciary activity reporting

After observing that governments were reporting fiduciary activities inconsistently, in January 2017 the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) released Statement No. 84, Fiduciary Activities. The statement clarifies what constitutes fiduciary activity and how to report it. While the standard provides important guidance, the State Auditor’s Office is concerned that lack of practical examples may lead government agencies to overlook or misunderstand the new requirements. For some governments, the audit implications of incorrect implementation may be significant. Continue reading

Financial management policies and resources

Overwhelmed Student  Or BusinessmanImplementing effective internal financial policies can be challenging for local governments of any size, which is why the Performance Center teamed up with the Municipal Research and Services Center (MRSC) to simplify the process. This new online database for financial management policies includes best practices, real-world comparative tools and more—all designed with local government needs in mind.

The tools available on MRSC’s website are meant to be responsive to the complex internal financial considerations of any local government—from the largest cities to the smallest mosquito districts. Using these tools, local governments will be able to get a handle on their financial resources and implement policies that provide value to the community, protection to their employees, and reduce financial risk. You can access the database here.

If after going through all these resources, you still need help or have questions, our Performance Center team is here for you. You can reach us at (360) 725-5621​ or performance@sao.wa.gov.