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.

Risky business: New resources help assess challenges in reporting process

The processes for compiling and presenting financial and federal program reports contain many areas of risk, such as reorganization or personnel changes, and new or revised guidance and rules.

To help governments deal with the many possible challenges, our Office has issued two new risk assessment worksheets, one relating to financial reporting and the other to federal programs. Both are available in the Audit Resources section of our website: portal.sao.wa.gov/PerformanceCenter/  Continue reading

Mosquito Control Districts: Classifying and assessing properties in proportion to the benefit received

Wetlands 2In May 2016, local governments reached out to the State Auditor’s Office with concerns that mosquito control districts were not following state law regarding annual assessments for district operations.

RCW 17.28.255 requires a mosquito control district to annually classify the properties within its boundaries in proportion to the benefits derived from the district’s operations. Then, the district must apportion and assess those properties; the assessments are to be collected with the general taxes of the county or counties covered by the district boundaries. Continue reading

Preparing for audit: Tips for success

audit checklistWashington’s state and local governments regularly undergo a wide variety of audits with differing objectives. These audits assure you and the public that financial data is accurate and public resources are properly safeguarded, that the government complies with various regulations and its programs are run effectively. The audit process is an irreplaceable tool to help ensure your agency’s financial and operational affairs are in order. But facing an audit – especially your first – may seem daunting. If you know what types of audits to expect, you can devise strategies to prepare for each, and likely achieve better results as well.

While state law (RCW 43.09) requires the State Auditor’s Office to audit all public funds, your government may also be audited by others, such as granting agencies or the Department of Revenue. A good first step on the road to easier audits is to prepare a list of all known and likely audits. Review your government’s past audit reports and ask colleagues if they know of audit requirements for their departments and programs. Most state or federal auditing offices can tell you if they have any planned or mandated audits for your government approaching, and will share their expected timeline so you can begin to prepare.

To learn more, read our top 10 tips on how to prepare for an upcoming audit.