Pensions and other postemployment benefits (OPEB) update

The GAAP and cash basis BARS manuals have been updated, and the 2017 pension worksheet, notes and RSI templates are now available on our website at www.sao.wa.gov. The 2017 DRS Participating Employer Financial Information (PEFI) report is available at www.drs.wa.gov. Now that you have the information and tools you need to begin calculating your 2017 pension numbers, this is a great time to get started. As in the past, our Office will provide one-on-one assistance to local governments with their calculations. Please contact Debra.Burleson@sao.wa.gov or our online HelpDesk for assistance.

The BARS Manual also includes our new Other Postemployment Benefits (OPEB) web page. This includes a list of frequently asked questions we’ve received about Other Postemployment Benefits and implementing the new standard, GASB Statement No. 75, Accounting and Financial Reporting for Postemployment Benefits Other Than Pensions, effective for fiscal years ending in 2018. These questions and answers are shown below. Continue reading

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.