Bank sweeps detect fraud

A “bank sweep” is a process where you check with financial institutions to make sure no bank accounts exist for your organization that you aren’t aware of.

Work with your local bank and ask for a list of all accounts open under your organization’s name and/or  tax identification number. Also, consider contacting other financial institutions to determine if there are any unexpected accounts open.

If you find accounts that you are not aware of, contact the Washington State Auditor’s Office  immediately.

If you would like an example of the type of fraud that could be detected by a bank sweep, check out the movie All the Queen’s Horses. It tells the story of how an employee of a small town stole $53 million without anyone noticing. You can find the movie website and trailer at: https://www.allthequeenshorsesfilm.com/

Bank sweeps detect fraud

Bank sign above entranceA “bank sweep” is a process where you check with financial institutions to make sure no bank accounts exist for your organization that you aren’t aware of.

Work with your local bank and ask for a list of all accounts open under your organization’s name and/or  tax identification number. Also, consider contacting other financial institutions to determine if there are any unexpected accounts open.

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Lease accounting changes are coming soon

Close-up of a hand filling out lease agreement formIn June 2017, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) issued Statement No. 87, a new accounting and reporting standard regarding leases. Under the prior approach, governments applied a somewhat subjective test to determine if a lease should be classified as “operating” or “capital.” Under the new approach, GASB assumes all leases (with a few stated exceptions) are just leases, eliminating “operating” leases. The primary goal of the new standard is to increase comparability across governments and provide financial statement users with better, more complete information by establishing a single model for lease accounting. The new standard will take effect for reporting periods beginning after December 15, 2019, and apply retroactively as if the standard was in place at the beginning of the implementation period. Early implementation is encouraged. To review the standard, see GASB Statement No. 87. Continue reading

Tax receivable: Are you reporting it correctly?

A pile of money and the word tax written on tiles.Are you reporting property, sales and other taxes in the correct period? Our Office recently found that some local governments were reporting these taxes when the cash was received, causing errors on the financial statements. Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) Statement 33 – Accounting and Financial Reporting for Nonexchange Transactions provides guidance on reporting these revenue streams in the correct period.

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Employer reporting requirements for other post-employment benefits (OPEB) have taken effect

Social Man Drawing Social Security BenefitsGovernmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) Statement 75, Accounting and Reporting for OPEB is effective for the Reporting Year 2018 (this year!). OPEB, or post-employment benefits other than pension, includes benefits such as healthcare provided through a pension plan or separately (medical, dental, vision, hearing, etc.) and other benefits when provided separately from a pension plan, such as: life insurance, long-term care, disability, and more. Continue reading

Keep an eye out for workshops to help meet annual report filing deadline

Man and woman working together at a computer.Spring will be here before you know it, and so will the annual report deadline for local governments whose fiscal year ends December 31, 2018. For those governments, annual reports are due May 30, 2019. State law does not provide for any exceptions, so we recommend starting the filing process early, and we are available to help.

Once again our Office will be conducting free filing workshops to help with the reporting process. Participants will be able to register for a one-hour time slot for individualized assistance. We will provide one-on-one assistance in person at several locations around the state or remotely through video call (Skype). We will provide computers for the in-person workshops, so if you bring the materials needed to file your report, you might be able to complete and file your report during the one-hour appointment.

Stay tuned for more details and registration!