Earlier this week, State Auditor Pat McCarthy recognized the King County Water District No. 125 for their commitment to making government work better and promoting a culture of accountability with a State Auditor’s Office Stewardship Award. Continue reading
The Office of the Washington State Auditor is a national leader in developing and applying tools to assess and display information about local governments’ financial condition. That’s why the Pew Charitable Trust has invited the Office of the Washington State Auditor to speak at its State and Local Fiscal Health Workshop on February 27 in Boston, Massachusetts.
The workshop will bring together state officials from across the country to help staff at the Massachusetts Division of Local Services as they work to improve the state’s municipal fiscal data dashboard and to allow officials from all the states to exchange ideas.
Washington’s Financial Intelligence Tool (FIT), a unique local fiscal health tool and dashboard, is of particular interest to the participants as they seek to improve their own fiscal data visualizations. Designed to help local governments understand information about their financial health, FIT received the 2016 National State Auditors’ Association (NSAA) Award for Excellence in Accountability. Since then, local governments across Washington have used FIT to gain insight into their financial condition and make sound fiscal decisions based on that data.
State Auditor Pat McCarthy recognized Skamania County’s dedication to making government work better and its commitment to the audit process today with a State Auditor’s Office Stewardship Award. Specifically, the County Auditor’s Office, Treasurer’s Office and Office of Financial Management have worked together to improve County processes and strengthen internal controls over the past several years. Continue reading
The Performance Center recently released a new resource to help school districts using the F196 reporting model improve their accounting and financial reporting.
The “Checklist for Reviewing Financial Statement Reporting” addresses processes needed for the year-end review of financial statements, notes and supplemental schedules. Continue reading
Many local governments use a third-party receipting vendor to provide electronic payment options to their constituents. Best practice – and state law (RCW 39.58.080) – require local governments to have all funds directly deposited into their Public Deposit Protection Commission (PDPC)-approved bank account. Continue reading
School districts have asked the State Auditor’s Office for advance notice of what areas upcoming audits will emphasize. The following list identifies areas auditors might focus on to help districts prepare for audits examining fiscal year 2017. These areas are general in nature, and as always the specific areas audited will be determined by a risk-based analysis. Local audit teams also are available all year to answer technical questions and point to additional guidance on specific audit areas. Continue reading
The Local Government Performance Center has been renamed The Performance Center. Local governments can expect the same excellent training, technical assistance and resources that SAO has long provided to help improve performance and effectiveness. The Performance Center hosts Lean Academies, creates financial tools and shares online resources to help governments improve the value of their services to residents. For questions or inquiries into how The Performance Center can help, call (360) 725-5621 or email email@example.com.
Local governments have the ability to specify a name brand during their procurement process. In these situations, the government should thoroughly document why only this specific manufacturer’s equipment is necessary to meet their operational needs, as well as why another manufacturer’s equipment could not substitute. This documentation should be maintained and periodically evaluated to ensure that the specific brand is still required.
For the procurement process, the local government should draft specifications of what they intend to purchase, and what specific brand is required. Based on the estimated cost of the purchase, the government would then follow applicable procurement processes.
It is important to note here that specifying a name brand during the procurement process is not the same as declaring a purchase sole source. Continue reading
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
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