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.

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.