State audit welcomed by commissioners

Commissioner HaderCounty commissioners hope to set an example by welcoming a performance audit from state auditors. District 1 Commissioner Marc Hader said such audits are a good thing to do in the various departments of county government.

“We decided to do a performance audit on ourselves, that way we can set the example for the rest of the county,” Hader said. “We are going to look at our own house first.”

The performance audit is different than a traditional financial audit.

Canadian County is currently undergoing an audit for fiscal years 2015 and 2016. This financial statement audit occurs every two years and takes a look at the county’s compliance with laws that relate to financial operations.

Hader said he asked a neutral third party, the state auditors, if financial audits were qualitative and showed the best practices for spending. The state auditors suggested a performance audit to better understand and evaluate the county’s use of tax dollars.

“The purpose of that is not to find wrongdoings, but best practices,” Hader said.

The Oklahoma State Performance Audit Services group conducts performance audits in accordance with Government Auditing Standards which describes performance audits as “…an objective and systematic examination of evidence to provide an independent assessment of the performance and management of a program against objective criteria…,” according to the website of the state auditor.

Commissioners approved an engagement letter with State Auditor Gary A. Jones. The audit will be conducted for the time period of July 1, 2013, through June 30, 2016. Objectives in the agreement letter include determining if expenditures were accurately reported, analyzing district maintenance expenditures, evaluating commissioners’ staff, and evaluating commissioners’ current practices for purchasing and leasing capital equipment.

The process will include reviewing policies and procedures, financial records and interviewing various county personnel, and if necessary, external parties. At the conclusion of the investigation, the state auditor’s office will provide a report of its findings. The agreement letter states the auditors expect to receive a written response and planned corrective actions for the finding within 10 business days after the submission of the findings report.

The estimated fee for the service is $43,000. Hader said the performance audit should not cost the county any additional money. The county’s budget for the financial audit is large enough to cover both financial and performance audits.

No time of completion for the report has been determined. The final report will be posted on the state auditor and inspector’s website.

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