City finance director says this year’s audit will be better

The clock is ticking on Marco Island’s annual financial audit for fiscal year 2011 that ended Sept. 30.

On Tuesday, the city’s Audit Advisory Committee quizzed Finance Director Patricia Bliss and city accountant Donna Senica on their readiness for the upcoming audit. It will be conducted by Mayer Hoffman McCann, P.C., an independent auditing firm.

“We’re looking forward to a fantastic audit,” Bliss told the committee. This year’s audit will be the third by Mayer Hoffman McCann, P.C., hired by the city on a three-year contract.

Bliss said she was a little frustrated with shortfalls cited in fiscal 2010’s audit analysis. Mayer Hoffman McCann, P.C. asked for a draft of the city’s final closing statement; and then, commented in its management letter that the city had too many closing adjustments.

Audit committee Chairman Tom Kirstein suggested the solution was a hard close with a final balance sheet that would not be altered.

Senica outlined steps already taken to do just that. They included reconciling cash balances, receivables, payables and purchase orders on a daily basis; tracking grant money monthly; and carrying forward purchase orders that had not been acted upon.

Bliss explained year-end fund balances were divided into five categories: non spendable, restricted, committed (by city council), assigned (by city council) and unassigned. Assigned funds included such items as building services and FEMA emergency money. Unassigned funds included emergency reserves.

Enterprise activities such as water and sewer were not part of government funds and maintained their own balance sheets, Bliss said.

Every two years, the city is required to complete an inventory assessment as part of its audit. Bliss said city assets were reconciled in September and that audit was complete.

While reviewing closing documents, Kirstein, praised the city for its good cash position. Bliss agreed, but pointed out that some grants received in August and September were deposited but would not be used until fiscal 2012.

The finance director praised Senica for her work improving accounting processes that would hopefully impress this year’s auditors.

“We did not have the closing procedure in place last year that we have now with Donna,” she said.

Bliss reported the city has completed all reports requested by the auditing firm. Auditors plan to visit Marco Island for an interim review from Nov. 14 to 18. At 8 a.m. Nov. 17, audit committee members will meet with auditors and city staff.

“We’ll clarify then if any other reports are needed,” Bliss said.

Audit committee members discussed replacing the city’s 10-year-old financial software, but decided to hold discussion until a new auditor contract can be signed for fiscal 2012 and following.

The audit committee will be responsible for the search to identify a future auditing firm and will make recommendations to city council by May.

Final auditing is due to be completed between Feb. 20 and March 2. Audit committee members and staff will meet with auditors at 8 a.m. March 1, to review their findings.

The audit committee also scheduled its next meeting for 8 a.m. Jan. 2, in City Hall’s first floor conference room. Public comment is invited.

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Comments » 1

happy6 writes:

hey bliss...don't forget to report the $$$$$$$$ we spent on the city mgrs debacle with the speed limits...had to cost several thousands....

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