Monday, January 12, 2015

Annual audit gives Knox County high marks, despite 2014 school problems

Auditor Larry Elmore
Knox County's external auditor dinged the county on a number of financial matters – almost all of them tied to well-publicized school problems that officials say they are in the process of fixing.

Overall, however, the county financial statements taken as an entire organization, which includes its general government, the school system, and the fee offices, have once again received a clean bill of health.

Auditors with Knoxville-based Pugh & Company on Monday presented a preliminary copy of the county's Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, or CAFR, to the county's Audit Committee.

The report covered fiscal year 2014, which ended last June 30, when the overall county budget stood at $734.5 million.

"They have a great accounting and finance staff at the county and they do a great job," said Larry Elmore, vice president of Pugh & Co.

He added: "We have never once gotten the feeling that people didn't want to cooperate or answer questions. We've always gotten the impression that everyone in the county wants to improve what they're doing. That's what we found up and down countywide government."

During Monday's meeting, officials said they discovered three significant deficiencies and one material weaknesses in the county's financial statements.

Auditors said they found problems with the school system's use of credit cards; how the school system accounts for some facility upgrades; and a lease agreement the school system entered into to get computers.

In addition, auditors took issue with a bank account set up by the Knox County Criminal Court Clerk's Office.

Significant deficiencies typically keep management or employees from preventing, detecting or correcting misstatements in a timely manner. They are less severe than a material weakness, but important enough to merit the attention of those in charge, according to auditors.

A material weakness is often a combination of deficiencies such that there is a reasonable possibility that a misstatement won't be prevented.

For the rest of the story and a snapshot of the findings, click RIGHT SMACK HERE.

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