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County receives good financial audit report

Board still waiting on compliance audit required by Local Government Commission


The Cumberland County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday night got the first of a two-part external audit report during the board’s regular scheduled meeting.

April Adams, audit partner at Cherry Bekaert — the independent auditor hired by Cumberland County — presented the financial statement audit to the board; however, the compliance audit required by the state of North Carolina’s Local Government Commission was not yet complete.

County Finance Director Vicki Evans said there had been several delays in completing the audit. The initial goal was to submit the audit to the Local Government Commission by close of business on Jan. 13. However, the printed annual comprehensive financial report was not available for commissioners to review.

The financial statement audit includes auditing procedures to determine whether the accounting for and recording of transactions were done according to governmental standards of accounting and the North Carolina Local Government Budget and Fiscal Control Act. The auditors provide an opinion as to whether they believe the county’s financials are fairly stated, according to Evans.

The compliance audit includes single audit testing that must be performed on certain grants awarded or programs funded by the federal and state government. The auditors provide an opinion on compliance over each major federal and state program and say whether material weaknesses or significant deficiencies were identified for each and whether there were questioned costs, Evans said.

Commissioner Michael Boose said he would have liked to see the handout of the presentation sooner since the information was complex. He noted that it required thoughtful reading prior to the board meeting.

Adams said the financial audit saw no issues that needed to be addressed. The financial statement audit looked into the county’s financial relations and transactions with other parties and found no issues there. The report also stated there were:

  • No significant and unusual financial transactions during the year.
  • Financial statement disclosures are “neutral, consistent, and clear.”
  • No inappropriate accounting policies.
  • No auditor interference or threats to auditor independence (in conducting the audit).
  • No issues with dealing with county management while conducting the audit.
  • No disagreements (between county and auditors) while performing the audit, and
  • No fraud, illegal acts, or violations of laws and regulations noted.

Because of the delays in finalizing the comprehensive financial report, Evans asked the board to amend the current contract with Cherry Bekaert through the end of March. Evans said she does not believe getting the comprehensive reports finished should take that long, but wanted to be sure to have enough time.

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Adams said the compliance report for the Local Government Commission could be finished next week or even this Friday. The board voted unanimously to extend the contract until March 31. Adams indicated that her firm, as with many other CPA firms, had staffing problems that caused the delay.

“It’s on us,” she said of the delays.

Adams added that it was in the “best interest” to provide the financial audit report to the board as soon as possible and follow up with the comprehensive report at a later board meeting.

The Local Government Commission oversees more than 1,100 units of local government to ensure they comply with the provisions of North Carolina General Statutes (Chapter 159) on a variety of topics, including annual budgets, internal controls, debt management and pensions.

Local governments, and sub units of local government — such as as school boards and public authorities in North Carolina — are required by state law to have their accounts audited annually and to submit the audit report to the secretary of the Local Government Commission.

Jason Brady covers Cumberland County government for CityView. He can be reached at jbrady@cityviewnc.com.

Cumberland County, Board of Commissioners, audit