Thursday, February 6, 2014

College district marks decade of spotless independent audits

It’s a record that short-track speedster Apolo Ohno would envy.

OK, so it isn’t the Sochi Olympics. But a decade run of spotless audits has Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District officials ready for a victory cartwheel, the signature move of alpine skier Tina Maze.

The five separate audits presented last week to the Governing Board cover the district’s general audit; its part-time employees’ pension plan; the Foundation for Grossmont and Cuyamaca Colleges, the district’s auxiliary, and Proposition R, the construction bond fund approved by East County voters in 2002.

 The district’s stretch of what’s known in the accounting lexicon as unmodified, or flawless, audits is quite an accomplishment, said Chancellor Cindy Miles.

“With the banking debacles of recent years changing auditing standards and requirements, auditors are that much more detailed and thorough in their reviews,” Miles said. “So to be able to retain a spotless record is a testament to the district’s fiscal acuity.”

The audit reports also drew high praise from trustees, who said they show the district’s commitment to transparency and superb stewardship of public dollars.

Governing Board President Bill Garrett said that in the case of the Prop. R bond fund, the financial and performance affirm the public’s confidence in passing the $207 million measure in 2002.

“The audits confirm we are keeping our commitment to the public,” Garrett said. “The Prop. R dollars were spent exactly as promised in the ballot language."

The district’s general audit by the firm of Christy White Accountancy Corporation shows no findings of non-compliance with laws and regulations, no questioned costs for the last fiscal year, and no management recommendations. It confirms that the college district is fiscally sound and also, gives a clean bill of health to its financial reporting practices.

“The audit provides an opinion that the district’s statements  included in the audit report conform to generally accepted accounting principles and present fairly the financial position of the district,” the auditing report states.

Miles said the district takes pride in its string of unblemished audits, which reflect meticulous attention to financial management in areas such as financial aid, cashiering, budget and accounting, purchasing, contracts and payroll.

“Over the years, with the state budget crisis and ensuing funding cuts, there was tremendous volatility in our finances, but as these audits show, our bookkeeping and tracking systems remained intact and our policies and procedures remain above board,” Miles said.

“The consecutive years of underfunding wreaked havoc, but as these audits show, we manage by making sure that every dollar coming out of our coffers is a dollar wisely spent.”

The annual audits by certified public accountants are required by the state education code. For 10 years running, auditors have submitted reports with no findings of non-compliance or questioned costs on the part of the district.