Once a year, three members of the accounting firm KPM, CPAs visit central office to complete fieldwork for our annual school audit.
Missouri Statute 165.121 establishes the requirement for school districts to “cause an audit examination to be made at least biennially of all financial, transportation and attendance records of the district.”
Although the statutes allows for an audit to be done every two years, for Seneca, and all districts of which I am aware, the audit is done annually. This article will explain a bit about the “why” we have an audit and how it helps monitor the accounting of our $14M budget.
The Missouri School Accounting Manual defines audit as “the examination of records and documents and the securing of other evidence for one or more of the following purposes: (a) determining the propriety of proposed or completed transactions, (b) ascertaining whether all transactions have been recorded and (c) determining whether transactions are accurately recorded on the accounts and in the statements.”
During the few days the auditor is on campus, they read board minutes, examine invoices, review payroll documents, analyze bus mileage, verify attendance calculations, evaluate our use of federal program money and several other tasks.
These procedures are done so that the firm can offer their opinion in regards to the following: the financial statements (of the district) present fairly the results of operations during the period audited, the report was prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles applicable to school districts, the district’s budgetary and disbursement procedures conformance to requirements of chapter 67 (Missouri statutes), whether attendance and transportation records are so maintained by the district to disclose accurately average daily attendance and average daily transportation of pupils, as well as other matters.
The results of the audit are usually delivered sometime prior to December 31; the deadline to submit results to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. A summary is given to the school board and submitted for publication in a local newspaper.
The full audit copy is also given to the school board members and is available for anyone to view via electronic copy.
In order to prepare for the audit, the central office staff spends a good deal of time pulling documents that support our transactions and justify our records. Employing a veteran staff makes this process much smoother.
In addition, having solid record-keeping procedures in place makes it easier to supply randomly chosen records that auditors ask for while on site.
Last week our auditors finished the majority of their fieldwork. We expect this year to be another “clean” audit report. Audits are not flashy or exciting, but the annual combing through our work and records should give the community some comfort in knowing that we are using best practices and safeguarding the funds entrusted to us.
We appreciate the support given to us as we attempt to manage the financial end of the school business in a manner that allows us to give students and staff a first-class experience.
Hope to see you tomorrow night as the Indians try to go to 5-0!
(Dr. Jim Cummins is superintendent of the Seneca R-7 School District. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)