|Written by Mark Lineberger|
|Wednesday, 25 March 2009 11:49|
There are still a few problems with how the Town of Camp Verde runs its Finance Department, but an effort to overhaul that department over the past year has made dramatic improvements, according to a recent auditor’s report.
When Town Manager Mike Scannell came on board in late 2007, he found the department in disrepair. There was a lack of internal controls over the town’s money; in several cases only one person had access to the town’s bank accounts. In other cases, the amount of money the town actually had on hand wasn’t recorded properly.
“This year, [the audit] is not exciting,” Lisa Lumbard with Lumbard and Associates, the firm which conducted this year’s audit, said.
The audit only covers the town’s financial status through June 30, 2008, the end of fiscal year 2008. Despite past problems, Lumbard said that Camp Verde’s audit actually “looked pretty good compared to other towns.”
Lisa Elliott, an accountant with the Finance Department, told Town Council last week that efforts to improve how the town deals with money have continued right up to the present. Elliott discussed specific measures taken to correct problems found by the audit.
One major potential liability was the large number of credit cards held by the town. At one point, the town had 78 credit cards, with 12 institutions, with lines of credit as high as $15,000.
The town has since canceled 57 of those cards, Elliott said, leaving only a few for essential purchases. The Finance Department is also looking at the possibility of using special cards that only allow certain types of transactions to negate the potential for abuse, Elliott said.
The audit also raised concerns over the fact that while the town accountant serves as a backup for the accounts payable clerk, there is no backup for the accountant.
Elliott said the town has since hired an additional part- time accountant who works at the Camp Verde Marshal’s Office, and that the new person is being cross-trained for other responsibilities in the Finance Department.
There were also some problems with how far behind some of the financial paperwork was accumulating. Elliott said that understaffing in the department makes keeping up with everything difficult, and a third-party CPA firm has been contracted to help out.
The firm also provides another set of eyes to improve the segregation of duties that were a problem in the past.
There were additional concerns in the audit over financial reporting; Elliott said that many problems will be solved when the town updates its antiquated financial software.
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