Opelousas improves financial accounting and compliance in recent audit

Financial accounting and compliance with state law are becoming less of an issue for the city of Opelousas, according to an auditor who submitted an annual financial report to the board of aldermen.

Casey Ardoin, who represented the auditing firm Kolder, Slaven & Company, told city officials on Tuesday that the internal financial adjustments instituted by the current administration over the past three years are significantly reducing the number of non-compliance issues. compliance reviewed by the State Legislative Auditor’s Office. .

“In 2019 there were 23 (compliance) findings in our audit, 12 in 2020, while (in 2021) there are four or five,” said Ardoin, who carried out the city audit. for the fiscal year ending August 31.

Ardoin further commended the city, which he said successfully implemented accounting policies that facilitated the compilation of the 2020-21 audit report.

Last year: Annual audit criticizes city’s accounting practices and police department spending

“This year, when we met with the mayor, accountants and members of the city council, all the documents were ready for review,” Ardoin said. “Everything necessary to perform the audit was provided. I think it shows the progress the city has made.

The city also recorded a $1.4 million surplus at the end of 2021 and took action to reduce a former 3,500 workers’ compensation and insurance fund by $1.5 million. $7 million, Ardoin said.

Chief Financial Officer Stephen Woods told council he provides them with a monthly financial report as part of a team approach to managing the city’s money.

Internal Control Issues 2021

The audit report presented and approved by the board contains issues that include purchasing procedures, employee timekeeping system, insufficient deposit account balance and unsecured deposits.

A city policy that requires that all purchase orders of $300 or more have not always been fulfilled, according to the audit.

The audit said city workers last year used both an electronic timekeeping system and manual timesheets to determine the number of hours they performed city work.

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A corrective action plan contained in the audit indicates that the city will implement policies and procedures that reconcile manual timesheets with electronic timesheets to ensure employees are paid for their time worked. real.

The audit also recommended that the city maintain an adequate cash balance in the deposit account. This audit issue is still unresolved, according to the audit report.

Another audit complaint said the city had an unsecured deposit of $301,707 at an unidentified financial institution on August 31, 2021.

The deposit that caused the city’s total deposits to exceed the total guaranteed amount was made on August 31, the end of the budget year, the audit said.

Mayor Julius Alsandor said the city will continue to review its policies.

“We will do a better job,” Alsandor said.

Auditor’s comments

Ardoin said it was difficult for city governments to achieve 100% compliance with purchasing policies.

“Sometimes things have to be bought at the last minute, and it can be difficult to get a purchase order,” Ardoin told the board.

The timing issue cited in the audit isn’t what Ardoin considers a serious problem, but he said manual timesheets should probably be used more as a backup system.

A cash balance procedure, Ardoin said, is needed to help the city pay the bills.

“My suggestion is that you get that account fully funded again,” Ardoin said.

The safety of large deposits made on the last day of the fiscal year in 2021 was a matter of bad timing, Ardoin said.

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