Saturday, May 18, 2013
Covering Dallas, Monmouth, Independence, Falls City and surrounding areas since 1868
January 30, 2013
DALLAS -- The city of Dallas' 2011-12 financial audit was deemed "clean," but the city's auditor still offered recommendations to improve fiscal management and prevent misuse of funds.
Kamala Austin, a partner with the city's auditor Merina & Company, presented the audit findings at the Jan. 22 Dallas City Council meeting.
She said while conducting the audit, her firm looked into the city's financial controls -- processes used to assure accounting is accurate and expenditures appropriate.
"During the course of our audit, we did note some areas for improvement," Austin said.
She outlined five policy and procedural recommendations for the city to consider:
* Creating a formal employee training program in ethical behavior and appropriate business practices.
* Adopting a fraud policy.
* Adopting a policy for authorized approvals for credit card and other expense reimbursement requests.
* Making sure all employees who travel in their personal cars on city business provide proof of insurance.
* Using credit card payment forms that provide detail explaining the purchases so they can be reviewed for appropriateness.
When asked why the recommendations weren't brought to the city during previous audits, Austin said they were based on the areas of financial management the audit focused on for 2011-12. Auditors are required by state law to check certain areas for compliance each year, such as the city's budget, programs paid for with outside resources, and public contracts and purchasing. Other financial transactions, controls and policies are spot checked by the audit team.
"We don't look into everything all in one year," she said. "I'm not going to look into every transaction in every cycle. ... There were certain areas that we went in and looked at and these were the recommendations we got from looking at that area."
Austin said during the 2012-13 audit, she will check to see if the recommendations have been adopted.
In December, the city adopted the fraud policy, which outlined the process city employees, volunteers and contractors are to use when reporting suspected fraud. Austin said her firm recommended the policy to all its clients.
Cecilia Ward, the city's finance director, said the city already updated its credit card payment forms and is in the process of implementing the other recommendations, some of which require policy changes.