There were clapping and a collective sigh of relief after an audit presentation to the Luther Town Board of Trustees on Tuesday night. Significant, because just a year ago, the same auditor gave a far different report with a list of findings for improvement and accountability.
The audit presented this week covered the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2017, and can be read here on the Town’s website. Autumn Williams, CPA, of Russell & Williams CPAs in Oklahoma City, presented the findings. She noted that the “town staff has committed to make the financials cleaner and you can now focus on things that need to get done in the Town.”
There was only one repeat finding in the audit, with the “segregation of duties.” Williams noted that this is an issue with many small towns and schools, a practice to ensure more eyes are on the money and handling the money. She requests a third party or individual be added to day-to-day activities to help strengthen internal controls and said it could be done by the Treasurer or a board member.
The Town’s response to that finding is that “all checks now require two (signatures) for all checks under $,2500 and three signatures for all checks over $2,500. Furthermore, all transfers within accounts must have three signatures. All debit card and/or credit card will require board approval. An outside CPA has been hired to help reconcile matters on a monthly basis so that internal controls can be stronger.”
Williams said, “I can’t preach enough that you as board members should spend five to ten minutes a month looking through the bank statements to ensure things are not slipping through the cracks,” she said.
The audit report noted that many of the issues from last year are now resolved including:
- purchasing lacking proper documentation (resolved).
- cemetery revenues (resolved).
- LEDA account activity not documents (resolved). NOTE: LEDA is suspended
- Budget deadlines (resolved).
- Debt payments (resolved).
- Deposits not made daily (resolved).
- Treasurer not bonded and/or certified with the County (resolved).
Williams said that the Town is scheduled to pay off a long-term $120,000 balance on a USDA loan in 2021. She noted that loan was for infrastructure improvements that are now 30 years old and need to be addressed again. She encouraged the Town to continue honing in on expenses to build cash reserves to move away from the dependence on long-term loans and the unpredictable and subjective nature of government grants.