Franklinton association puts audit recommendations in place

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 19, 2014

Findings reported during the Franklinton Association for Challenged Citizens’ annual audit were due to unusual circumstances this fiscal year and have been addressed, according to Executive Director Debbie Brock.

The independent audit report on the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2013, was recently posted to the Louisiana Legislative auditor’s website.

The audit, completed by certified public account Brandy Westcott, LLC, reports several findings of material weakness in the areas of lack of controls over cash, management override of controls and lack of proper board oversight.

The auditor reports that the association experienced issues such as making disbursements from a savings account using cashier’s checks that only required one signature and situations where misprinted checks that had not been issued were not properly voided or secured.

The report details the risks that material weaknesses in internal controls potentially expose the association to and lists recommendations such as designing internal controls requiring dual signatures.

Brock said all the recommendations made by the auditor have been approved and put into place.

She also discussed the “highly unusual break in accounting services” seen during that fiscal year, due to the rapid decline in the health status of the association’s accountant.

The accountant got sick around November 2012 and was unable to perform any of her accounting duties by January 2013 due to her terminal illness.

The association then began the process of selecting a new CPA firm. Brock said it took a couple of months to hire a reputable and qualified CPA firm capable of handling the association’s intense workload.

The FACC, commonly known as the Activity Center, has approximately 100 employees, serves about 120 parish citizens with disabilities and has an annual budget of approximately $1.75 million. Brock said about 92 percent of that goes out in salaries.

Once the relationship with the new CPA firm was established, that agency was able to pick up the FACC’s current activity as well as prior association records, Brock said.

Brock said the new firm reviewed all records dating to the beginning of the fiscal year, July 2012, to ensure all state mandates were completed accurately. Additionally, the legislative auditor, Westcott, worked with the CPA firm to ensure all recommendations were met and were being followed.

It has always been the mission of the FACC to successfully follow all financial and licensing regulations, Brock said.

Since the inception of the agency in 1968, no findings or weaknesses had been reported prior to this year. Brock said those years of clean audits are because of the stringent internal controls developed by the association’s board of directors and accounting firm.

Brock said the association has three steps in ensuring its fiscal responsibilities are met: contracting with a local CPA firm, the completion of annual compilation report by an external CPA firm and an external legislative audit done annually.