Wednesday, March 19, 2008
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Difficult 2005 County Audit Near History

Thorny Audit Haunts Treasurer's Office

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[March 19, 2008]  While the issues are seemingly resolved, and now nearly history, difficulties that led to the delay of the county's 2005 audit are being replayed. Another local news entity had an article about a week ago questioning decisions and actions related to that audit.

An editorial followed on Saturday that prompted Logan County Treasurer Mary Ellen Bruns to chronicle the matter as a letter to the editor. Bruns graciously has submitted that information to Lincoln Daily News as well, so that our readers might also see the flow of issues her office and auditors had to contend with during the process and the final outcome.

She details the major problems that began with new software and were compounded by incompatibility issues with the auditor's software.

Many of the details were documented in LDN as the process took place. It was a long, complicated process to get the 2005 audit completed. It took the help of the current auditors to complete it, and continued changes in that software to move into the next year.

Auditors are contracted on a three-year basis. The 2005 audit was the third year with the auditor Crowe Chizek.

The county hired Integrity Data to survey county offices for their software needs and recommend new software. The 2005 audit was the first year accounting was completed with Great Plains software. The software was supported by Tectura.

Logan County was the first government to fully implement the Great Plains software. A few other governments were using select modules. In other words, it had limited use as government software.

A new auditor was chosen for the next three-year contract, beginning with the 2006 audit.

Once the 2005 audit was completed, auditors from Clifton Gunderson continued to work with the now recognized accounting issues related to the use of the Great Plains software for the 2006 audit.

Last fall, as the time to renew software support contracts and the purchase of software updates was approaching, Bruns requested that the county abandon the Great Plains software and go to a more commonly used government accounting software. She had researched what other Illinois governments were using and requested Kintera FundWare. It offered a better system and overall would reduce costs. It is the same software as the city of Lincoln uses.

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Since the changeover to new software this year, the monthly reports to the finance committee have been positive.

Clifton Gunderson's auditors were put to a disadvantage for time, as prior year audits must be completed before the following audits. They were not only delayed in starting their contracted work, but assisted greatly in completing the 2005 audit and have made headway at bringing the audits back on track for timely completion by the start of the next audit. Since they stepped in, there have been glowing remarks from the treasurer's office, and any other county office that has had contact with them, relayed during monthly reports to the county finance committee.

Below are links to some key articles that document the struggle to complete the 2005 audit. There were other articles as well that may contain some other details. You can find them by searching the LDN archives through the Google box at the top of the front page.


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