Draft audit draws questions

By Staff
Clif Knight, Hartselle Enquirer
The accounting firm of Wear Howell Strickland Quinn and Law reported no findings in its draft audit of Hartselle School System’s financial records for fiscal year 2006-07.
Anthony Law, a CPA with the firm, reviewed the results of the audit with Superintendent Dr. Mike Reed and members of the school board at a regular meeting Monday night.
Law said the auditing team made some suggestions for changes in record keeping procedures and he noted all of the proposals have been implemented.
At the conclusion of the review, School Board Chairman Dr. Andy Dukes invited questions or comments from the audience.
That drew questions from City Councilman Bill Smelser, who wanted to know if a state audit would shed more light on school finances.
Law said the draft audit he presented is an opinion on the school’s systems financial statements whereas, a state audit examines records to determine if a government entity is in compliance with state law.
Law’s firm has conducted the school board audit for 31 consecutive years. Smelser said he thought the board should use another firm.
“In your (Law’s) opinion, is it a good idea for a school system to rotate its auditors every three or four years like the city is doing?” he asked.
School board member Jeff Gray asked if Smelser was making an allegation and Smelser replied, “no.”
Law said there were “more than five but less than 10” accounting firms in North Alabama that routinely audit municipal school systems. All the firms are subject to a peer review by another CPA firm every three years, Law said.
“Has any issue ever been made about you firm’s audit of the city school system,” Gray asked.
Mayor Dwight Tankersley questioned why it has taken so long for the school system’s audit to be completed.
Law said all statements have to be corrected to Gadsby 34 standards.
Dukes said the board takes the management of school funds seriously.
“We encourage discussion like this,” Dukes said. “We’re not trying to hide anything; we’re focused on doing everything in accordance with the law. Down the line, we may elect to put the audit out for bids.”

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