Financial Audit Cites Strong
As worldwide financial tumult continues, school districts across New York are reviewing their spending priorities and business office practices in an effort to tighten their financial operations.
At Monday night's Huntington School Board meeting, trustees accepted an excellent independent financial audit from Cullen & Danowski, LLP, certified public accountants based in Port Jefferson Station. The firm conducted an extensive examination and review of the district's financial books, records, checks and balances and internal control procedures, spending about three weeks in the district studying an assortment of documents.
Jill Sanders, CPA, said that Cullen & Danowski, LLP was offering an "unqualified opinion" about the district's finances which is the "highest assurance the board of education and community can get."
Ms. Sanders provided an overview of the auditing process, which covered the district through the end of the last fiscal year, June 30, 2011. During the audit, business office employees were interviewed and the procedures currently in place were documented. Sample transactions were tested for deficiencies and checked to insure purchasing was in line with both board of education policies and the law.
Trustees and Huntington Superintendent James W. Polansky and Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Management Services David H. Grackin all support extremely stringent internal control procedures as well as a culture of honesty and professionalism in the business office and across the district.
The audit showed effective segregation of duties among employees and revealed no discrepancies in the district's books and records. "No significant deficiencies or control weaknesses were found," Ms. Sanders said. "We are very pleased with what we see in the internal controls structure."
The audit process also included spot checks performed to insure employees were getting paid the correct amounts, that sick time was accurately accounted for along with any financial payout tied to it and that no employee was paid after their date of termination or retirement.
Trustee Richard McGrath, himself a CPA who serves on the district's state mandated audit committee, was pleased with the external auditor's findings. He thanked Mr. Grackin and the business office staff for their good work.
The accounting firm's findings were presented in two volumes along with a management letter that included a handful of relatively minor recommendations. Mrs. Sanders said the management letter contains suggestions for improving operations. "Mr. Grackin's office is very proactive in response to the management letter," she said.