TRI-CITIES, Wash. -- A state audit revealed several "deficiencies" at Ben Franklin Transit. Here's what the audit found:
- Although the Transit independently reviewed the financial statements prepared for audit, the review was not effective in identifying and preventing errors.
- The Transit did not closely monitor grant expenditures and related revenue accruals to ensure they were properly recorded in the general ledger and the Schedule of Expenditures of Federal Awards (SEFA).
- The Transit lacked procedures to ensure the general ledger balances are accurate and complete. During our audit, we found the general ledger contained outdated or incomplete information.
- The review of the Transit’s journal entries was not effective in ensuring all the entries were accurate and complete
Ben Franklin Transit (BFT) thanks the Washington State Auditor’s Office for their cooperation and expertise in our recent audit. BFT recognizes the fact that there were deficiencies during the 2011 audit period and financial statement preparation.
There were several factors that contributed to the cause of the financial statement audit finding. Inadequate staff levels, an increased accounting work load due to capital construction/expansion and a lack of current detailed month-end, quarterly and year-end close out procedures for both accounting processes and grant reconciliation, reporting and draw downs. Low staffing levels also prohibited the regular review of the general ledger.
As of the June 8, 2012 the former Administrative Services Manager retired. BFT has hired a new Administrative Services Manager on May 8, 2012 that brings 15 years of transit experience to BFT. Her knowledge of Generally Accepted Accounting Procedures, GASB accounting standards, GFOA recommended best practices, federal grants management and administration, internal controls, and other transit technical knowledge and professionalism have helped identify and correct the concerns listed in the State Auditor’s finding. Moreover, with the addition of a Fiscal Support Specialist, BFT is now at an adequate staffing level to perform necessary and required functions.
Additionally, BFT has reorganized the accounting department to allow for a General Ledger Analyst to perform reviews of the general ledger accounts and provide oversight assistance in the accounting department on a transactional and month-end basis allowing managerial staff to review system configurations, internal controls and processes and procedures to ensure the accuracy of future financial statements and general ledger balances.
Ben Franklin Transit looks forward to next year’s audit as an opportunity to continue to show the progress that staff has made in the area of internal controls over accounting and financial statement preparation and reporting. We appreciate and welcome a continued and productive relationship with the State Auditor’s Office.