Jul 21, 2016
The City and County of Denver received an unmodified or “clean” opinion from its independent auditor, BKD, for 2015. Denver’s Charter requires an annual independent external audit of the City’s finances, with separate reports for Denver International Airport, the Wastewater Management fund and the Deferred Compensation Plan Trust Fund.
These audits verify that the City and County of Denver (CCD) has accurately and fairly presented information in its financial statements. “The overall financial condition of Denver is excellent,” observed Auditor Timothy M. O’Brien, CPA, who is chairman of the City’s Audit Committee which supervises the annual external audit. Denver has submitted its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) to the Government Finance Officers’ Association for a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting. CCD has received this award every year.
“Denver is a huge operation, so it’s no surprise that everything doesn’t work perfectly all the time,” explained O’Brien. “The purpose of the annual external audit is to identify areas of risk for the City. City Controller Beth Machann and other City officials have instituted a culture of continuous improvement to make sure errors aren’t repeated, and that systems are perfected to prevent inaccurate accounting.”
BKD’s 2015 audit found a material weakness in DIA’s accounting for capital assets. BKD recommended that in projects like the DIA Hotel and Transit Center, involving multiple funding sources and multiple contractors, tracking mechanisms should be developed for financial assurance and financial reporting. BKD also recommended that documentation of significant decisions should be maintained.
Significant deficiencies were found in capital asset accounting and reporting, which was the subject of an audit performed by the Auditor’s Office in March. In the Denver Department of Human Services, limited staffing led to infrequent reviews of the electronic benefit transfer card. It was also recommended that DDHS enforce its policy detailing when and why case comments should be entered by case workers dealing with Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. The Office of Economic Development was encouraged to obtain Federal Housing Authority rates annually to calculate the correct amount of federal housing assistance in affordable housing projects.
“The City agreed with all of BKD’s findings,” said O’Brien. “BKD also alerted us to new accounting requirements that will be effective in future audits, and provided helpful guidance on the past year’s implementation of GASB 68 rules for pension accounting and reporting. BKD’s government experience and familiarity with frequently changing accounting rules are a beneficial combination for the City and County of Denver.”