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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Steuben County Soil and Water Conservation District – Internal Controls Over Cash Receipts and Disbursements (2013M-97)


Released: August 2, 2013 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to review the accounting records and internal controls of the District for the period January 1, 2012, to February 26, 2013.

Background

The Steuben County Soil and Water Conservation District is one of 58 such Districts in New York State. These Districts provide services and fund projects to improve and maintain wildlife habitat, help control and prevent water pollution from non-point sources, and manage erosion control and other related land-use issues. The District is governed by a five-member Board of Directors appointed by the Steuben County Legislature. District expenditures totaled $1,339,215 for the 2012 fiscal year.

Key Findings

  • The Board has not adopted policies and procedures for cash receipts and disbursements to ensure that cash is properly safeguarded. As a result, although press-numbered receipts are issued, the bookkeeper does not sufficiently detail deposit slips to identify each deposit’s composition or record cash receipt numbers in the accounting records. In addition, 116 receipts totaling $47,443 were not deposited on a timely basis, 14 disbursements totaling $23,943 never appeared on a warrant for Board approval, and 151 disbursements totaling $532,322 cleared the bank prior to the Board’s audit and approval for payment.
  • There was a lack of segregation between those who use the credit cards and those who oversee compliance with the District’s credit card policy, and we identified questionable credit card purchases totaling $5,446 including gift cards totaling $150.

Key Recommendations

  • Adopt a comprehensive cash receipts and disbursements policy and procedures. Prepare detailed deposit slips, and record all receipt information in the accounting records so that a proper reconciliation of cash collected, recorded and deposited can be performed. Conduct a thorough and deliberate audit of claims before they are paid, ensuring that each claim has sufficient supporting documentation and represents a valid District expenditure, especially credit card purchases.
  • Assess the need for credit cards. If credit card use is continued, adopt a comprehensive credit card policy and review and update the policy annually.

Local Government and School Accountability Contact Information:

Phone: (518) 474-4037; Email: localgov@osc.state.ny.us
Address: Office of the State Comptroller, Division of Local Government and School Accountability
110 State Street, 12th Floor; Albany, NY 12236