Some agencies of Columbia County government need to do a better job of tracking finances, according to an audit released last week.
In a letter sent to county officials by Augusta-based accounting firm Cherry, Bekaert and Holland LLP, firm partner Bonnie Cox wrote that some agencies need to "strengthen the internal controls and safeguard the assets of the constitutional offices and the county."
Cherry, Bekaert and Holland was hired to audit the 2009-10 fiscal year financial reports of the Columbia County Sheriff's Office, Probate Court, Magistrate Court, Clerk of Court and Tax Commissioner's Office.
Recommendations include using an electronic ledger system to record transactions; include details on cash transactions, such as who paid, date of payment and for what purpose was money received; the same information for when cash is disbursed; reconcile bank accounts with monthly bank statements and note any differences in a general ledger; and designating a finance professional to regularly review the financial reports of the agencies.
Not implementing those practices increases the risk of errors and fraud, Cox wrote.
County Finance Director Leanne Reece told commissioners last week that she intends to meet with constitutional officers to discuss improving their accounting practices.
Reece also said that she has appointed Lance McGahee, an accountant in her office and a former auditor, to conduct monthly checks of each agency's financial records.
Following the meeting, Reece noted that Cherry, Bekaert and Holland's report did not single out any particular agency and that she is unaware of any missing money from those organizations.
"None of them did anything wrong," she wrote in an e-mail. "We just want to implement more efficient processes to aide in compiling required audit data."
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