RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A major state agency has been having problems accounting for the money it takes in because its staffers didn’t know how to properly figure out how to create correct financial statements. That’s the conclusion of the state auditor after her office examined the way the Department of Public Instruction kept track of its funds.
This was the second time the auditor’s office found problems with the Department of Public Instruction’s accounting procedures.
In this year’s audit, it once again found DPI had inadequate financial controls resulting in undetected errors.
Lawmakers want DPI and five other major state agencies to provide it with annual financial statements so it can, among other things, figure out what the agency needs when it comes to budget time.
But when it came to the DPI’s financials, the auditor says DPI’s they were lacking.
“They can’t prepare their financial statements in accordance with standards,” said State Auditor Beth Wood.
Wood says there are accounting templates available to show DPI financial people how to report their numbers, but the staff failed to do that over the last two 2 years.
Consumer Investigator Steve Sbraccia wanted to know if the problem was the result of having inadequate staff to fill positions.
“I would say it doesn’t matter,” said Wood. “The standards require when you turn over financial statements to us, they have to be prepared in accordance with standards.”
Wood stresses no money was missing, but rather transactions were recorded improperly.
“When you have financial statements where the numbers are wrong, the appropriate decisions cannot be made,” she said.
Wood says if her office hasn’t caught the errors, they might have affected the state’s bond rating if those improper figures made it as far as Wall Street.
“Rest assured, what is out there now is accurate,” Wood said. “However, my findings show staff at DPI could not do that on their own without our finding the errors.”
In its written response to the audit, the Department of Public Instruction said, “We agree with the finding.” It also said it’s recruiting “high level managers and accountants to fill current vacancies,” and is making “organizational changes.”
Wood says she believes all the problems will be corrected by the next time her office audits DPI.