Opinion: Mitigating controls impact smaller audits, says former Canton resident
Wednesday, November 8, 2017 - 7:25 am

To the Editor:

I currently live in Boston but as a former Canton Golden Bear, with current ties to the community, I have been following the race for town supervisor. I continue to hear and read about the “best practice” controls and the negative conversations around nepotism.

As a CPA with over 15 years’ experience, mainly focused in the audit practice for a global public accounting firm, I take issue with this. I understand that best practice controls are ideal, and in the business world are generally expected of the larger public companies with the financial means and adequate recruiting pool and staffing.

However, when auditing smaller companies (like small municipalities) where the appropriate segregation of duties controls are sometimes not possible, given the size of the staff/positions or budget, we would rely on mitigating controls that would detect any control deficiencies or weaknesses. I have inquired and found that there are various fiscal controls in place for the town, including but not limited to the following:

Checking accounts are balanced monthly by the bookkeeper, and are audited monthly by board members and checked against the supervisors report provided at all public meetings.

The councilman have access to all bank statements which provide copies of every check written in the Supervisors office on those accounts. They are presented it each board meeting as a part of the auditing process and are approved along with the bills at the public board meeting.

Invoices are prepared by the town clerk’s office, abstracts are prepared in the supervisors office, they are approved and audited by board members in public session at every monthly board meeting, and are paid and posted by the town clerk’s office.

The budget is prepared by the Supervisor and is presented annually at the budget hearing meeting to which the public is invited.

Salaries are presented in this budget and are open for inspection by the public.

Paychecks are duly signed.

Audit done by the board members annually on every department in the Town of Canton that handles public funds, including the supervisors office.

Given all the controls listed above I believe that the towns residence should take comfort in the fact that there are adequate mitigating controls in place around the use of the public’s funds.

John McLean

Former Canton resident