Organization commended for proper procedures, segregation of duties
The Somerset-Pulaski Economic Development Authority (SPEDA) has received yet another clean audit report and praise from auditors for implementing and practicing proper financial procedures.
Madgel Miller, a partner with the London office of Cloyd & Associates PSC, presented the audit report for the 2022-23 fiscal year to board members Tuesday at their monthly meeting. The report gives a clean, unqualified opinion, meaning auditors did not find any problems or issues with SPEDA’s financial statements or processes.
In fact, Miller said she wishes most organizations she works with that have a small staff would take the measures SPEDA has to create segregation of duties and provide transparency.
“This organization is very small,” Miller said. “Two employees make it very tough to have proper segregation of duties and those types of things. And I’m very impressed when we’re auditing with the way in which you overcome those restrictions that you have.”
She commended SPEDA President and CEO Chris Girdler and Chief Financial Officer Jessica Carlton for how they work with the auditors each year to give them the information they need.
“I’ll just have to commend them because they are so transparent with each other and with us, and so much of what they do helps us because the transparency they give us, and that we know they’ve given you, helps us to have trust in the numbers and in the records and how they’re presented to us,” Miller said.
Girdler reminded board members that the annual audit is not required by law, rather, it is an independent review the board has elected to perform each year since the organization’s inception because members understand the need for transparency and fiscal responsibility. Every audit report since 2019 has been clean, and each one has been undertaken after bidding out the project.
SPEDA board chair Seth Atwell, a partner with Evans, Harville, Atwell CPAs in Somerset, told fellow board members that because of his professional experience completing audits for other organizations, he has first-hand knowledge of how unique it is to have a small organization with unqualified opinions.
“It does sound kind of strange when you say you’re getting an unqualified opinion,” Atwell said. “But that’s what you want. You don’t want them to have to qualify their opinion to say that your financial statements are good except for this, this or this. So this … is a testament to the leadership that the board has taken and what we’ve charged you all with putting in place the procedures and processes to maintain that.”
In closing, Miller also commended the board for having the foresight to include a certified public accountant as a board member, to help educate the team about proper financial oversight and segregation of duties, which ultimately prevents errors.
“It’s not always about fraud. It’s about not finding your mistake,” Miller said. “You know, we are all capable of a mistake and it’s hard to find your own. So you create these safeguards and these steps and these layers so that if there is a mistake or fraud, that someone would be there to catch that before it became out of hand and so that’s why we take our opinion seriously because we’re saying that we feel like you’ve got good internal control. And that’s a very, very, very important statement to a CPA.”