Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Audit finds nearly $12M error in Louisiana agency’s fiscal report

by BIZ Magazine

By Victor Skinner | The Center Square contributor

The Louisiana Coastal Protection Restoration Authority understated unrecorded payables by nearly $12 million in the agency’s annual fiscal report, according to the Louisiana Legislative Auditor.

LLA Mike Waguespack published an audit report on LCPR’s finances and accountability over public funds on Monday that revealed inaccuracies in its 2022 annual fiscal report, though auditors found the agency is addressing prior-year findings.

“Audit procedures identified errors in the Accrued (Unrecorded) Payables note disclosure in CPRA’s AFR, resulting in a net understatement of $11,934,205,” the report read.

CPRA understated the unrecorded payables by about $15.3 million because officials excluded some invoices that had delivery dates prior to June 30, 2022 but payments in fiscal year 2023.

“Two of the four highest-dollar expenditure transactions from the period subsequent to year-end were inaccurately reported by CPRA as unrecorded payables, resulting in an overstatement of $3,402,637,” auditors wrote.

“CPRA did not adequately review its AFR before submitting it to (the Office of Statewide Reporting and Accounting Policy),” the report read. “Internal controls over financial reporting should include adequate procedures to record, process, and compile financial data needed to prepare an accurate and complete AFR.”

CPRA corrected the understatement after confronted by auditors, who recommended management implement procedures to ensure an adequate review of the AFR.

The LLA also reviewed CPRA’s internal control over financial reporting and evidence in support of capital outlay escrow fund nonpayroll expenditures and payables and amounts due to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and found no other issues.

Auditors confirmed CPRA has addressed a prior year finding related to noncompliance with certain subrecipient monitoring requirements, as well.

“CPRA management has actively pursued clarification with the federal government on this issue, which is currently under consideration by the U.S. Department of the Interior,” auditors wrote. “As of February 28, 2023, the federal government has not provided clarification.”

CPRA Executive Director Lawrence Haase responded to the audit in a letter to Waguespack on Jan. 6 that concurred with the finding involving the inaccurate AFR, and explained what the agency is doing about it.

CPRA updated and documented written procedures for running the year-end report, as well as internal processes that require an accountant and supervisor to review outstanding invoices multiple times per year.

“Reducing the number of invoices that must be researched at year end will reduce the chance of errors occurring during the close-out processes for determining invoices that need to be included on the Accrued Accounts Payable note,” Haase wrote.

CPRA also added a more detailed second level review of financial reports used in the AFR to “provide more internal control to ensure the most accurate information is reported and that technical errors are avoided,” the letter read.

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