When it comes to audits of $600 million budgets, no news is good news – and that’s exactly what Guilford County government officials got in the results of the audit of the Guilford County 2017-2018 fiscal year.
The results were presented recently to the Guilford County Board of Commissioners by April Adams, an accountant with the firm of Cherry Bekaert LLP who helped review the county’s finances. Cherry Bekaert has audited Guilford County’s books for over a decade. The firm, as it does every year at this time, issued opinions on various aspects of the county’s financial reporting and the county’s adherence to required financial practices. Those opinions were very positive.
“They were all unmodified, which is also known as a clean opinion,” Adams said. “That is the highest level of assurance that we can give you that your financial statements are free from material misstatement, as well as in compliance with the necessary laws we operate under.”
Adams said the audit examined the county’s bookkeeping and finances in several ways, including reviews of journal entries and controls over cash accounts – and by checking to see that financial records are properly backed up.
The audit shows that the county currently has a healthy savings account. Guilford County’s “unassigned fund balance” – as that account is known – did decrease by $4.5 million in the last fiscal year that ended June 30, 2018, however, it remains at $83 million, or 14.3 percent of the county’s budget.
State of North Carolina finance officials suggest local governments keep at least 8 percent of the total budget set aside for liquidity, emergencies and unforeseen events. So Guilford County is at nearly double the suggested minimum.
The audit points out that the county maintained its AAA, Aaa, and AAA ratings respectively from Standard & Poor’s Corp., Moody’s and Fitche Ratings for general obligation bond debt.
According to the audit, Guilford County now owns $202 million worth of land and buildings. That’s down about $3 million since 2016-2017 after the county sold off some property.