Whatever you think about Guilford County government assuming billions of dollars of debt to pay for school construction and many other huge projects, the just released results of the audit of the 2022-2023 fiscal year budget found that the county is reporting its finances accurately and following the rules and laws regarding the way it handles and reports on that money.
“You guys had a great audit,” a representative of the accounting firm Cherry Bekaert stated at the Guilford County Board of Commissioners meeting on Thursday, Dec. 7.
She said that, while the firm doesn’t examine every program and every transaction of the county, it selects certain items to scrutinized based on a formula that’s meant to expose problems.
According to the firm’s findings, Guilford County is operating smoothly and transparently when it comes to handling money and reporting its finances.
“We noted no transactions entered into by the County during the year for which there is a lack of authoritative guidance or consensus,” the written report states.
The audit defines “significant unusual transactions” as transactions that are “outside the normal course of business for the County or that otherwise appear to be unusual due to their timing, size, or nature,” and added that Cherry Bekaert found “no significant unusual transactions.”
Guilford County usually has a relatively “clean” audit – a good one, that is – though, in past years, auditors have sometimes found multiple instances of county employees not being in compliance with record keeping rules or not completely confirming that someone qualified for government assistance.
This year the auditors found none of the following:
• Transactions that were previously undisclosed to Cherry Bekaert
• Transactions that have not been approved in accordance with Guilford County’s policies or procedures
• Significant transactions that appeared to lack a business purpose
• Noncompliance with applicable laws or regulations prohibiting or restricting specific types of related party transactions.
The audit also reported that Guilford County staff worked well and openly with the auditors and never refused to provide records requested during the four-month process.
It also, interestingly, found that the firm had no “difficulties in identifying the party that ultimately controls the County.”
Presumably the auditors are referring to Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Skip Alston who currently has absolute say on what the county does or doesn’t do.