Guilford County government has used the same auditor for over two decades.
However, the Board of Commissioners’ Audit Committee has called a meeting for Tuesday, March 15, to discuss whether that arrangement should change or remain the same.
Guilford County commissioners and staff have had a very good relationship with Cherry Bekaert LLP for a long time, however, there’s an argument to be made that local governments should change auditors from time to time so that the relationship between county staff and the external auditor doesn’t get too cozy, and also so that a fresh set of eyes see the county’s financial books at least once in a while.
The Audit Committee, which includes several county commissioners and key county staff, will hold the meeting at 12:30 p.m. in the Blue Room on the first floor of the Old Guilford County Court House in downtown Greensboro.
The stated purpose of the committee meeting is “to discuss the external auditor selection process.”
Late last year, Cherry Bekaert provided the final audit of the county’s fiscal 2020-2021 numbers. There were no major issues found with the way Guilford County keeps its books, however, the county did have to apologize to the NC Local Government Commission for turning in some of its financial data past the deadline. That commission provides a check on local government finances in order to assure that those governments don’t take on too much debt or get careless in their bookkeeping practices.
Since the turn of the century, every few years the topic of getting a different auditor has come up in the committee meetings, however, each year the county commissioners have decided to remain a client of Cherry Bekaert.
One of the advantages of keeping the same auditor is that county officials know what the working relationship will be like, and it takes less time for the auditor to perform the service since there is already some familiarity with the county’s staff and bookkeeping practices.
At the March 15 Audit Committee meeting, the committee is also holding a closed session to consult with the county attorney.