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How can future trouble be avoided?
by Ivan Foley
Landmark editor

Now that the "unaccounted for" $195,000 of Platte County taxpayer money has been traced, what steps can be taken to avoid similar problems in the future?

That's what county commissioners asked of external auditor Mike Groszek of the firm Troutt, Beeman and Co. of Harrisonville.
Here are recommendations made by Groszek:

1. The county should not set up future construction funds as they did with parks. Bond monies with a trustee should be set up in their own fund so that when the projects are completed, the fund can be closed.

2. Bond monies with a trustee should not be recorded in the same general ledger account as the main checking account. Separate ledger accounts should be set up for the bond trustee accounts, and they should have a separate general ledger number from the main county checking account.

3. The activity in these bond trustee accounts should be recorded on a monthly basis and then reconciled to the general ledger. If they have their own unique accounts, as recommended in number 2 above, then this reconciliation can be performed.

4. The treasurer's office should compile a master list of what bank accounts are recorded in what fund and the corresponding general ledger number. This would help to determine what cash account to hit when coding disbursements.

5. All checks from the county's main checking account need to be recorded to general ledger account 1001 and not to a bond trustee construction fund general ledger account, even though the checking account will ultimately be reimbursed from the bond trustee construction funds.

6. The county's main checking account reconciliation format should not attempt to include other funds and accounts. The county has approximately 70 to 80 funds which participate in this checking account and it is complicated enough without trying to include other accounts.

7. Journal entries. There have been operating difficulties between the auditor's office and the treasurer's office over journal entries. The county should consider implementing an operating procedure requiring the auditor's office and the treasurer's office to both sign off on journal entries impacting cash. If nothing else, it will improve the communication and inform the treasurer's office whenever a journal entry hits cash.

8. Journal entries. The auditor's office should implement an operating procedure requiring two signatures on all journal entries. Sometimes having two sets of eyes to review an entry may catch errors before they are posted.

9. When the treasurer's office completes the monthly bank reconciliation it should be forwarded and signed off by the auditor's office. This will help ensure that any reconciliation difficulties will be communicated in a timely manner.



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