The results of an exhaustive external audit of the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s office’s 2014 financial statements are complete, and the auditor’s findings paint an excellent picture of the agency’s financial practices.
Louisiana law requires all Sheriff’s offices to have an audit conducted annually by an external auditing agency representing the Louisiana Legislative Auditor.
In an effort to change auditors periodically, a new accounting firm was retained to perform the audit this year. Metairie-based Pailet, Meunier & LeBlanc, LLP conducted the 2014 audit, which was performed in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards and those outlined in Government Auditing Standards, issued by the Comptroller General of the United States.
Again this year, the Sheriff’s office has received an unmodified audit opinion with no findings. This is a clean audit rating and the highest rating achievable through the auditing process.
The auditor reviewed the Sheriff’s office Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (FY 2014) and reconciled the agency’s financial statements with the underlying accounting and other records used to prepare those statements.
The audit is now complete and has been submitted to the Legislative Auditor’s office. The auditor’s comments during the exit interview speak volumes about the financial practices of the Sheriff’s office.
From the beginning, Sheriff Strain instructed the auditors to go well beyond the normal requirements of the auditing process. The Sheriff’s decision was based on his desire to maintain the very highest levels of transparency possible by our agency.
As a result, the 2014 audit was the most comprehensive one to be conducted with the Sheriff’s office to date. All aspects of Sheriff’s office finances were examined, including accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll, tax collections and disbursements, and fixed asset inventory. Any records involving tax payer funds were subject to the strict auditing procedures.
The auditor also examined a much higher volume of records than usual. Normally, sub-sets of records are sampled for examination during an audit. For this year, entire categories were pulled, with every transaction (including backup documentation) being included in the audit process.
The results of the audit, coupled with its extensive nature, demonstrate how seriously the Sheriff’s office takes our responsibility to manage tax payers’ dollars in a fiscally responsible manner.
“Given the abuse of power and the public’s trust discovered in other St. Tammany public agencies in recent years, our residents deserve to see audits as detailed and exhaustive as this one was,” Sheriff Jack Strain said.
“We acknowledge the enormous trust the public places in us to manage their tax dollars responsibly, and we will continue to do everything possible to ensure their trust is well placed,” Strain said.