Auditor General reveals 16 sets of financial statements for 2015 not certified by end of 2016

Auditor General reveals 16 sets of financial statements for 2015 not certified by end of 2016
Comptroller and Auditor General, Seamus McCarthy

The Comptroller and Auditor General has revealed how education and training boards accounted for six of the 16 sets of financial statements for 2015 or earlier periods that had not been certified by the auditor at the end of 2016.

The findings by CAG, Seamus McCarthy, were published in a special report today reviewing the timeliness of public sector financial reporting for financial statements relating to periods ending in 2015.

On the production of financial statements and audit completion the reports finds:

Draft financial statements for 2015 were, on average, presented for audit a little earlier than for 2014. Government departments and offices, with one exception, submitted accounts within three months of the end of the accounting period, as required. Only 40% of other bodies met this target.

In general, audited financial statements of bodies with high value turnover were available earlier than those for smaller bodies. By the end of September 2016, the audits of two thirds of 2015 financial statements, representing 96% of the value of turnover audited, had been completed.

On the presentation of accounts to the Oireachtas the reports found:

There has been a significant improvement in the timeliness of presentation of financial statements to the Oireachtas. Just over 70% of financial statements for 2015 were presented on time compared to less than 60% for 2014.

For accounts in arrears the report found:

A total of 16 sets of financial statements for 2015 or earlier periods had not been certified by the end of 2016. Education and training boards accounted for six of these. There has been an improvement in the university sector which previously had a high level of arrears. The three universities in arrears at the end of 2016 have since been certified.

On Matters referred to in audit reports the report found:

The audit reports for three financial statements for 2015 were qualified. This was out of a total of 287 certified at the end of August 2017.

Audit reports included 44 ‘emphasis of matter’ paragraphs to help users’ understanding of the information in the financial statements.

These included a significant number of instances of public bodies that produce accrual-based financial statements but that do not account for pension liabilities in the standard way.

Audit reports also referred to 56 other matters which were considered appropriate to bring to the attention of the Oireachtas. These matters generally relate to the manner in which public funds are used or to governance and control issues. They included cases where goods or services were procured without a competitive process.

Read the full report here


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