City’s annual audit completed
Elkins returns eighth unmodified opinion in a row
ELKINS — At the most recent Elkins City Council meeting, Elkins Treasurer Tracy Judy reported that the city’s annual audit resulted in an unmodified opinion.
State law requires West Virginia cities to undergo annual audits and publish the results. This audit, of the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2019, was performed by accountants working for BHM CPA Group, an Ohio-based public accounting firm with offices in Huntington.
The purpose of a municipal audit is to systematically examine the sources and uses of public funds. Auditors evaluate the accuracy of financial records, the effectiveness of systems protecting against fraud and theft, the nature of accounting methods and processes in use at the city, and other aspects of compliance with state law and government accounting standards.
“An audit examines our financial records to confirm they are accurate,” Judy said. “The auditors review our transactions, financial statements, grants, bank statements, and other records for all city funds for the given fiscal year.”
The unmodified opinion the city received is the best result an audit can return. Sometimes also referred to as an “unqualified” or “clean” opinion, an unmodified opinion indicates that auditors have found no misrepresentations of fact or failures to follow appropriate accounting standards.
Elkins has received unmodified opinions in each of its annual audits since the fiscal year ending in 2012.
The audit process begins each summer with a letter from the state auditor authorizing cities to begin the process of procuring an audit firm. The city’s Audit Committee then solicits and evaluates proposals from CPA firms interested in providing this service. The evaluation process uses a score sheet published by the state auditor to assign to the firms that submit proposals. The firm with the highest score is then selected to perform the city’s audit.
“Receiving an unmodified opinion is a good confirmation of our daily practices and confirms to the city and its citizens that those practices are valid,” Judy said. “A good audit opinion is also important when the city is seeking loans or other financing, because lenders use our annual audits to assess risk and calculate interest rates.”