Spencer extends audit contract again

Published 12:10 am Thursday, May 12, 2022

SPENCER — Spencer has extended its audit contract again after the auditing firm said it would have the report ready two months ago.

The town Board of Aldermen extended the contract with R.H. CPAs, a firm with offices in Lexington, Charlotte and Greensboro, until the end of May, but the firm says the draft report should be delivered this week.

However, the contract has already been extended twice. The last extension was approved at a meeting in March, when R.H. audit manager Nick Wicker told the board there would be a draft to town budget officer John Sofley “within the next week or so.”

Two months later Wicker came before the board again to ask for an extension with some of the same issues: not being able to obtain a trial balance that reconciles to the 2020 financial statements.

“We spent a lot of time working on the prior year balances to get the financials rolling so that we could perform our audit,” Wicker said.

That issue has been attributed to the prior auditor performing work on paper.

He also said from mid January through the end of February the firm received reconciliations for account balances instrumental for the audit.

He said the audit is complete, the town’s financial statements have been prepared and the audit is in the final review process. Wicker said the hard work of performing an initial audit for the town is done and he would be “very disappointed” if next year’s audit was issued after the regular Oct. 31 deadline.

“I don’t anticipate any future delays in that regard,” Wicker said.

There is no additional cost for extending the contract an additional time. Towns typically engage with auditing firms for a few years at a time and then seek a new auditor as best practice.

Pat Sledge asked Wicker if there would be an issue getting the electronic documents sent to another firm if R.H. was asked to do so. Wicker said it would not be an issue because a trial balance is not considered proprietary information.

Mayor Jonathan Williams said the town is looking forward to receiving the draft.

“I am getting a little tired of getting notices from the state treasurer’s office asking for this,” Williams said.

Williams told the Post the board would have to make a decision about seeking an auditor later this year and described this year’s audit as a frustrating experience but noted R.H. has been working to reconcile the work of the previous firm.

“I think it’s a combination of things and their staff due to COVID that lend to that,” Williams said. “I don’t know that we’re at the point of securing another audit firm at this point but it’s definitely something we will talk about heading into next year’s contract.”

Williams said he wants the process to be more streamlined for the coming fiscal year.

The board previously approved an extension in January as well, due to a delay caused by COVID-19.

In other agenda items:

The town received several donations and grants:

  • A $2,500 donation for Eighth Street Ball Park
  • A $50,000 donation to Spencer Fire Department Rowan County to match donations made to other volunteer fire departments in the county.
  • A $10,000 grant from the N.C. Office of the State Fire Marshal for the fire department.
  • The town was awarded a vintage sign grant for $10,000 from the Blanche and Julian Robertson Foundation and an additional $10,000 grant from the Woodson foundation for the same purpose.

About Carl Blankenship

Carl Blankenship has covered education for the Post since December 2019. Before coming to Salisbury he was a staff writer for The Avery Journal-Times in Newland and graduated from Appalachian State University in 2017, where he was editor of The Appalachian.

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