School district audit reveals insufficient financial operations

The recently released outside audit of the Iowa City school district revealed numerous shortcomings in the district's financial operations, The Gazette reports.

Synesi Associates of Illinois was brought in after an internal accounts payable audit conducted by the district in August of last year discovered $2 million in bookkeeping errors.

Superintendent Stephen Morley said the district erroneously placed more than $1.4 million in personnel money from a federal education jobs program under both the federal program and the district's personnel expenses in its budget, according to a separate article by the news source. This caused the discrepancy in records, along with $564,000 in salary boosts for teachers that was counted twice.

Synesi found that the error had been allowed to occur by a weak system of controls that perpetuated the double-counting of expenses. In addition to instating a policy of regular recovery audits, organizations can ensure accuracy and prevent duplicate payments and similar errors from occurring. Setting up these controls can also have other benefits, such as dissuading employees from committing embezzlement and allowing instances of misappropriation to be caught more quickly. 

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