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Nebraska Auditor of Public Accounts Presented by Zach Wells and Phil Olsen Nebraska Auditor of Public Accounts Budget and Audit Database.

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Presentation on theme: "Nebraska Auditor of Public Accounts Presented by Zach Wells and Phil Olsen Nebraska Auditor of Public Accounts Budget and Audit Database."— Presentation transcript:

1 Nebraska Auditor of Public Accounts Presented by Zach Wells and Phil Olsen Nebraska Auditor of Public Accounts Budget and Audit Database

2 Provide independent, accurate, and timely audits, evaluations, or investigations of the financial operations of Nebraska State and local governments. Provide financial information to policymakers and taxpayers through written reports and our Internet based Budget and Audit database. Mission

3 The Auditor of Public Accounts (APA) responsibilities include: – Reviewing all audit reports conducted by auditors of political subdivisions. – Establish uniform budgeting for all political subdivisions. – Review budgets submitted to the APA. – Conduct audits of all state agencies, officers, boards, bureaus, and commissions. Auditor of Public Accounts

4 Current Number of Political Subdivisions – 2,560 – Authorities/Societies (Historical, Agriculture, Airport, Community Redevelopment, etc) – 186 – Counties – 93 – Districts (Cemetery, Fire, NRD, SID, Reclamation, Road, etc. ) – 904 – Health Care Facilities – 27 – Municipalities – 530 – School Districts – 254 – Water Districts – 86 – Other Subdivisions (ESU, Community College, Solid Waste, etc.) – 480 Nebraska Political Subdivisions

5 Purpose of the Database – Meet Statutory requirement established by the Nebraska Legislature. Neb.Rev.Stat. § Auditor; powers and duties; assistant deputies; qualifications; duties. It shall be the duty of the Auditor of Public Accounts: ….. (10) To develop and maintain an annual budget and actual financial information reporting system for political subdivisions that is accessible on-line by the public; and …. Budget and Audit Database

6 Purpose of the Database – Database is used to track and record political subdivisions budget and audit information by fiscal year. – Information is available via website and in APA office. – Increase Government Transparency. Budget and Audit Database

7 Nebraska Department of Education receives a copy of the database files for school information. US Census Bureau receives an electronic copy of municipal and township budgets. – Prior to this the APA was required to mail in hard copies. – Hard copies still required for counties. APA is required to send the Department of Revenue tax assessments of municipalities. Users

8 Neb. Rev. Stat. § states in part, – The purpose of the Nebraska Budget Act is to require governing bodies of this state to which the act applies to follow prescribed budget practices and procedures and make available to the public pertinent information pertaining to the financial requirements and expectations of such governing bodies so that intelligent and informed support, opposition, criticism, suggestions, or observations can be made by those affected. … How It All Began

9 . Originally, the APA provided paper copies of Budget forms to all political subdivisions which were in turn completed and returned to APA. They were then filed and tracked manually. Audits were also submitted to APA and filed and tracked manually. In 1999, the Nebraska Legislature passed LB 86, which created the Nebraska Budget Act Advisory Board. – Duties included: Hold hearings to offer advice to the Auditor of Public Accounts (APA) in administering compliance with the Nebraska Budget Act Develop budget submission forms Develop uniform financial reporting standards and electronic filing of budgets and audits sufficient to enable statewide analysis of public spending and taxes The Board terminated in 2000, leaving the APA to monitor the progress and complete the recommendations. Legislative Bill 86

10 Make process simpler – The budget forms used for submission to the APA should be reduced and simplified. – APA went from twenty plus pages of budget forms to a four page form for: Municipalities Schools General – The change to allow the summary format required modification of state statute. Board Recommendations

11 Include examples and definitions of terms. – Include instructions and definitions tailored to questions from the prior budget year. Creation of a database in order to allow users access to budget, audit, and audit waiver information online. Allow electronic filing of budget summary. Board Recommendations

12 Prior to 1999 budget and audit information was sent to the APA but was not easily accessible to the outside public. – Limited data was maintained on an Excel spreadsheet which was create by APA. – Users could not access information themselves but had to request it from the APA. Prior to Development

13 The APA created Budget and Audit Database internally. One person internally developed the ACCESS database. This helped keep the cost down and very minimal money was provided to develop and make suggested changes. The Database was developed only to store reported budget and audit information. The forms are not submitted electronically. Budget and audit waiver forms and information was developed to be available for download via the APA website. Thereby, APA does not have to provide and mail paper forms to all the political subdivisions. Actions Taken

14 The budgets forms, audit waiver forms, and audits are submitted by political subdivisions via paper copy to the APA due to signature and publication requirement of State Statutes. Once received the data is manually entered in the Database by one APA staff. Each quarter the information from the APA’s database is uploaded to a Nebraska Online server which is where the web information is then provided to the public. The Database

15 The initial cost to put the information online was free: – APA was able to piggyback on the existing State contract for online services of statutorily required information. The creation of electronic filing would require funds, currently beyond the APA means. Online Access

16 While the APA would like to go to electronic filing we have run into several obstacles: – Costs and funding to develop and implement. – Manual Documents required to be filed by state statutes: Proof of Publication. Board Minutes. Signatures. – For audit reports, we currently can not mandate the format for the audit report. Obstacles

17 Eventually, we would like to have: Electronic filing for all political subdivisions. Develop queries which are more user friendly. Allow more specific searches. Increase use and awareness of the database. XBRL - extensible business reporting language. – It is one of a family of "XML" languages which is becoming a standard means of communicating information between businesses and on the internet. The Future

18 We are now going to show you the Database and the Online information. – Any questions before we do the demonstration? Demonstration

19 Contact Nebraska Auditor of Public Accounts Room 2303 State Capitol Lincoln, NE – Presenters: – Zach Wells, Auditor-In-Charge – – Phil Olsen, Auditor-In-Charge – – Database: – Deann Haeffner, Assistant Deputy Auditor – – Jeanne Herbers, Project Coordinator – Contact


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