Grand County commissioners heard a presentation on the results from a 2021 county audit conducted by the independent auditing firm Larson & Co. This is the first year the county has worked with this firm. Larson & Co representative Jon Haderlie explained the auditing procedure, including some changes in nationwide auditing standards (such as listing the auditor’s opinion early on in the report) and the company’s finding of an unmodified, or unqualified opinion on the county’s financial statements.
In audit reports, a “qualified opinion” indicates either that the audit was limited in scope, or that there is a discrepancy between the findings and generally accepted auditing principles.
“Last year, you had a qualified opinion, and that was due to some of the component units—because they weren’t tested,” Haderlie said. Some of the “component units”—that is, special service districts in the county that keep their own books but are still considered in the county audit—have their own independent audits done, and the county auditor relies on those opinions. However, some of the special service districts don’t have their own audits done. This year, analysts from Larson & Co. ran tests on those component units, so the firm wouldn’t have to qualify its opinion.
Haderlie said that the county has improved over the previous year, when expenses were over budget at the health department, domestic violence fund, capital project fund and in health care.
“However, that appears to have been addressed and corrected,” he said. “There weren’t any issues of that during 2021.”
Haderlie said that it can be difficult to submit the audit report in time for federal deadlines, and this is usually because component units are sometimes late in having their audits completed. He hopes that the law can be changed to make the deadline for those audits earlier in the year, to allow more time for county audits to be completed by the federal deadline.
After a dense explanation of auditing procedures and findings, Commissioner Mary McGann sought a brief, clear summary.
“Basically, we’re ok?” she asked.
“Yes—doing a good job, doing better. Not perfect, but doing better,” Haderlie agreed.