On Tuesday, May 10, the Board of Finance (BOF) received a presentation of findings from the audit of Wilton’s accounting for FY2021.
Wilton’s Chief Financial Officer Dawn Norton attended the BOF meeting and introduced the board to Leslie Zoll, a principal with CliftonLarsonAllen, LLP, who conducted the audit.
Zoll noted that the audit findings were issued “a little bit later than usual due to the transition” of Norton into the position previously held by former CFO Anne Kelly-Lenz, who resigned in January.
Zoll began by explaining the scope of the audit, which includes opinions on:
- Whether Wilton’s financial statements are in accordance with GAAP (the set of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles)
- The schedule of expenditures of federal awards and state financial assistance
- Compliance related to major federal and state award programs
The audit also reports on the Town’s internal controls over financial reporting and compliance with laws, regulations, contracts, and grants.
“The Town of Wilton did receive an unmodified opinion,” Zoll told the board. “That’s what you’d want to receive each and every year.”
“However,” Zoll continued, “This year there was a material weakness on internal control related to [two] entries that needed be posted related to the Other Grants Fund.”
Zoll explained the issue related to the revenue recognition of new grants Wilton received during the year. The monies were not received within the expected 60 days.
“You cannot recognize revenue in the fund if the money does not come in on time,” Zoll explained. “There was a delay in the revenue being received, so that money should have been deferred and not shown as revenue in the fund.”
BOF Vice Chair Stewart Koenigsberg questioned Zoll on whether the finding could adversely impact future grant awards.
“[It’s] entry-related and timing-related. It has nothing to do with whether or not you spent the money in accordance with the grant,” Zoll assured the board. “You’re still in compliance with the grant parameters.”
Zoll said the flaw was due to a lack of review to ensure the funds were received within the expected 60 days before the books were closed on the fiscal year.
When questioned by board members as to the consequences of the audit finding, Zoll indicated Connecticut’s Office of Policy and Management (OPM) would take note.
“OPM will be looking at this, as it’s included in the State Single Audit as a finding,” Zoll said. “OPM will require a corrective action plan, which Dawn [Norton] has done, so OPM will see it will be corrected going forward.”
Zoll mentioned several favorable “highlights” of Wilton’s financials, including property tax collections (99.45%), unassigned General Fund balance ($17.7 million), and fully funded (113%) net pension assets.
Zoll also remarked that there were no disagreements with Town management during the auditing process and no difficulties performing the audit.
“No one was opinion shopping,” Zoll said.
Zoll briefed the board on a few changes in Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) standards to be implemented for 2022 and 2023. Zoll noted that adapting to some of the changes, such as one that might pertain to a number of the Town’s leases, could be complex and time-consuming for the Town.