Auditioning auditors - Douglas County breaks from traditional procedure
Douglas County commissioners may be rolling the dice with an unconventional request for proposals (RFP) pertaining to the county's audit arrangement.
The Office of the State Auditor (OSA) previously provided audit services for the county. To obtain the service at a lower cost than what the state charges, the county is seeking the service from another agency for the years ending December 31, 2012, 2013 and 2014.
"We could save about $35,000," said Commissioner Paul C. Anderson. Anderson was informed of the savings by CliftonLarsonAllen, LLP, which has a satellite office in Alexandria.
County Auditor/Treasurer Char Rosenow said Doug Host, a former state auditor, with LarsonAllen heads the county audits.
The OSA is authorized to perform audits of Minnesota counties at its discretion. Should the OSA find another agency's report is questionable, it could review the audit - costing the county additional fees.
"We're paying twice," said Commissioner Norm Salto.
The county has budgeted $75,000 for the audit in 2012. The amount allocated to state audits has grown from $50,000 in 2008 to $70,000 in 2011.
Rosenow said that typically outside firms can save counties more than $20,000.
Although an RFP is not mandatory, the commissioners agreed it would be the best way to attract an agency well versed in government that can provide the service for a fair price.
The RFP will require that companies provide four references from four counties for which they have performed at least four audits.
The county will need to maintain a consistent level of audit coverage as described in Minnesota Statute 6.65, which outlines the requirements for county audits performed by certified public accountant (CPA) firms.
Crystal Dey Crystal Dey is a staff reporter for the Echo Press. Originally from Minnesota's Iron Range, Dey worked for newspapers in North Dakota, Florida and Connecticut before returning to her home state to join the Echo Press in October 2011. Dey studied Mass Communications at Minnesota State University Moorhead with an emphasis in Online Journalism. Follow Staff Reporter Crystal Dey on Twitter at @CrystalDey_Echo.