Gov’t bean counters make audit deadline

| 02/05/2020 | 8 Comments

(CNS): Twenty-eight public sector entity audits have met the the 30 April statutory deadline and have all received unqualified audit opinions. Despite the disruption caused by the coronavirus to government business and the majority of offices being closed, over half the entities required to do so have completed their legal obligation, which Auditor General Sue Winspear said was still important, even in this national health crisis.

“While it may not be immediately obvious, having current audits will help
the country as it recovers from the crisis as credit rating agencies, financial institutions and the UK government will look upon these as important indicators of a well-governed country and well-managed economy,” she said in a press release about the audit completions.

“It also demonstrates that business as usual can go on, albeit delivered in different ways, in the midst of a global crisis which again speaks volumes about the resilience of public services in Cayman and the commitment of its staff,” Winspear said. She added, “Finally, it remains a legal requirement and I, for one, don’t want to break the law!”

But the virus has added to the audit burden as the government departments and public authorities have had to think about the impact of COVID-19 on their business into the future and assess the financial impact as a subsequent event.

“Although this is tough to do and an additional burden on top of everything else, I hope that the entities will have benefitted from formally assessing the impact of the current crisis on their business,” she stated.

Winspear pointed to the Health Services Authority as a stand out significant achievement for this year, given the adversities. The HSA received its first ever unqualified audit opinion last year and this year managed to retain a clean opinion by the statutory deadline, while also being absolutely in the centre of managing the current crisis.

The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development was also the first to get their accounts in and as a result their audit was completed on 6 March, well before the COVID-19 lockdowns began.

Ezzard Miller, the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, expressed his thanks, on behalf of the committee, to the Office of the Auditor General for completing these audits under the difficulties posed by the COVID-19 crisis and offered its sincere gratitude to the civil and public servants who completed the work on their accounts to make the audits possible.

The work of getting the audits completed was made even more difficult for the OAG on the 16 March, when Deputy Auditor General Patrick Smith, who was leading the Financial Audit practice, moved to working full time on COVID-19 crisis response work, which meant that the small audit office was one staff member down and other staff had to step up and across.

Winspear said, “I have highly capable and committed staff and am so grateful to each and every one of them as well as the audit firms that support us with some of the audits and all our public sector clients.”

The OAG has been supporting the current crisis not just through Smith’s work, but with other staff volunteering and through an office fundraiser for families in need.

See the full press release here

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Category: Government Finance, Politics

Comments (8)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    So roughly half didn’t complete on time then. Nothing to see here, carry on.

    • Anonymous says:

      Just curious as to how much you were expecting to be completed, given that ALL nonessential businesses are closed, and the whole country is under soft curfew during the day. Any audit that was able to be completed is an achievement during this time. Being a negative nancy isn’t necessary.

  2. Anon says:

    Just over half?, I suppose that’s one giant step for (Cay)man,

    • Anonymous says:

      More like three quarters

    • Anonymous says:

      Anon Really!!! Give the Auditor General a break she did an amazing job of completing so many Audits during this unprecedented time.

      I am really worried about you Anon. You same to complain about everything.

      Congrats to the Auditor General and our amazing public service.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Silly, bitter, ignorant remark, 9:35.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Thanks to Alden, there is nothing left to count anyway.

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