Accounting Procedures for Local Government
The Auditor's Office receives many calls each year regarding accounting procedures for local government. Questions cover many topics -- from tax rates to salaries to record-keeping and much more.
We have found that a Financial Checklist for Vermont Towns is helpful to ordinary citizens interested in the finance of their local school district or town and to people working in town and city governments.
The checklist below provides a summary of key issues that pertain to adequate accounting, management and reporting of tax dollars in local government. The State laws that are cited throughout the checklist provide further information and guidance on the accounting and procedural requirements of towns and cities regarding public funds.
There are numerous free publications available to you through the Vermont League of Cities and Towns. Their toll free number is 800-649-7915 or they can be reached at www.vlct.org
Town and City Financial Management and Auditing
Vermont citizens trust that public officials elected, appointed, and employees are wise custodians of their tax dollars. Public officials validate this trust by employing strong financial management controls and ensuring that the books of accounts accurately reflect the financial activities of the fiscal year and are auditable.
Vermont law requires that the towns and cities account for the monies entrusted to them and that these records be audited. The Secretary of State's office has compiled a list of laws pertaining to Vermont local government, including those pertaining to the duties of treasures and auditors. In addition, in October 2002, the SAO published an internal controls checklist for the use of town financial officials.
For towns interested in hiring an independant auditor, here are our suggested guidelines. Independant Audit Guidelines
County Sheriff's Financial Management and Auditing
24 VSA §290b requires that the Auditor of Accounts adopt, and the Sheriff's comply with, a uniform system of accounts, controls, and procedures for the sheriff's departments. In April 2008, the SAO issued the latest version of the Uniform Accounting Manual to fulfill this requirement. Copies of this manual can be obtained by making a request via e-mail, telephone (802-828-2281), or letter. This statute also requires that the Sheriff retain a public accountant biennially to conduct an audit of the financial systems, controls, and procedures within the department and forward this report to the Auditor of Accounts and assistant judges.
Click on the following to download:
Vermont State Auditor's Internal Controls Checklists
21 Best Practices(PDF)
Segregation of Duties (PDF)