The County's fiscal year is July 1st to June 30th. Guilford County, like many other governmental entities, operates on an annual financial (or fiscal) year which is distinct from the calendar year. For example, fiscal year 2012 began on July 1, 2011 and ends on June 30, 2012. By law, the State of North Carolina and all North Carolina counties and municipalities operate with such fiscal years.
Is the County audited?
Guilford County is audited by an independent external auditing firm each year. The County is required by North Carolina General Statutes to have an audit of the general financial statements performed by an independent Certified Public Accountant (CPA). The CPA issues an opinion that is published with the County's annual audited financial statements. As overseer, the State Treasurer receives a copy of the County's annual audited financial statements. The annual audited financial statements are available for public review online and at the County Finance Department.
How are the independent external auditors selected?
Guilford County has an Audit Committee that includes two or three persons from the governing body with experience in financial matters. One of the committee's responsibilities is to screen and recommend to the Board an independent auditor on the basis of specific criteria, including qualifications, experience, approach, and local needs. The auditor should be a CPA, a CPA firm, or an accountant certified by the Local Government Commission as qualified to audit local governments. An effective procedure for selecting an auditor usually begins by preparing a request for proposal (RFP) to send to prospective auditing firms that addresses the scope of the audit, the auditing standards to be used, the type and extent of assistance that will be provided to the auditor, and the reports that will be required, as well as related distribution and timing. The audit contract must be approved by the Local Government Commission.
What is the policy regarding debt?
North Carolina General Statutes specifies how debt must be approved, sold, and repaid. These laws and regulations, which provide debt policy for most North Carolina local governments, are available on the State Treasurer website. Guilford County's Debt Policy was adopted by the Board of County Commissioners on July 22, 2004.
What is a fund balance and the County's policy regarding fund balance?
Fund balance is defined as the difference between the assets and liabilities of a fund. The N.C. Local Government Commission states that fund balance available for appropriation should not drop below eight percent (8.0%) of total expenditures. Guilford County has also adopted a minimum fund balance policy for the General Fund which instructs management to conduct the business of the County in such a manner that available fund balance is no less than 8% of budgeted expenditures.