Preparing your annual report package? Check out our updated cash-basis checklist
Jan 12, 2024
A new year has begun, which means it's time for cash-basis governments to close out the last year and begin preparing their annual financial reports. It also means it’s time for us to share our updated Checklist for Preparing and Reviewing Cash-Basis Financial Statements. It can help you detect steps that you might have missed before you submit your annual report to the State Auditor’s Office by the May 29, 2024, deadline.
Before you download it, we want to highlight a few things and share some advice.
New checklist items for significant BARS changes
The checklist includes a new section for the most significant change for 2023 reporting: subscription-based information technology arrangements (SBITAs). We’ve added five checklist questions to help you review several key aspects of your SBITA implementation.
Also new this year is the reporting of public-private and public-public partnerships (PPPs) and service concession arrangements. Although we expect few cash-basis governments will have these, we’ve added a checklist question so that you won’t miss exploring them further.
And for note disclosures, we’ve added a question to ask if you’ve created one footnote file for each financial reporting year.
Pay extra attention to your Schedule of Liabilities
We devoted an entire checklist section to help you review your Schedule of Liabilities. It’s important that you spend some time reviewing this important schedule and the related BARS requirements, as we noted many misreported or unreported liabilities during last year’s audits.
Reconciliations should be a key part of your review
The general ledger is the source data for the financial statements, and any recording errors will flow into the financial statements. It’s important to put controls in place to prevent errors from occurring. But you can also detect errors when you reconcile the general ledger to third-party documents, such as bank statements. In our checklist, we ask if you performed these key reconciliations and if someone independently reviewed them.
All adjustments should be recorded in your general ledger
We've added a checklist question to remind you to verify that your general ledger agrees to your financial statements. We noted several audit issues in the past year involving off-book adjustments. You should record all adjustments in your general ledger, and it should agree to the amounts reported in your Statement C-4 and C-5.
How to reach us for more assistance
Remember, the State Auditor’s Office can help you. If you have specific technical accounting questions, submit them using our HelpDesk in the client portal.
We also have financial management specialists in our Center for Government Innovation available to talk with you about best practices, resources, or internal controls. For assistance, reach out to us at Center@sao.wa.gov.