Olds College improving financial operations

Olds College is making some headway in improving its financial operations

Olds College is making some headway in improving its financial operations.

The auditor general’s report for February 2013, released on Tuesday, showed the college has made some improvements in some areas but remains unsatisfactory in others since the last report in March 2012.

In his report, Auditor General Merwan Saher repeated two recommendations for Olds College to improve its internal controls over financial reporting.

Saher recommends the college improve its year-end financial reporting and improve segregation of its privileged user access roles from data entry responsibilities and business functions. A third recommendation to improve processes to ensure compliance with legislation was included.

Jordan Cleland, Olds College vice-president of Advancement, said the college agrees with and accepts the recommendations in the annual report.

“We are working towards making improvements in all of the areas but they are multi-year journeys to us,” said Cleland. “They report annually but the fix on some of these will be two to three to four years.”

Last year, the college streamlined its management structure and added a chief financial officer position that didn’t previously exist. Cleland said this is one example of the college following through on the recommendations. He encourages onlookers to read the entire report besides the recommendations, which indicate the college is making incremental changes.

Findings in the report show the college completed the financial statements faster than the previous year. But it also showed deficiencies in presentations or disclosures.

The report indicates accuracy and completeness of the preparation of the college’s financial statements remain unsatisfactory. This recommendation was made in April 2010 and again in April 2011.

The report also indicated there was not enough progress in implementing critical controls over the prevention of unauthorized charges by fraud and error. In this area, the college reduced the number of privileged access users to two for each application, stopped the sharing of a password, removed domain administrator’s privileged access to applications and created another separate account for privileged access for users with data entry responsibilities.

The auditor general releases the report annually on Alberta Health Services, the Office of the Public Trustee and Alberta’s post-secondary institutions.