Last night at our parish council we had our annual look at the finances. This is the time when we are presented with the balance sheet, then the income and expenditure sheet and finally the annual return. We all scrutinise the figures whilst trying to make sense of it and make sensible comments. Then we have to all answer yes to the following questions:
1. we have approved the statement of accounts which have been prepared in accordance with the requirements of the Accounts and Audit Regulations and proper practices.
2. we have maintained an adequate system of internal control, including measures designed to prevent and detect fraud and corruption and reviewed its effectiveness.
3. we have taken all reasonable steps to assure ourselves that there are no matters of actual or potential non-compliance with laws, regulations and codes of practice which could have a significant financial effect on the ability of the council to conduct its business or on its finances.
4. we have provided proper opportunity during the year for the exercise of electors' rights in accordance with the requirements of the Accounts and Audit Regulations.
5. we have carried out an assessment of the risks facing the council and taken appropriate steps to manage those risks, including the introduction of internal controls and/or external insurance cover where required.
6. we have maintained throughout the year an adequate and effective system of internal audit of the council's accounting records and control systems and carried out a review of its effectiveness
7. we have taken appropriate action on all matters raised in reports from internal and external audit.
8. we have considered whether any litigation, liabilities or commitments, events or transactions, occurring either during or after the year end, have a financial impact on the council and, where appropriate have included them in the statement of accounts.
9. Trust funds- in our capacity as the sole managing trustee we have discharged our responsibility in relation to the accountability for the fund(s)/assets, including financial reporting and, if required, indepenent examination or audit.
Our internal auditor has to answer a similar set of questions. The form containing the return figures, our answers and the internal auditor's answers is then sent to an external auditor. This is all to ensure that we are not abusing the parishioners' money and quite right too. The last thing we want is for people in a position of trust taking advantage of the money handed over by the people that they should be serving. Bear that in mind whilst you read this http://tinyurl.com/2eudr86.