"Fraud" is an exciting word; "audit" is boring.
But when the second comes without the first, it is exciting to Orem City, said Daryl Berlin, Orem's city manager."People may not read a story about a city's annual audit," he said. "And they may be looking for more exciting things like fraud and embezzlement, but Orem can be proud of its lack of excitement."
In the past 10 years, auditors have found no major problems in the way Orem City handles its money.
Phil Goodrich, Orem's director of administrative services, said the city has received a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA).
Goodrich, who is Utah's representative to the GFOA, said, "This is the highest award of excellence given by the GFOA and Orem has received it for two years in a row."
The certificate is presented to cities, counties and school districts throughout the United States for completeness, accuracy and openness in financial reporting.
Cities are not automatically eligible to receive it again after they have received it once, Goodrich said. "To receive the award, you have to really work for it each year."
Goodrich said when he and Berlin began restructuring the city's financial department 10 years ago, there were a lot of possibilities for mistakes.
"We centralized the whole process to give us a clearer picture and we computerized the operations," he said.
Now, the city can see almost to the day exactly where it stands as far as expenditures and revenues.
"We can do revenue/expenditure projections and we have 35 financial indicators that we can track and check for potential problems," Goodrich said.
Mark W. Stevens, a partner at Deloitte and Touche, the company that performed the audit, said he was very impressed with the professional way the Orem City staff handled the audit.
"We had excellent cooperation and we didn't find any major problems," Stevens said.
The audit mentioned a few problems including that Orem did not have an adequate stale-dated check policy and programmers have access to the production libraries of the city financial system, which could result in unauthorized changing of the system.
Berlin said it is the auditor's job to find problems, but sometimes the things they find pertain to small details.
"But, we find ways to comply because it improves the system," he said.
Councilman Kelvin Clayton said he noticed that the city has been working on correcting each problem the auditors found, and he commended the city's staff for their work.