Cloyd and Associates at SPEDA

Madgel Miller and Wallace Smallwood, representing Cloyd & Associates PSC, present the audit reports for fiscal years 2019 and 2020 to board members of the Somerset-Pulaski Economic Development Authority.

The Somerset-Pulaski Economic Development Authority (SPEDA) received not just one but two clean audits this week, as an outside accounting firm reported favorable findings for both fiscal year 2019 and fiscal year 2020.

SPEDA board members and President/CEO Chris Girdler decided last year to conduct the audits as part of an effort to have the inner workings of the organization be as transparent as possible.

“One of the things we are proud of is the transparency under which we operate, the financial accountability we hold ourselves to,” Girdler said. “And this is extremely exciting to be able to be doing this – as exciting, I think, as an audit can be – because this is something we’re not required by law to undertake. This sets a wonderful baseline for us and a great foundation we can operate from going forward.”

Madgel Miller with Cloyd & Associates PSC in London, delivered the audit report at Thursday’s meeting. She agreed that, while not required, conducting an audit was a great step.

“When we come into somewhere that’s not got a legal requirement, it’s nice because we know that it comes from the top wanting the transparency and wanting to make sure all the books are in order,” she said.

SPEDA board treasurer Seth Atwell explained that both yearly reports were presented with an “unmodified opinion,” which means the auditors determined that the organization’s financial records accurately reflect its actual financial position.

“This is the highest level of assurance that you can receive, and the opinion we’ve received is what they call a clean opinion or unqualified opinion. I was very pleased,” Atwell said.

The report showed that SPEDA’s net assets increased a little more the $500,000 from 2019 to 20202.

The auditor praised the organization’s record keeping, singling out both Girdler and accounting officer Jessica Carlton for their efforts.

“The bottom line is, you all have very good records. The transparency, just coming in to do the audit, we were just given anything we needed. We didn’t have to ask for most of it just to be quite honest. It was right at our fingertips,” Miller said.

Miller also said she was pleasantly surprised on how well the organization was dealing with the separation of financial duties – no small feat, since there are so few employees.

“I think that you have good financial staff,” she said. “You’re small. It’s hard to have a lot of separation of duty and a lot of controls that are in bigger entities, but you all have done a really good job of board oversight, a really good job of just making sure things are approved, followed up on.”

Atwell said that having more than one person involved with the financial duties was important because an organization doesn’t want the same person making deposits and writing all the check. “No one else sees the money,” he said.

Miller seemed extremely pleased with the way the audit turned out.

She said, “Overall, I don’t have any complaints or any suggestions to make this better. I think you all are doing a very good job financially, in the accounting side.”

The only thing she said she might want to discuss with the staff was looking at program statements and how to determine what fundraised funds have been spent in which areas.

It’s not a factor for audits, Atwell explained, but it could benefit the organization in the future when looking back year-by-year.

As for the overall audit, Atwell said he felt it was good to conduct it, not only for themselves but for the ones who run SPEDA years down the line.

“When we’re all out of this and we’re all gone, if this entity is still here thriving, it’s been set in motion and has a strong foundation. That’s what a lot of this comes from,” he said.

A digital version of the audit eventually will be uploaded to SPEDA’s website so members of the public can view it.

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