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More accountability needed on financial statements, P.E.I. AG says

Jane MacAdam, auditor general, repeated a recommendation that additional information should be provided to members in the legislative assembly on government business enterprises.
Jane MacAdam, auditor general, repeated a recommendation that additional information should be provided to members in the legislative assembly on government business enterprises. - Maureen Coulter

P.E.I.’s auditor general says she continues to find accounting and compliance issues within the province’s financial statements.

Jane MacAdam gave a briefing on the public accounts for 2016/2017 to a legislative standing committee Wednesday.

The public accounts committee heard the province is still submitting statements that require a significant number of audit adjustments, errors in contractual obligations as well as other accounting and compliance issues.

“For the past number of years, we have made several recommendations, which have not been implemented,” MacAdam told the committee.

There were approximately 45 audit adjustments required by the province last year for its consolidated financial statements.

“The quality control process needs to be improved to reduce the number of audit adjustments,” said MacAdam in an interview with The Guardian.

Brad Trivers, chairman of the legislative standing committee on public accounts, says he would like to see more information included in the province’s financial statements.
Brad Trivers, chairman of the legislative standing committee on public accounts, says he would like to see more information included in the province’s financial statements.

 

MacAdam said the significant adjustments were corrected by the province, but considerable time was required by audit staff and staff at the comptroller’s office to address these issues.

MacAdam says some audit adjustments are common, but she would like to see fewer errors.  

“It’s the number of audit adjustments we are concerned about,” said MacAdam.

As well, MacAdam repeated a recommendation that additional information should be provided to members in the legislative assembly

on government business enterprises, but that recommendation hasn’t been implemented to date.

“There is a one-line summary of the net surplus that is expected from these entities, but there is no supporting details of revenues and expenditures for each of these government business enterprises.”

Colin LaVie, MLA for Souris-Elmira, raised concerns at the meeting about government not meeting its deadline for submitting financial statements.

“The deadline is there, these government departments have got to meet these deadlines,” said LaVie. “Somebody has got to hold these departments accountable.”

The province has until Oct. 31 to file its public accounts, while most other provinces have earlier filing dates.

MacAdam says she feels this date gives the province adequate time to make its submissions.

Brad Trivers, chairman of the standing committee, said his main concern is the information that can't be gleaned from the blue books, including write-offs of government business enterprises.

“We don’t know whose loans were written off and what entities were involved there, and those aren’t contained in the blue books. And that is something we are looking at going forward, is getting that information,” said Trivers.

The next meeting for the standing committee on public accounts will be held April 4 to start going over the auditor general’s report.

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