“With today’s emphasis on governmental accountability the general public is no longer satisfied with an unqualified audit opinion on financial statements. Demands to know how where and why government money is spent has dictated a need for improved communication with the public ” said W.A. “Bill” Broadus Jr. a guest of the Guam chapter of the Association of Government Accountability.

He addressed those issues on the second day of a three-day workshop attended by private sector and government of Guam financial managers and accountants on July 20 22 and 23.

Broadus heads his own professional corporation and is a consultant in government and nonprofit areas. He was employed for nearly 28 years with the U.S. General Accounting Office working with federal state and local governmental officials in financial management areas. He is a past president of the national association.

Sessions focused on understanding and implementing standards for governmental accountability and performance reporting. Attendees at the workshop at the Hyatt Regency Guam were comprised of accountants and financial managers from the government and private sector according to Zeny Asuncion-Nace independent auditor and president of the Guam chapter of the Association of Government Accountants who co-sponsored the workshop along with the Guam Society of CPA’s.

She said “The purpose of all three days of the workshop is for people to understand the importance of a standard method of reporting and be able to implement these methods. There are guidelines and policies for reporting that we need to adhere to.”

Broadus and James R. “Jay” Fountain a consultant in financial and performance management hosted the first day of the workshop. Fountain recently retired as assistant director of research for the Governmental Accounting Standards Board in Norwalk Conn. It focused on the importance of auditing requirements including revised audit and reporting standards and their impact. Discussions centered on explaining the new standards used for preparing financial statements and how to successfully address issues that may arise during implementation. Broadus said it was essential for both auditors and the government to understand the role the Governmental Accounting Standards Board played in establishing criteria for effective accountability.

Fountain said state and local governments are encouraged to submit Service Efforts and Accomplishments or SEA reports to the AGA for review to determine if suggested criteria were met. Agencies whose reports meet the criteria are awarded certificates of excellence a program initiated with seed money from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation in New York.

Fountain and Broadus were hopeful that the government of Guam will adopt SEA Reporting as a way to assure the public that government money is being spent wisely and efficiently. “A clean or unqualified audit opinion on a financial statement doesn’t necessarily mean efficient economical and effective ” Broadus said. “Those are the three ‘E’s’ of accountability.”

The remainder of the second day focused on what Broadus called “The accountant’s ‘F’ word: fraud.” In addition to outlining the responsibilities of both managers and auditors in detecting and preventing fraud the workshop described conditions where fraud most likely occurred as well as delineating unique situations that foster the potential for fraud. The final day of the workshop “Now is the Time to Become Serious about Internal Control ” concentrated on the need for internal controls to insure accountability and methods for evaluation.

Organizers Asuncion-Nace president-elect of the AGA Guam and Francis Quinto who will become controller at the University of Guam in August were confident the workshop proved beneficial to all participants.

While the high number of private sector attendees indicated that accountability remains a priority in the private sector Public Law 26-152 requires continuing professional education and training for all government employees working in a financial environment. The AGA Guam Accountability workshop provided credits towards the 40 credit hours of instruction required annually. MBJ