BEAUFORT – A forensic audit of Beaufort County School District debt service accounts found no improper transactions, an auditing firm hired by the Board of Education reported Nov. 10.
The Board voted in June to conduct the special forensic audit after Beaufort County auditor Jim Beckert expressed concerns about “unscheduled overpayment of debt,” “unaccounted for” changes in fund balances, and other issues related to cash flow.
The New Mexico-based Jaramillo Accounting Group said it had reviewed “all debt service revenue and expense accounts for the district and accounting for all tax revenue and all state reimbursements for fiscal year (FY) 2019-2020, FY 2018-2019, and FY 2017-2018.”
“As a result of our detailed procedures performed over debt service funds, we did not identify any instances of fraudulent behavior or transactions,” the accounting firm’s report to the Board of Education said. The firm made several recommendations for improving communication between the county and district.
The forensic audit was the third special review conducted in addition to the regular independent audits that are conducted each year by outside firms. The other two were:
• Savannah-based Mauldin & Jenkins reported in May that all purchases made using school district credit cards between July 1, 2018, and June 30, 2019, were properly authorized and documented.
• Virginia-based Reed & Associates reported in 2018 that it had sampled purchase card transactions from July 1, 2016, through June 30, 2017, and found no unauthorized purchases or improper documentation.
The total cost of the three special audits was $103,000.
The school district has had no significant financial findings in any of its 19 previous independent annual audits, and the outside accounting firm that conducted the 2019 audit reported that the district had “an incredibly strong accounting function.”