The importance of auditing

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Here at Clackamas County, our staff takes the responsibility of managing public dollars very seriously. Every day, we try to be as efficient as possible with our residents’ tax dollars – it’s part of the way we Build Public Trust Through Good Government, one of our five strategic priorities.

But you shouldn’t take our word for it. On top of our efforts to be as mindful with your money as possible, we also have two audit measures in place – the Independent Audit/Audit Committee and the Internal Audit.

Independent Audit / Audit Committee

Our Finance Department develops the county’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. This approximately 300-page document – which is required by ORS 297.405 to 297.555 and 297.990 – provides an accurate snapshot of how we spend money, where it comes from and goes, and relays the overall sense of our financial health.

To ensure that what we’re saying in that report is true, both independent auditors and an Audit Committee (made up of two County Commissioners, two of the county’s department directors, an attorney from our County Counsel, one member of the Budget Committee, and two members of the public) are involved in the oversight of this process. Essentially, independent auditors make sure the report is reasonable and materially correct with regard to the financial information being communicated.

The audit committee provides oversight by reviewing the audit plan, report, findings, and means of facilitating required communication between the auditors and the Board of County Commissioners.

It should be noted our Finance Department is continually honored for its transparency and professionalism in putting together its annual financial report. The Government Finance Officers Association’s mission is to promote excellence in state and local government financial management. The association  has more than 20,000 members and has honored our Finance Department for the annual report 26 years in a row.

Internal Audit

While Clackamas County has other systems of checks-and-balances, a key one is the Internal Audit function.

Internal Audit conducts audits to help protect the public's interest, and improve the performance, accountability, governance, control processes and transparency of the county. Generally, this is done through extensive research and reports. In recent years, Internal Audit has generated reports on:

All reports can be found at the Internal Audit’s website.

Further, Internal Audit also handles fraud, waste and abuse complaints, sometimes referred to as whistleblower complaints. Through a third party service called EthicsPoint, #ClackCo employees can report allegations of waste, fraud, abuse, malfeasance, embezzlement and other wrongdoing – either anonymously or out in the open. In fact, Clackamas County instituted a Whistleblower and Fraud Hotline Policy in 2006. We value whistleblowers.

This is just a snapshot of the ways that we are dedicated to being careful stewards of your money. Read a more detailed difference between the Internal Audit and the External Audit process.