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09/21/2020 Auditors Meeting Minutes

Town of Braintree

** Meeting remotely using conference line for the Town of Braintree (802-210-4472) **

Attendees:  Tom Cooch, Stephanie Barrett, Lin Brown, Jessica Brassard (Town Clerk-Treasurer), Janice Russell (Administrative Assistant)

  1. Mr. Cooch called the meeting to order at 8:31 a.m.
  1. Changes to the agenda included correcting the date of our last meeting from 3/16/20 to 3/23/20, and adding a discussion of the status of the Cash Receipts and State Payments procedure manuals to ‘Other Business’.
  1. The minutes of the March 23, 2020 meeting were approved.
  1. Payroll auditing.

Mr. Brown reported on the new payroll system. In January 2020 the Town contracted with Compucount, Inc. of Randolph for payroll services. The Town no longer uses the Payroll module in NEMRC, thus necessitating a modified payroll audit procedure.  The current audit procedure consists of checking three items: current employee list and pay rates, employee time sheets and pay checks, and employee tax and benefit payments. The first two items require audit modifications. The last is done in the AP module and remains essentially the same.

The new process for doing a payroll has been evolving over time, but basically works as follows. The Town (Janice and Jessie) prepare a spreadsheet with employee names, pay rates and hours (from time sheets) that is emailed to Compucount. Compucount uploads the spreadsheet information into their software, and after some back and forth checking, generates paper checks or EFTs to the employees being paid and to the taxing authorities for that bi-weekly period. They then send the Town a pdf report of the amounts paid, taxes, and benefits – much like the information on a paycheck. Other benefit time accumulation and use is also tracked.

The problem for auditing is that the Town no longer has a payroll data base that can be queried (as we did with NEMRC). We have individual time sheets, the bi-weekly payroll spread sheets (with employee time and pay rate data), and the pdf payroll report (check stub type information with payment amounts). These are all separate documents, one for each pay period, in different forms (paper/electronic) located in different places. Payroll expenses are recorded in NEMRC as aggregate General Ledger entries.

We examined sample input bi-weekly payroll spreadsheets and pdf payment reports from Compucount. The Administrative Assistant noted that Compucount does do some consistency checking of what the Town sends them, as they have occasionally called asking for clarification of some of the spreadsheet information. After discussion, we decided to try an audit procedure that would check whether the time sheet information was being correctly transferred to the payroll spreadsheet provided to Compucount.  A random selection of employees over the 6-7 pay periods per quarter will be checked.

Mr. Brown will prepare a new draft payroll audit procedure for review as soon as possible.

  1. Review tasks needing completion for FY20

– General Fund: Complete for FY20.

– Reserve Funds: Complete for FY20.

– Grand List (annually): Completed last Fall. Mr. Cooch will contact Mr. Evans (Head Lister) to determine if any expansion of the audit procedure may be necessary because of the recent property re-evaluation just completed.

– Accounts Payable: Done through FY20-Q3. Ms. Barrett to complete Q4.

– General Journal: Complete through FY20-Q3.

– Payroll: Complete through FY20-Q2 using the NEMRC system. New procedure in preparation by Mr. Brown for completing Q3 and Q4 using Compucount system (see item 4 above).

– State Payments: Complete through FY20-Q4.  One discrepancy noted. Awaiting resolution from Clerk-Treasurer.

  1. Assign jobs for FY21

We agreed that auditor job assignments will remain the same as in FY20

  1. Delays in receiving financial data.

The auditors rely on having prompt monthly bank statement reconciliation reports from the Town Treasurer for auditing General and Reserve Fund balances. Of late, given the difficulties with COVID-19, personnel changes, and other factors, these reports have been delayed to a point of auditor concern.  A discussion with the Town Clerk-Treasurer ensued about whether the auditors might make recommendations to the Select Board for assistance to the Clerk-Treasurer to alleviate this delay.

The Clerk-Treasurer noted that these times and circumstances are unusually difficult. She believes the situation is now under better control and will improve in the future.  We came to no resolution for changes or assistance, but decided to make the best of a difficult time period. We agreed to revisit this issue at our next meeting.

  1. Other Business

-Cash Audit Procedure: Mr. Cooch reported that he will have a draft procedure for our next meeting.

-State Payments: Mr. Brown reported that he has drafted a modified procedure and is currently testing it for the FY20 Q3&Q4 audit. The basic modification is to reconcile the NEMRC report for Cash Receipts from the State against the State Town Payment Report (TPR), rather than the reverse, which is how the current procedure is written.

  1. The meeting was adjourned at 9:30 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Linfield C. Brown