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Division Director

Christina Smith

Assistant Director

Rick Sweet


Accounting and Auditing
200 East Gaines Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0318

(850) 413-5510
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DATE: September 11, 1998
TO: Agency Addressed (No. 6, 1998-99)
FROM: William O. Monroe, Director
Division of Accounting & Auditing
Office of Comptroller
SUBJECT: ACCOUNTING AND AUDITING SURVEY

The Bureau of Accounting and the Bureau of Auditing would like to thank those agencies that participated in the recent Accounting and Auditing Survey. Your honest response to each of our survey questions provided us with valuable input on how well we are doing and in what areas we need to improve. Overall, we are very pleased with the survey results. However, some of the comments received with the surveys indicate a need to improve in certain areas. We would like to take this opportunity to respond to those comments and discuss our plans to address the concerns raised. Listed below are the comments received followed by our response.

COMMENT:
Publish E-mail addresses of accounting and auditing employees.

RESPONSE:
The E-mail addresses of Accounting and Auditing employees can be obtained by visiting the "411DIRECT Homepage" maintained by the Department of Management Services at http://www.state.fl.us/ 411direct.

COMMENT:
Increase communication with the agencies.

RESPONSE:
Agency Addressed Memorandums, Comptroller Memorandums, Accounting and Auditing Manuals, FLAIR Users Meetings, etc. are all means by which the Comptroller's Office attempts to keep agencies informed of current accounting and auditing issues. We realize that communication between our office and agency offices is extremely important especially as we move forward with new projects such as the purchasing card, the new human resource/payroll system, and electronic data interchange. We have worked diligently to improve communication in the last few years, and with the help of your comments and suggestions, we will continue to do so in the future.

COMMENT:
Provide for an alternative contact if a primary contact person is unavailable. Also, remind employees to change their voice mail when they are out for extended periods of time.

RESPONSE:
We have reminded our employees to change their voice mail if they will be out for more than a few hours. Also, note that when seeking assistance, you may press "0" if a primary contact person is unavailable, and the operator will direct you to an alternative contact person. All accounting and auditing employees have this "zero-out" option on their voice-mail.

COMMENT:
Resume the manual distribution of Comptroller Memorandums. There are agency staff members who need to keep up with changes that do not have access to the Internet.

RESPONSE:
Responses from state agencies to the electronic distribution of Comptroller Memorandums has been overwhelmingly positive. The Internet provides the most timely and economical means of distribution, therefore we do not intend to resume the manual distribution of these memorandums. We realize that inability to access the Internet may be a problem for some agency staff members. Most agencies should, however, have at least one person with Internet access who can print the Comptroller Memorandums and manually distribute them if necessary. Please contact Bob Spooner at 414-1803 (SC 994-1803) or you can E-mail him at Robert_D_Spooner@mail.dbf.state.fl.us if additional issues need to be addressed.

COMMENT:
The Statewide Financial Statement Section should meet with the agencies to discuss and resolve ways of implementing current GAAP requirements and future GASB mandated changes.

RESPONSE:
The Statewide Financial Statement Section sponsors classes each year in which topics such as ways of implementing current GAAP requirements and future GASB mandated changes are covered. These classes are open to all state agencies. The most recent classes were held in June and over 35 agencies were represented. The Statewide Financial Statement Section also routinely meets with individual agencies to discuss concerns. Please call Linda Sharpton at 414-1851 (SC 994-1851) or you can E-mail her at Linda_F_Sharpton@mail.dbf.state.fl.us for more information on the annual classes or to set up a meeting.

COMMENT:
Information regarding training provided by the Bureau of Accounting and Bureau of Auditing should be made available on the Internet.

RESPONSE:
TRAINing DIRECT is a new service of the Department of Management Services available on the Internet which lists training classes sponsored by state agencies and allows for on-line registration. We are now utilizing TRAINing DIRECT to advertise classes and register participants. The address for TRAINing DIRECT is http://fcn.state.fl.us/dms/trac.

COMMENT:
Revolving Fund refunds requested using the salary object code have to go through Auditing and Payroll. There is usually a delay of a month to get the voucher posted and check issued to our Revolving Fund or employee. Quicker posting and less "channels" to go through in posting these vouchers is requested.

RESPONSE:
The procedure as described for revolving fund refund requests using the salary object code is not a current practice of the Bureau of State Payrolls. Revolving fund reimbursement transactions are processed through the payroll as a miscellaneous deduction. Please contact Allen Reams at 414-1805 (SC 994-1805) or you can E-mail him at Rodney_A_Reams@mail.dbf. state.fl.us to discuss further.

COMMENT:
Review the processes for warrant stop payments and duplicates (process re-engineering).

RESPONSE:
We are reviewing the processes for warrant stop payments and duplicates to determine what improvements can be made. We welcome any specific recommendations you might have for improvements. Please contact Bob Spooner at 414-1803 (SC 994-1803) or you can E-mail him at Robert_D_Spooner@mail.state.fl.us to discuss further.

COMMENT:
Provide a mechanism to adjust the prompt payment law compliance report for legitimate errors.

RESPONSE:
Providing a mechanism to adjust the prompt payment law compliance report for legitimate errors is a desired system enhancement that we would also like to see completed. Unfortunately, as many of you are aware, reprogramming necessitated by the Year 2000 is a top priority at this time, and it is consuming the majority of our Information Systems' resources. Thus, it may take some time before this system enhancement can be completed.

COMMENT:
Develop an Accounting Policy Manual.

RESPONSE:
The first draft of an Accounting Policy Manual has been completed. We are reviewing the draft and considering additional items. The manual should be available within the next couple of months.

COMMENT:
Continue to work with FLAIR to merge SA & Departmental - Reconciliation purposes. Bring clock back.

RESPONSE:
There are currently no plans to merge Central Accounting and Departmental Accounting. As many agency personnel probably recall, this issue was considered during the work by the FLAIR team two years ago. After careful review, including consideration of the work required for year 2000 modifications, we determined that it would not be practicable to merge the systems. Our plan is to continue to pursue the feasibility of replacing FLAIR with a fully integrated financial management system, utilizing commercial off-the-shelf software. The new human resources/payroll system will serve as a "proof of concept" for a fully integrated financial management system. With regard to "bring(ing) the clock back," vouchers submitted for payment are batched by date of receipt. This receipt date is carried on each individual voucher within the batch replacing the need for the clock to be used as a date stamp.

COMMENT:
Improve timeliness in regards to planning for the end of the fiscal year and be specific in your information needs for closing the year.

RESPONSE:
The last Comptroller's Memorandum addressing year-end closing issues was sent on May 22. We will try to send this memorandum out earlier next year if possible. Regarding information needs for closing the year, we encourage you to attend the statewide financial statement classes where closing issues are addressed in detail. If you have attended the class in the past and would like to see other topics covered or if you want to get more information about the next class, please contact Linda Sharpton at 414-1851 (SC 994-1851) or you can E-mail her at Linda_F_Sharpton@mail.dbf.state.fl.us.

COMMENT:
We understand that A&A has a workplan for the Division of Information Systems which lists its priorities for changes to FLAIR. We request that this workplan be discussed with the agencies and that the agencies be involved through the FLAIR Users Enhancement Subcommittee in setting the priorities on the workplan.

RESPONSE:
At the present time, most of the work by the Division of Information Systems is still directed toward modifications needed for Year 2000. A limited amount of resources are available to work on other projects, many of which are required by statutes and Federal regulations. As the Year 2000 projects are completed and additional resources become available, we plan to seek recommendations form the FLAIR Users Enhancement Committee in development of our workplans.

COMMENT:
While the Comptroller's Accounts Control Section staff are both knowledgeable and helpful, in this age of seemingly frequent reorganizations, PB-2 issues, and other activities, agencies need quick turnaround on requests for maintenance to the Account Description file. The Accounts Control Section should be given assistance in timely responding to agency requests.

RESPONSE:
New receipt category accounts should be set up within 24 hours of a request being received. Normally, we wait until we obtain information from the Governor's Office before we set up other accounts. We have received complaints from agency personnel regarding inactivating or deleting accounts. However, during the past six months we have focused our efforts on responding more timely to the requests for inactivation and deletion, and we are receiving positive feedback from agencies on those efforts. As you are probably aware, major reorganizations may take more time due to the volume of work to be done. If you continue to have problems with the timeliness of the responses to your requests, please call Patti Calhoun at 414-1852 (SC 994-1852) or you can E-mail her at Patti_P_Calhoun@dbf.state.fl.us.

COMMENT:
Involve FLAIR users more in the planning stages of changes.

RESPONSE:
Every effort will be made to include FLAIR users in the planning stages of any system changes. This effort will be coordinated through the FLAIR system enhancement committee.

COMMENT:
When vouchers are returned, be more specific as to the reason for the voucher's return. Pay more attention to requests for changes on a voucher.

RESPONSE:
When possible, agencies are phoned to resolve voucher problems rather than having the vouchers returned. In those situations where vouchers need to be returned, staff has been instructed to be more specific on the reasons for the return. Also, staff has been reminded to pay closer attention to requests for changes on vouchers.

COMMENT:
Have all remote locations be consistent with their requirements.

RESPONSE:
Consistency has improved since the issuance of the Voucher Processing Handbook in October 1997. Additionally, an internal procedures manual for auditors is in the final stages of completion which should further increase consistency among our locations.

COMMENT:
We need the ability to back-out transactions uploaded via a PC 51 & 70. We need to have the ability to correct transaction dates when the problem is the Comptrollers (system enhancement).

RESPONSE:
This request will be forwarded to the FLAIR system enhancement committee for action.

COMMENT:
Will you look into automating TR 59s to correct TR 52s (Revolving Fund).

RESPONSE:
This request will be forwarded to the FLAIR system enhancement committee for action.

COMMENT:
A "How to" Handbook for making corrections to FLAIR and to Comptroller records would be helpful. Example: How to correct category when agency GL category is correct and Comptroller's is incorrect.

RESPONSE:
Instructions on correcting accounting entries in FLAIR can be found in the FLAIR users manual. Corrections to Comptroller records can be made by contacting the Bureau of Accounting at 488-1951 (SC 278-1951).

COMMENT:
Bureau of Auditing needs better understanding of agencies and they need to apply more "common sense" at the lower levels.

RESPONSE:
Through agency training sessions, the Bureau of Auditing staff is becoming more aware of how agencies do business. Every effort will be made to continue this type of communication at all levels of the organization.

COMMENT:
Up-front agency involvement in helping set policies and priorities is critical to our combined success and promotes a better working environment for all parties. We request that the Comptroller's Office ensure that the FLAIR user committee continue to meet on a sufficiently frequent basis to promote effective communication with the agencies regarding requested FLAIR system modifications/enhancements, and priorities for future changes.

RESPONSE:
The Comptroller's Office will continue to meet with the FLAIR user committee on a frequent basis to promote communication with the agencies.

The Bureau of Accounting and the Bureau of Auditing plan to send surveys out annually, and we encourage your future participation. Your comments and suggestions are important to us and will greatly assist us in providing the type of service that you need and want. Again, thank you for your participation in the Accounting and Auditing Survey.


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