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Auditor has suggestions for Massena Central School District

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MASSENA - The certified public accountant who conducted this year’s external audit of the Massena Central School District had some suggestions for school officials during his audit presentation to the district’s board of education Thursday night.

Carl S. Seyfarth from the accounting firm of Seyfarth & Seyfarth, CPAs, Malone, said that, while this report for the district’s fiscal year ending on June 30 was better than last year, district officials still needed to work on computer controls and the district’s extra classroom activity funds.

“You’ll notice it’s a lot better than last year. We cleaned up a lot of the issues that we had last year,” he said, while not getting into specifics.

But, Mr. Seyfarth said, there were still two issues that needed to be address.

“The most important I think is getting a good handle on the computer control. Computer controls become more and more important as we become more technology-based. More schools are going into paperless environments, so you have to have a good handle on that so you’ve got all the right people who can access the right parts of the program,” he said, suggesting district officials monitor how that’s being done.

“That’s an area we think that still needs some work. That function really shouldn’t be in the business office. It should be outside the business office,” Mr. Seyfarth recommended.

He also suggested changes to the extra classroom activity fund process, a recurring theme not just as Massena, but other area schools.

“If you look on your website , you’ve got a lot of information. They need to do those things. The information is out there. You just have to get it down to the club level, get the kids trained to make sure they know what’s going on and how to do it,” he said.

Mr. Seyfarth said members of each group needed to treat their club like a small business.

“They’re basically operating their own small businesses, and they need to keep records for that. They need to manage it, they need to be actually running it and making the decisions based on their constitution,” he said.

He suggested students should be planning and paying attention to their fundraising goals during the year.

“They would say this is what we accomplished this year, this is what we’re going to raise money for so they can track how they’re getting there,” he said, also recommending they determine how much they spent, how much they thought they would make and why they didn’t make their goal.

“The kids are really a key internal control. They know how much money they have. It can’t go anywhere,” Mr. Seyfarth said.

He said the money on hand at the club level should match up with the central treasurer’s report.

“The two really should be the same,” he said.

Mr. Seyfarth commended district officials for their internal controls as more emphasis is placed on school districts to maintain correct financial statements.

“You need to have the right internal controls to make sure they’re done properly. You guys did a really good job, he said, noting there were no unusual transactions found during his audit.

“Overall they did a really super job. We didn’t have any adjustments that were of any significance. That’s really important to you guys because if we’re not coming in and making adjustments, that means the numbers you guys are getting all along are probably pretty good,” he said.

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