North Texas Daily

Board of Regents discusses financial audit

Board of Regents discusses financial audit

Board of Regents discusses financial audit
June 19
20:08 2014

Joshua Knopp / Senior Staff Writer

UPDATE: On July 7, the financial oversight task force met once more for a progress report. Deloitte & Touche auditors said they were on schedule to hit their deadlines.

Almost half of the accounts have been looked at so far, and in those, senior audit manager Blake Rogers said they’d found two main errors totaling about $2.7 million missing.

One was a $3 million entry to correct a legislative appropriation balance at year end. The balance, along with the $3 million entry, had carried over from 2007. The other error was a $300,000 contribution to the university that was labeled as funds held for others.

ORIGINAL POST:  The Board of Regents met Thursday to discuss UNT’s ongoing financial issues and appoint a financial oversight task force from board members to watch over the proceedings

Since February, UNT has been addressing 10 years worth of financial irregularities that Chancellor Lee Jackson said were caused by poor accounting methods. The day the system began investigating itself in conjunction with outside auditors, three top financial executives resigned for personal reasons. Since then, the system has discovered UNT could have as much as $23 million less in reserves than they thought and has received $83.5 million more in assistance from the state than they should have over the last 10 years. It is unknown how much of that they will need to pay back. Last week, UNT cut next year’s budget by $3.5 million.

After reconciling their accounts, UNT plans to hold a mock audit on the 2013 fiscal year in August and October, and they plan to hold another on the 2014 fiscal year after that is filed. Chair Al Silva said annual audits are a common practice in the business world, and thinks they should become common at UNT as well.

“The brain is lazy. It’s the laziest thing in your body. It watches TV and drinks beer,” he said. “If people don’t have an objective third pair of eyes, they get lax.”

Continuing external audits are one of several procedures the board is looking at to keep finances on a tighter leash in the future. Regent Brint Ryan was very concerned with these systems, saying that this problem started with financial executives telling the board everything was fine when it wasn’t.

“We’re giving directions and instructions and we have no way of knowing if they’re being carried out,” he said.

The board heard detailed plans from auditor Deloitte & Touche about how the process of reconciling UNT’s finances will proceed. The system needs to file its financial report for the 2014 fiscal year to the state on Nov. 20, and they need to re-file their 2013 financial report, which they now know had errors spawning from the $23 million misstatement, before that.

Deloitte & Touche audit senior manager Blake Rogers said a group of UNT officials and Deloitte & Touche contractors are looking at each of the school’s 777 accounts individually, both making sure the numbers in the account’s history add up and making sure the numbers were reported properly.

Rogers said 81 accounts are currently in some phase of this process. Rogers said they hope to be done with this by the end of August, but that schedule is “aggressive” and will involve lots of overtime from the auditors, as well as pushing back activity on the 2014 fiscal year reports.

Featured Image: Courtesy of UNT

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