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STATE OF DELAWARE OFFICE OF AUDITOR OF ACCOUNTS THOMAS WAGNER, JR., CFE, CGFM, CICA "AUDITOR OF ACCOUNTS: 302-739-5055 THOMAS. WAGNER@STATE.DE.US July 7, 2016 Ms, Patricia S. Oliphant, Ed.D. Director of Curriculum and Instruction Sussex Academy 21150 Airport Road Georgetown, DE 19947 Dear Dr) pipe. As you know, my office began reviewing the use of petty cash accounts at various charter schools earlier this year. Overall, we found that these charter schools were not following the State’s petty cash policy as set forth in the State of Delaware's Budget and Accounting Manual (BAM). Petty Cash Account Approvals The Division of Accounting must approve the establishment of a petty cash fund and the Office of the State Treasurer must approve the opening of the bank account used.' The names and signatures. of the authorized petty cash check signers must be on record with the Secretary of Finance.” ‘We found no evidence that Sussex Academy's petty cash account was properly approved by any of these entities. Petty Cash Account Management Compliance Petty cash, by definition, is a small amount of money kept in an office to pay for small value items It can be maintained in the form of cash or a checking account. Petty cash allows the processing and payment of expenditures to occur outside the normal accounting environment, However, while the use of such an account is convenient, it is important to recognize that the overuse of petty cash minimizes public transparency and increases the risk of control overrides, inaccurate accounting, and misappropriation of funds. Per the BAM, organizations‘ may use petty cash when aequiring and paying for small value purchases. Generally, the maximum authorization is not greater than $2,000; however, amounts not "BAM, Section 7.12.1, v4.26 2 BAM, Section 7.12.2, v.4.26 (5) > Per hiip//®20cash, on March 2, 2016. “The BAM defines “organization” as State of Delaware agencies (both merit and non-merit), school districts, charter schools, and higher education, BAM, Section 1.7, v.2.9 401 FEDERAL STREET » TOWNSEND BUILDING ¢ SUITE ONE'* DOVER, DE 19901 MAIN OFFICE: 302-739-4241 FRAUD HOTLINE: 1-80055FRAUD ‘Visit OUR WERSITE‘TO VIEW, DOWNLOAD, OR PRINT AUDIT REPORTS AND OTHER INFORMATION, ITP:/ /AUDITOR.DELAWARE.GOV Dr. Oliphant Page 2 July 7, 2016 exceeding $5,000 may be requested where exceptional circumstances exist.’ Section 7.12 of the BAM also sets forth additional guidelines for the operation of petty cash accounts within the State, including that all petty cash receipts and supporting documentation must be kept by the organization for audit purposes.° ‘The following table summarizes Sussex Academy’s compliance with these requirements during the Fiscal Year ended June 30, 2015 (Fiscal Year 2015). Sussex Academy Petty Cash Account Management Compliance Written Po! ies and Procedures for Petty Cash Checks were drawn in consecutive numerical order (BAM, Section 7.12.21, .4.26) Account reconciliations were performed by the Account Custodian (BAM, Section, v4.26 ‘Checks were signed by two employees (the Account Custodian may not be a check signer) (BAM, Section, v.4.26) Each check was signed by the Board Secretary and one school director. No petty cash checks were drawn in excess oF $500.00, (BAM, Section 7.12.28, v4.26) The school processed five checks, totaling $16,377.05, that were in excess of the $500.00 threshold. x) SN INNIS Maintained a Petty Cash account within the $5,000 limit throughout the period (GAM, Section 7.12, ¥4.26) The average monthly balance was $26,689.95, with an ending balance of x $26,293.46 on June 30, 2015. We also identified a check for $13,800 that was processed in November 2014, Although this purchase of gift cards was approved by the Board as an annual appreciation gift to employees, Section 7.2.2, v.4.26, of the BAM expressly prohibits the purchase of gift cards. * BAM, Section 7.12, v.A.26 © BAM, Section 7.12.3, v4.26 Dr. Oliphant Page 3 July 7, 2016 In previous communications with my office, you stated the account was indeed a petty cash account. We agreed since it was used for ongoing operational items, such as student testing fees, for the school during Fiscal Year 2015, Sussex Academy’s petty cash account was one of the most voluminous of the charter school accounts we reviewed at this time. As stated above, we caution the school’s overuse of a petty cash account since these accounts may be viewed as a way of transferring funds from the State into external bank accounts, that lack continual State oversight. The petty cash restrictions in the BAM are meant to reduce the various risks associated with the use of petty cash, and users of the State’s accounting system must abide by these restrictions, in addition to developing and implementing entity-specific petty cash controls. While AOA recognizes that some charter school accounts may have been operating prior to the implementation of these BAM guidelines, we encourage all charter schools to periodically review the BAM to ensure compliance with all of its financial processes. We also recommend using a State-issued procurement card (PCard) or direct claim through First State Financials when possible. Regardless of the method of payment, supporting documentation must be maintained for all transaetions. Please feel free to contact me at (302) 739-5055 with any further questions you may have. DON R. Thomas Wagner, Jr., CGEM, CICA, CFE State Auditor ce: Dr. Steven H. Godowsky, Secretary, Department of Education Ms, Jennifer Scott, President of the Board of Directors

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