Hawaii government accounting principles

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The Hawaii State Auditor is Marion M. Higa. In May 2008, the Legislature reappointed Ms. Higa to her third 8 year term to start on July 1, 2008. The State Constitution in Article VII, Section 10, established the Office of the Auditor. The Constitution specified that the Auditor be appointed for an eight-year term by a majority vote of each house in joint session. The Auditor may be removed only for cause by a two-thirds vote of the members in joint session. It is the constitutional duty of the Auditor to conduct post-audits of the transactions, accounts, programs and performance of all departments, offices, and agencies of the State and its political subdivisions. The audit reports are published online.[1]

In a report published in May 2012, The Institute for Truth in Accounting (IFTA) rated Hawaii “Excessively Tardy” in filing the state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) – The annual report of state and local governmental entities. IFTA rated 23 states timely, 24 states tardy, and 3 states excessively tardy. IFTA does not consider the state's CAFRs, and those of the other states, to be accurate representations of the state’s financial condition because the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) basis does not include significant liabilities for the pension plans and for other post employment benefits, such as health care.[2] Hawaii's CAFRs are published online by the Hawaii Department of Accounting and General Services. Russ K. Saito is the Hawaii State Comptroller.[3]

Accounting transparency checklist

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Comprehensive Y
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Balanced budget Y
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Timeliness N
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Usability N
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The good

  • The website has Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFR) dating back to 2000.[4]
  • An independent auditor’s report is published on page 13 of the document.[5]
  • It provides supplements to the budget workup, such as non-major Governmental funds, starting on page 128 of the document.
  • The budget is posted using organized and consistent methods of financial reporting.
  • Hawaii law requires a balanced budget and prohibits a deficit at the end of the year to be carried over to the following year.
  • It includes all costs incurred by the government, including future liabilities, starting on page 37 of the document.
  • The CAFR compares estimated and actual budgetary numbers, such as on page 121 of the document.

The bad

  • The Hawaii office was tardy in submitting the budget.
  • The CAFR is posted in PDF format, so it’s not searchable online.

See also:

External links