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Idaho government accounting principles

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The Legislative Audits Division of the Legislative Services Office, under the direction of the Legislative Council, is charged with the responsibility to audit the State of Idaho’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) and perform the annual Federal Single Audit required by federal regulations. Their audit reports are published online. Don Berg is Manager of the Division.[1]

Donna M. Jones has been Idaho State Controller since 2007. The Idaho state controller is one of seven statewide elected constitutional officers in the executive branch of Idaho state government and serves a four-year term. In 1994, a constitutional amendment passed by Idaho voters changed the name of the state auditor to state controller. This amendment granted the state controller the authority to establish statewide internal pre-audit accounting controls to assure state funds are spent properly. The amendment transferred post-audit functions to the Legislative Services Office enabling separation of accounting and after-the-fact auditing operations.[2]

The state controller is the chief fiscal officer of the state of Idaho, responsible for:[3]

  • Maintaining all accounting and financial records
  • Paying all the state’s bills and employees
  • Preparing the state’s annual financial report
  • Operating the state’s Computer Service Center

In a report published in May 2012, The Institute for Truth in Accounting (IFTA) rated Idaho “Timely” 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.[4] Idaho's CAFRs are published online by the Idaho State Controller.[5]

Accounting transparency checklist

Truth 3.png

Comprehensive Y
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Balanced budget Y
600px-Yes check.png
Timeliness Y
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Usability P

The good

  • The website has Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFR) dating back to 1996.[6]
  • An independent auditor’s report is published on page 2 of the document.[6]
  • It provides supplements to the budget workup, such as non-major Governmental funds, starting on page 105 of the document.
  • The budget is posted using organized and consistent methods of financial reporting.
  • Idaho law requires a balanced budget and prohibits a deficit at the end of the year to be carried over to the following year.[7]
  • It includes all costs incurred by the government, including future liabilities, starting on page 139 of the document.
  • The CAFR compares estimated and actual budgetary numbers, such as on page 98 of the document.
  • The Idaho office was timely in submitting the budget.

The bad

  • The CAFR is posted in PDF format, so it’s not searchable online.

External links