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Illinois government accounting principles

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The Illinois Auditor General is William G. Holland. Since August 1992, William G. Holland has served as Auditor General of the State of Illinois. He was appointed by the General Assembly to a ten-year term commencing August 1, 1992. He was unanimously re-appointed to a second ten-year term, effective August 1, 2002, and a third ten-year term in 2012.[1]

The Auditor General is a constitutional officer of the State of Illinois charged with reviewing the obligation, expenditure, receipt and use of public funds. The office issues approximately 150 post-audits of State agencies each year, reviewing an agency's financial records, compliance with State and federal laws and regulations, and program performance after the close of its fiscal year. Report digests (summaries) and full audit reports of released audits are available online.[2]

The Illinois State Comptroller is Daniel W. Hynes, who has had 3 terms since first elected in November of 1998. The Comptroller's Office was created by the Constitutional Convention of 1970 as an expanded replacement for the Office of the Auditor of Public Accounts.[3]

In a report published in May 2012, The Institute for Truth in Accounting (IFTA) rated Illinois “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.[4] Illinois’ CAFRs are published online by the Illinois State Comptroller.[5]

Governor Pat Quinn joined with Attorney General Lisa Madigan and members of the Illinois Reform Commission on August 17, 2009 to sign bills to increase transparency and accountability in state government. The legislation strengthened the Illinois Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and ensured the state’s boards and commissions are open and accessible to the public. The website made the State’s expenditures and employee pay data available through a single, searchable portal:[6]

Accounting transparency checklist

Truth 0.png

Comprehensive P
Balanced budget N
600px-Red x.png
Timeliness N
600px-Red x.png
Usability P

The good

  • The CAFR contains its required information, including required supplementary information.
  • Audits are published on the government website.
  • Illinois is required to provide a "balanced" budget, though it may roll a deficit over to the next year.[7]
  • The Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFR) are published dating back to 2000.
  • The CAFR uses organized and consistent methods of financial reporting.

The bad

  • The CAFR report does not include actual vs. estimated numbers
  • The CAFR was not submitted on time. Illinois is one of the worst in the nation for timeliness in budget reporting.
  • There is a deficit in the budget, making it not balanced.
  • The CAFR is in PDF format and is not searchable online.

External links