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Oklahoma government accounting principles

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The Oklahoma State Auditor and Inspector audits state and local agencies in the state and publishes its audit reports online. The Oklahoma State Auditor and Inspector is a statewide elected position serving a 4-year term. The office of Examiner and Inspector and the State Auditor was consolidated in a special election on July 22, 1975. Steve Burrage was appointed to the position by Gov. Henry on July 10, 2008 after the June 16, 2008 resignation of Jeff A. McMahan under indictment for accepting improper cash and gifts from an Oklahoma businessman.[1][2]

In a report published in May 2012, The Institute for Truth in Accounting (IFTA) rated Oklahoma “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.[3] Oklahoma's CAFRs are annual publications of the Oklahoma Office of State Finance and prepared by the Division of Central Accounting and Reporting. The Oklahoma State Comptroller directs the daily operations of the Division of Central Accounting and Reporting. Brenda Bolander is Oklahoma's State Comptroller and Michael Clingman is Director (appointed by the Governor and approved by the Senate) of the Oklahoma Office of State Finance.[4]

Oklahoma OpenBooks is the name of the publicly available website created by the Oklahoma government. It discloses information about Oklahoma's spending and budget, and is managed by the Office of State Finance. It is one of the few state websites that passes all five criteria of the Sunshine Review's transparency checklist.

The cost of creating the Oklahoma OpenBooks Web site was approximately $40,000. The Web site was paid for out of existing Office of State Finance funds, staff and through achieved efficiencies. A few members of the Office of State Finance Information Services Division and Administrative Division staff were used on a part time basis in addition to the services of the company that manages the State's site,

The Oklahoma OpenBooks page provides a searchable database of state expenditures and revenues. How often the Office of State Finance updates the database varies, depending upon the type of information being updated. For example, payroll and expenditures information is updated monthly, whereas the list of vendors is updated annually.[5]

Accounting transparency checklist

Truth 1.png

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

The good

  • The website has Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFR) dating back to 1994.[6]
  • An independent auditor’s report is published on page 21 of the document.[7]
  • It provides supplements to the budget workup, starting on page 117.
  • The budget is posted using organized and consistent methods of financial reporting.
  • Oklahoma law requires a balanced budget and a deficit is forbidden.[8]
  • It includes all costs incurred by the government, including long-term liabilities, starting on page 51 of the document.[7]
  • The CAFR compares estimated and actual budgetary numbers, such as on page 119 of the document.[7]

The bad

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

External links