Virginia government accounting principles

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The Auditor of Public Accounts, Walter J. Kucharski, is the independent auditor serving the Commonwealth of Virginia. The state's audit reports are published on their Web site. The Auditor of Public Accounts is part of the legislative branch of Virginia government and reports through the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) of the General Assembly. This structure provides independence from the executive and judicial branch agencies we audit. Article IV Section 18 of the Constitution of Virginia established the Auditor of Public Accounts and Code of Virginia §30-130 through §30-142 sets forth the requirements of the Office.[1]

In a report published in May 2012, The Institute for Truth in Accounting (IFTA) rated Virginia “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.[2] Virginia's CAFRs are publications of the Virginia Department of Accounts in accordance with Section 2.2-813 of the Code of Virginia. The Department, under the direction of the State Comptroller (David A. Von Moll), is responsible for:[3]

  • Providing a unified financial accounting and control system for state funds
  • Developing a comprehensive system of checks and balances between state agencies entrusted with the collection, receipt and disbursement of state revenues
  • Maintaining a central accounting system for all state agencies and institutions.

Accounting transparency checklist

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Comprehensive Y
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Balanced budget Y
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Timeliness Y
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Usability P

The good

  • The website has Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFR) dating back to 2002.[4]
  • An independent auditor’s report is published on page 24 of the document.[5]
  • It provides supplements to the budget workup, starting on page 164.
  • The budget is posted using organized and consistent methods of financial reporting.
  • Virginia law requires a balanced budget and a deficit is forbidden.[6]
  • It includes all costs incurred by the government, including long-term liabilities, starting on page 258 of the document.[5]
  • The CAFR compares estimated and actual budgetary numbers, such as on page 190 of the document.[5]
  • The Virginia office was timely in submitting the budget.

The bad

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

External links