Iowa government accounting principles

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The Iowa State Auditor is David A. Vaudt. The Auditor of State is a constitutional official, elected every four years. The Auditor is required to annually make a complete audit of the books, records and accounts of every department of state government. Iowa’s audit reports are published online.[1]

The Iowa Department of Administrative Services (DAS) was created on July 1, 2003. Ray Walton became Chief Operating Officer of the Department of Administrative Services in 2007. DAS Core consists of[2]:

  • Finance and Operations
  • Legal Counsel
  • Legislative Liaison
  • Marketing and Communications

In a report published in May 2012, The Institute for Truth in Accounting (IFTA) rated Iowa “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.[3] Iowa’s CAFRs are published online by the Iowa Department of Management.[4]

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 1997.[5]
  • 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 94 of the document.
  • The budget is posted using organized and consistent methods of financial reporting.
  • Iowa law requires a balanced budget.[7]
  • It includes all costs incurred by the government, including future liabilities, starting on page 137 of the document.
  • The CAFR compares estimated and actual budgetary numbers, such as on page 100 of the document.
  • The Iowa office was timely in submitting the budget.

The bad

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

Iowa House File 801, which would have created a transparency database, died in the state Senate, despite passing the House by 96-3.[8]

External links