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Maine government accounting principles

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Maine’s audit reports are published online by the Department of Audit. The Maine Department of Audit's primary responsibility is to audit the financial statements of the State of Maine and expenditures of federal programs. Neria R. Douglass has been State Auditor since 2005. The Auditor’s statutory authority are under Title 5, Chapter 11 of Maine’s Revised Statutes.[1]

In a report published in May 2012, The Institute for Truth in Accounting (IFTA) rated Maine “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] Maine's CAFRs are published online by the Office of State Controller. Edward A. Karass is the State Controller of Maine.[3]

The Office of the State Controller has the following functions:[4]

  • Statewide support Bureau in all areas of responsibility
  • Statewide accounting and appropriation control
  • Review, approve and consolidate all accounting transactions for all agencies within the *Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches of government
  • Establish and monitor State accounting policies and procedures
  • Establish and administer State travel and expense policies
  • Review, compile and report all statewide accounting information
  • Review Statewide and agency level internal controls.

The Office of the State Controller has five divisions:[5]

  • Administration, responsible for all Financial Reporting
  • Financial Reporting and Analysis, prepares and distributes the State’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report
  • General Accounting & Records Management, monitors expenditures against appropriations
  • Internal Audit, reviews Statewide and agency level internal controls
  • Payroll, examines and audits all State payrolls

Accounting transparency checklist

Truth 2.png

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

The good

  • The website has Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFR) dating back to 2000.[6]
  • An independent auditor’s report is published on page 2 of the document.[7]
  • It provides supplements to the budget workup, such as non-major Governmental funds, starting on page 102 of the document.
  • The budget is posted using organized and consistent methods of financial reporting.
  • Maine law requires a balanced budget.[8]
  • It includes all costs incurred by the government, including long-term liabilities, starting on page 7 of the document.
  • The CAFR compares estimated and actual budgetary numbers, such as on page 102 of the document.

The bad

  • The Maine office was not precisely timely in submitting the budget.
  • The CAFR is posted in PDF format, so it’s not searchable online.

External links