Colorado government accounting principles

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Office of the State Auditor reports to The Legislative Audit Committee. The Legislative Audit Committee (LAC) is a permanent standing committee comprised of four senators and four representatives with equal representation from the two major political parties. The Committee is responsible for reviewing and releasing audit reports and recommending special studies. The LAC also recommended an appointment for State Auditor to the leadership of the General Assembly every five years. Sally Symanski is Colorado’s state auditor. Audit reports are published online.[1]

In a report published in May 2012, The Institute for Truth in Accounting (IFTA) rated Colorado “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] Colorado’s state controller is responsible for filing the CAFR. The state controller is David J. McDermott, appointed April 1, 2008.[3]

Accounting transparency checklist

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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 Report (CAFR) dating back to 1995.
  • It provides supplements to the budget workup, such as notes.[4]
  • An independent auditor’s report is published within the CAFR on page 16.
  • The CAFR compares estimated and actual budgetary numbers in a separate report.[5]
  • The budget is posted using organized and consistent methods of financial reporting.
  • Colorado law requires a balanced budget and prohibits a deficit at the end of the year to be carried over to the following year.
  • It includes all costs incurred by the government, including future liabilities between pages 102 and 121 of the report.

The bad

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

See also:

External links