Last Late Audit?

City submits FY23 one day late and says FY24 is on track

The City of Santa Fe submitted its Fiscal Year 2023 audit Thursday afternoon—one day late of its own self-imposed deadline, and five months short of the state one.

However, Finance Director Emily Oster says the trend of late submissions is coming to an end. The city is in what she describes as “an on cycle timeframe” for the FY24 audit, which begins with submitting a draft contract to the State Auditor’s Office—something city officials did this week. Next, she says, the city will execute the contract in July.

“We’ll begin the audit right away after that,” Oster says. “I believe that puts us on track for an on-time submission of the FY24 audit by Dec. 15.”

Oster, who joined the city team in August 2022, has led a team tasked with catching up on years worth of late audits from City Hall. Prior to the FY23 audit, officials turned in the city’s FY22 audit more than eight months behind schedule, and before that the city’s audits for 2021, 2020, 2019 and 2018 were also late.

The FY23 audit review, completed by the Office of the State Auditor, will be expedited, Oster says, pointing to a four-to-six week timeline for the report to come back. “I hope it will be closer to four, but that’s what we’ve seen on prior audits,” she explains.

The FY23 audit was completed alongside external auditor Carr, Riggs & Ingram and consultant CliftonLarsonAllen which provides accounting services for the city. The City Council approved a contract in September 2023 with the Carr, Riggs & Ingram accounting firm to compile the FY23 audit for $269,454.

“Completing three audits in less than a year is a massive amount of work. It’s a massive amount of work for the city staff, for contractors, for the auditors themselves—they were working on a very compressed timeline,” Oster says. “That’s taken incredible dedication and commitment. A typical government entity would complete one audit in the same time that we’ve completed three.”

In a statement issued by the city announcing its submission of the audit, Mayor Alan Webber underscored that point, saying: “Completing three audits in less than 11 months is a monumental achievement. I’m enormously proud of the work of the whole city team.”

Per the city news release, the audit will not be released publicly until it has been reviewed by the state auditor.

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