State Auditor Nicole Galloway released the report of her regularly scheduled audit of Lawrence County, located in southwest Missouri. The report, which gives a rating of “fair,” is the first audit of the county since a 2016 audit gave the county a rating of “poor” – the lowest possible – and the subsequent 2017 follow-up report
Auditors made several recommendations to improve accounting controls in the office of the County Collector. The Collector’s office collected approximately $30.3 million in property taxes and other receipts during the year ended February 28, 2021. Auditors found that office personnel do not always issue receipt slips, do not always record the method of payment accurately in the property tax system, and do not reconcile the composition of receipts to the compositions of deposits. In addition, the County Collector did not prepare adequate bank reconciliations, did not prepare monthly lists of liabilities to reconcile to available cash balances, and lacked procedures to properly handle outstanding checks.
The audit report also recommended improved controls and procedures over the property tax system and recommended improvements in the offices of the Public Administrator and the Sheriff.
Auditors also found that cybersecurity controls over county computers are not sufficient. As a result, county records are not adequately protected and are susceptible to unauthorized access or loss of data. The audit recommended that the county require confidential passwords for each employee that contain a minimum number of characters and are periodically changed to prevent unauthorized access to county computers and data.
A complete copy of the report is available here.