College approves contract with Cheyenne-based auditing firm

May 8, 2014 By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

In January, Central Wyoming College advertised for the services and received one proposal.

The Central Wyoming College Board of Trustees approved a new three-year contract with its current auditing firm during a regular meeting in March.

McGee, Hearne and Paiz, LLP, offered its audit services at a cost of $73,000 for fiscal year 2014, $76,700 for fiscal year 2015 and $80,500 for fiscal year 2016. Ron Granger, CWC's vice president for administrative services, said he was pleased with the price, which has gone down.

"Usually (firms ask for) a 4-5 percent raise," he said. "(But this is) about $10,000 less for next year than this year. ... Even if you go to 2016, that's less than what we paid this last year. So we feel very good about this."

CWC's last contract with the Cheyenne-based auditing firm expired at the conclusion of the fiscal year 2013 audit. In January, the college advertised for auditing services for the next three years and received one proposal, from MHP.

"We were a little disappointed we only got one audit firm to reply to us," Granger said. "(But) we feel we have good auditors, and that's who sent their application to us again this year."

Audit firm rotation

MHP has been conducting CWC's audits since 2007, with Wayne Herr overseeing the process as engagement partner.

According to the Governmental Accounting, Auditing, and Financial Reporting Blue Book, some professionals advise governments to hire new auditing firms on a regular basis in order to "preserve the auditor's independence from management" and provide a "fresh perspective."

The blue book goes on to note, however, that the "high level of specialized expertise" required in a government audit often limits the number of qualified firms available locally. Therefore, a requirement to change audit firms could result in a contract with a less qualified company.

The Government Finance Officers Association recommends governments undertake "a full-scale, competitive audit procurement process" at the end of each audit contract, without excluding any current auditing firms.

In its audit proposal, MHP said mandatory audit firm rotation has not been determined to improve audit effectiveness.

The company also audits the Wyoming Public Broadcasting Service, which operates under the direction of the CWC Board of Trustees. Ruby Calvert, general manager at WPBS, said MHP's experience working with her group has made the audit process more efficient over time.

"They're now familiar with all of our accounting systems, and we're all prepared when they come in," Calvert said. "I think they were here fewer days (this year)."

She added that the cost for audit services through MHP has gone down at WPBS as well.

MHP also works with Eastern Wyoming College, Laramie County Community College, Northwest College and the University of Wyoming.

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