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UConn 2000 audit finds accounting changes effective

by Karen A. Grava - September 17, 2007

An independent audit of $900 million in UConn 2000 expenditures from 2003 to 2006 documents that structural and systemic processes and procedures implemented by the University in 2005 were highly effective.

The audit, done by UHY LLP, a large national accounting firm with offices in New Haven, shows no “reportable conditions,” Anthony Scillia, a UHY partner told the Joint Audit and Compliance Committee of the Board of Trustees last week.

Reportable conditions involve significant deficiencies in the design or operations of internal controls that might adversely affect the University’s ability to initiate, record, process, and report financial data consistent with the assertions of management, the report says.

The audit shows that there were problems in 2003 and 2004, but that systematic and structural changes were effective. 

The changes were implemented by vice president and chief operating officer Linda Flaherty-Goldsmith and her successor, Barry Feldman, Lorraine Aronson, vice president and chief financial officer, and Bruce DeTora, chief financial officer.

Those changes included separating UConn 2000 accounting from architectural and engineering services and merging it with other accounting functions; adding staff to oversee projects; and implementing other internal controls to address problems noted in the UHY audit of 2003 and 2004.

“The changes created greater transparency, made it possible to access information instantaneously, and ensured that the information would be accurate,” says Kenneth Michael Walker, the University’s director of audit, compliance and ethics.

Scillia said there has been steady progress in improving controls. “The University has a clean bill of health going into ’07.”

The auditors noted that the lull between the first two phases of UConn 2000 and 21st Century UConn allowed time to revise procedures and correct past problems.

“We were aware that there were problems through 2004,” says Walker.

“The question was whether there was sufficient progress made, beginning with 2005.

“It’s clear from these audits that a lot of positive changes have been effectively implemented,” he adds, “and the University is now  better able to account for how our taxpayers’ money is being spent.”

The audit included some projects completed in 2003; projects completed in 2004, 2005, and 2006; and an audit of deferred maintenance and equipment projects from 1996 until 2005.

The reports were characterized as “unqualified,” Scillia said, which in accounting terms means there are no significant issues.

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