This report includes an update on the report card on internal controls over financial reporting, together with comparative assessments from our 2013 and 2012 audits of colleges, technical institutions, MacEwan University and Mount Royal University. Our October 2014 report provided our observations on Athabasca University, University of Alberta, University of Calgary and University of Lethbridge.
Financial Statement Preparation
Each institution made improvements to internal controls and processes to promptly prepare reliable financial statements.
Alberta College of Art + Design significantly improved its financial reporting internal controls and processes in the year. As previously demonstrated at MacEwan University and NorQuest College, significant improvements to financial reporting processes can be possible in a short period of time if the board of governors holds management accountable for implementing and maintaining those processes.
Olds College and Northern Lakes College added more qualified individuals to their finance departments and began to revise controls and processes to improve their financial reporting. Significant improvements are still required to improve the financial reporting controls and processes at both institutions.
Unanticipated changes in an organization can impact management’s ability to sustain strong financial reporting annually. Lakeland College had changes in key finance personnel which contributed to accuracy and disclosure deficiencies being identified in the college’s draft financial reporting. We expect Lakeland College will restore effective financial reporting in fiscal 2015.
We issued unqualified audit opinions on the financial statements of all post-secondary institutions in fiscal 2014.
Alberta College of Art + Design significantly improved its overall internal control environment. The college implemented five of ten outstanding recommendations including a recommendation to improve financial reporting processes. The college must continue to focus on implementing its remaining recommendations in fiscal 2015.
MacEwan University, Medicine Hat College and Northern Lakes College also implemented numerous outstanding recommendations in the year, strengthening their overall internal control environments. Portage College reduced its outstanding recommendations by one during fiscal 2014 however, it must continue to focus on its remaining four outstanding recommendations, half of which were originally issued over three years ago.
Olds College and Northern Lakes College are the only institutions with an outstanding recommendation to significantly improve their financial reporting processes. We conclude that given the significance of those processes, immediate attention is required to implement improvements.
There were no new or repeated recommendations to post-secondary institutions in fiscal 2014.