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This report compiles the status of recommendations from our 2020 financial statement audits of post-secondary institutions. It also includes a report card on each institution’s financial reporting processes and internal controls with comparative assessments from our 2019 and 2018 audits.

Preparation of Financial Statements

We issued unqualified audit opinions on the 2020 financial statements of the 20 post-secondary institutions we audit.

Aside from the challenges of the pandemic, a few institutions had challenges in maintaining the sustainability of their financial reporting processes and internal controls. Olds College needs to improve its financial reporting processes. To issue an unqualified audit opinion on the college’s financial statements, we required management to make adjustments to the financial statements presentation and disclosures not adequately dealt within their financial reporting processes. We provided observations to improve processes and internal controls for the Alberta University of the Arts and NorQuest College, which, if not improved, could result in reduced accuracy of future financial reporting. Management and the board of governors of the institutions have communicated their desire to make these improvements.

Outstanding Recommendations

Eight institutions have 11 outstanding recommendations. Of the 11 outstanding recommendations, we reported one earlier than 2018.

New Recommendations

We issued a new recommendation to NorQuest College to implement consistent cloud computing processes related to data security and monitoring of cloud providers’ controls. We also issued a new recommendation to Medicine Hat College to improve its purchasing processes, and to Olds College to improve its financial reporting processes.

Implemented Recommendations

Four institutions implemented recommendations during the year. MacEwan University strengthened controls supporting key financial and business processes. The Southern Alberta Institute of Technology improved its network user access controls. The University of Calgary improved its internal control program to mitigate key financial risks.

Keyano College improved its financial reporting processes, implementing our recommendation from 2016.