But scope for improvement in financial reporting and for Local Government sector in-particular, to meet the challenge of earlier closure.
His first report focuses on Central Government bodies in Wales. It concludes that the standard of central government accounts and supporting working papers are good and all bodies submitted their accounts on time. However, there remains scope to improve quality assurance arrangements in some instances. Having robust quality assurance processes in place plays an important part in determining the quality of accounts submitted to audit. The report highlights examples of what good quality assurance looks like.
The Auditor General’s second report, on local government bodies, concludes that in general they are improving the quality and timeliness of their annual financial statements. The sector is rising to the challenge of meeting the shortened deadlines for financial reporting with many bodies already making significant progress to meeting the earlier deadlines. Over the next few years, more needs to be done to meet the earlier reporting deadlines whilst ensuring the quality and accuracy of the financial statements.
Our Good Practice Exchange team provide a series of free seminars and webinars on earlier closure. Information and materials are available online to help public bodies get to grips with the challenges of the new requirements.
Auditor General, Huw Vaughan Thomas said: “Both central and local government bodies are continuing to improve the way they are preparing and reporting their financial statements. This is encouraging news. But the challenges they face are increasing – through legislative change in Wales, continued economic pressures and new financial reporting requirements. That’s why it’s so important that the messages in my reports today are heeded – so that the public sector can keep a close grip on financial management in tough times.”