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Uniform accounting system for municipalities

Filipe Naigulevu
Thursday, November 02, 2017

IMPLEMENTING a uniform accounting software in all municipal councils nationwide would ease identifying and addressing anomalies raised during external audits, says Opposition MP Aseri Radrodro.

This issue was raised during the Lautoka City Council's submission to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Accounts on the 2014 Auditor-General's Report on municipal councils.

The recommendation for a uniform accounting software was also made by Mr Radrodro, who is also a committee member, to a Ministry of Local Government representative who was part of the sitting.

"We note that the councils have different accounting softwares," Mr Radrodro said.

"What's the ministry's (Ministry of Local Government) view in terms of an extended software for all the municipalities, otherwise they will be making applications on their own with similar problems, but in a different software."

Committee deputy chairperson Mohammed Dean highlighted that a common accounting software was being used by several councils which had sort of created problems in tabling accounts.

It was also made known in the meeting that the local government ministry was looking into this which had been clarified in their past sitting with councils.

The issue was red flagged after Lautoka City Council made several adjustments to the income and expense accounts for the year ended December 31, 2012 without providing supporting documents for these journals for verification.

The adjustments to the accounts amounted to $1,481,148 and $714,976 respectively through general journal entries.

Consequently, the Auditor-General was unable to satisfy himself if these adjustments were correctly taken up in the general ledger and whether income and expenditure was correctly stated in the financial statements.

Responding to queries on this from the committee, council manager accounts Prabin Lal stated the issue was a misposting of income and expenses on a different account.

"It was just a correction.

"It was basically a transfer from one account to another account and at that point in time we were not able to provide the documents," said Mr Lal.

"This amount is not only one entry, but a combination of entries.

"The council has already deployed an accounting software which has been effective from 2014.

"All journal entries are passed through the system which generated that journals. Supporting documents are being also filed now."

Mr Lal said in moving forward, general vouchers and all relevant documents were being attached in the files.

"We have adopted an accounting software, MYOB, and we also developed a customer management system to manage our rates and other business affairs so we integrate this," he said.

The report also highlighted that an un-reconciled variance of $643,428 existed between the rate debtors' listing and general ledger.

Consequently, the Auditor-General was unable to satisfy himself if receivable of $4,550,547 is fairly stated in the financial statements.

Mr Lal said the council had done the reconciliation by verifying these 8163 ratepayers account from 1999 to 2013.

"Currently the financial statements, the reconciliation and the adjustments have been done," he said.

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