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November 12, 2002

ULM receives outstanding audit

The University of Louisiana at Monroe has received an "unqualified opinion," the highest mark possible, for its most recent audit for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2002, according to State Legislative Auditor Dan Kyle.

Kyle made the report public at a news conference held Tuesday at ULM. "I think the positive results of this audit reflect the hard work and dedicated effort the University and the University of Louisiana System Board have committed to resolving the financial reporting problems that have engulfed the University in the past three years," said Kyle.

Last year ULM received a "qualified opinion" on their audit. At that time, Kyle stated that an "unqualified opinion" was a reasonable goal for this year's audit.

University of Louisiana System President Sally Clausen commended ULM President James Cofer and his staff for making the improvements that led to this year's favorable audit. "The public rightly holds its universities to a higher standard of excellence and accountability. I thank Dr. Cofer and his staff for ensuring that ULM lives up to that standard," Clausen said.

UL System Board of Supervisors Chairman Gordon Pugh called the positive audit "a tribute to Cofer's leadership".

Cofer said he is hopeful that the audit report will satisfy the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) when it considers lifting the University's accreditation warning status in December.

"We are very pleased with the opinion and appreciate the cooperation and assistance we have received from Dr. Kyle and his staff. We are also very appreciative of the work conducted by Vice President for Business Affairs Robert Turner and his staff," said Cofer.

There were three findings reported and Turner indicated that "those areas have been addressed and action is being taken to satisfy those concerns."

The findings related to (1) grant accounting procedures, (2) an information system disaster recovery plan, and (3) bookstore controls. In the auditor's opinion, none of these reportable findings were considered to be material weaknesses in internal control or compliance.

Turner said, "This year's audit represented significant additional effort because in additional to the normal requirements, a new audit reporting procedure has been initiated by the state for all state colleges and universities and that conversion was time consuming."

"I want to commend Alisia Kincaid Hale (assistant to the Vice President for Business Affairs) for the role she played in this endeavor. All of the financial statements issued in the audit report are in accordance with the new standards of reporting and we are pleased with the result," said Turner.

Upon completion of the audit, state legislative audit representatives praised ULM officials for their efforts in successfully converting to the new reporting standards issued by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB).

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