Punctuality key in university’s audit

Florida A&M University’s operational audit began July 28. Interim President Castell V. Bryant has put new measures in place to reach her goal of maintaining and improving FAMU’s accountability and financial soundness in the 2006-2007 operational audits.

“All it takes is responding to the auditors’ request by providing the information asked and to do so in a timely manner,” Bryant said about preparing for the audit.

To make sure the audit runs smoothly, the university is continuing to work with KPMG International, the accounting firm that worked on the university’s 2004-2005 audit. Bryant said she believes if all the paperwork goes through one division, everything can be done accurately and in a timely manner.

Vice President of the Division of Compliance and Audit Rufus Little is the person responsible for maintaining the auditors’ request. Regulatory Compliance Liaison Tanya Robinson, who will assist Little, is the first person to see the auditors’ request. She must respond to the state auditor within 72 hours. To deal with auditors’requests accurately, Robinson will first review the material given to her. She then decides which person or department should receive it. If a problem appears and a request cannot be completed in 72 hours, a transmittal letter is issued by the department responsible and sent to the auditor general office located in 407 Foote-Hilyer.

A transmittal letter tells why the request will not be completed in the required time frame and gives the request an extension. The transmittal letter must be signed, dated and have the time the auditor received it. This ensures things are being done in a timely fashion.

“We have been timely on a big portion of requested information,” Robinson said. “The information that has not been timely is due (at) the beginning of the school year. The students are our first priority.”

Robinson and Joseph Bakker, assistant vice president of fiscal affairs, developed a spreadsheet to log the process of storing the auditors’ request data, the person designated to handle the request and when the request are completed.

“This new process is working well. It isn’t the best but it is a start,” Robinson said. “The process will be easier in the near future when a tracking database is developed. When things are being done on a spread sheet there will be human error.”The Division of Compliance and Audit will develop an external hotline to allow faculty and students to report any inappropriate behavior and remain anonymous.

“This office should have been open 20 years ago!” Robinson said.

Robinson referred to the compliance office as the cornerstone of the university.

“We are responsible for making sure things are done correctly. We don’t want FAMU to lose accreditation,” Robinson said. FAMU will continue to enact policies to restore the university’s financial state.

“This is my University as much as it is anybody else’s. I graduated from FAMU and I’m here to make sure our university lasts,” Bryant said.

She went on to say that Gov. Jeb Bush, the board of governors and the board of trustees all share a common vision of doing what is best for the university.

Lyndon Dallas, 23, a senior business administration and psychology student from Tampa, said he sees the improvements of FAMU under Bryant’s leadership. “I can appreciate that Dr. Bryant is beginning to make a change at our university and I hope the progress continues,” Dallas said.”Students should not be alarmed. The operational audit is done every 2 years at every university,” said acting inspector general Larry Tromly.

“The audit is ongoing. Mo matter if we are the worst or the greatest university we would have to go through this, it is just procedure,” Tromly said.

Bryant said as long as the university stays within budget, responds to the auditors in a timely manner and continues to have progression in its financials, FAMU has nothing to worry about.