NC State Auditor releases report on the Vance County Clerk of Superior Court: The results of our audit identified deficiencies in internal control and/or instances of noncompliance that are considered reportable under Government Auditing Standards. These items included: (1) The Clerk’s Office did not compel the timely filing of estate inventories in accordance with state law; (2) Staff in the Clerk’s Office had the ability to change and/or delete information in multiple systems, resulting in inadequate segregation of duties. Details about each item are provided in the Audit Findings, Recommendations, and Responses section of the report.
Our audit scope covered the period July 1, 2014 through January 31, 2015. During our audit, we considered internal control related to the following objectives:
Cash – The Clerk’s Office collects various fines, fees, and court costs daily, as well as collections for bonds, judgments, and other matters. We examined internal controls designed to ensure that the Clerk properly safeguards and accounts for cash receipts. We also examined internal controls designed to ensure compliance with laws and regulations related to depositing cash receipts. During the audit period, the Clerk collected $2,840,071 in cash.
Estates – The Clerk’s Office ensures all estates are charged an application fee plus an assessment based on the value of the estate’s inventory. An estate inventory is to be filed by the representative of the estate. We examined internal controls designed to ensure that the Clerk properly obtains an inventory for each estate in compliance with laws and regulations. We also examined internal controls designed to ensure compliance with laws and regulations related to the appropriate assessment and collection of estate fees. During the audit period, the Clerk collected $57,631 in estate fees.
Bond Forfeitures – The Clerk’s Office ensures that all motions or orders to set aside bond forfeitures meet specified criteria and are supported by required documentation. We examined internal controls designed to ensure compliance with laws and regulations related to the processing of these bond forfeitures. During the audit period, $753,070 in bond forfeitures were set aside.
To accomplish the audit objectives, auditors gained an understanding of the Clerk’s internal control over matters described in the Audit Objectives and Scope section of this report and evaluated the design of the internal control. Auditors then performed further audit procedures consisting of tests of control effectiveness and/or substantive procedures that provide evidence about our audit objectives. Specifically, auditors interviewed personnel, observed operations, reviewed policies, analyzed accounting records, and examined documentation supporting recorded transactions and balances, as considered necessary in the circumstances. Whenever sampling was used, we applied a nonstatistical approach, but chose sample sizes comparable to those that would have been determined statistically. As a result, we were able to project our results to the population but not quantify the sampling risk.
As a basis for evaluating internal control, we applied the internal control guidance contained in professional auditing standards. As discussed in the standards, internal control consists of five interrelated components: (1) control environment, (2) risk assessment, (3) control activities, (4) information and communication, and (5) monitoring.
We conducted this audit in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards applicable to performance audits. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. We believe that the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives.
You may download the full report and findings here: FCA-2015-2190.pdf