Cowan City Hall

The city of Cowan’s most recent audit had only one finding for segregation of duties, and Certified Public Accountant Amanda Lockhart said the overall review has determined the city is in good financial shape.

Lockhart, a partner with the Bean, Rhoton & Kelley PLLC accounting firm, based in Winchester, said the segregation-of-duties finding is based on an employee staff shortage, but overall, it was a very good audit.

“You’ve done as close as you can get to a perfect audit with one finding,” Lockhart said.

With a minimal staff including two office employees, Cowan falls short in complying with state requirements to handle certain office functions.

As an example, under ideal circumstances, the state desires to have one employee get mail, another to open it, another to read it and one to write checks. The objective is oversight to reduce fraud potential.

In addition to the two office employees, Mayor Joyce Brown has served as a third person in helping with the office-related functions, but even with her efforts, the process falls short of the state requirements.

Lockhart said it would be difficult for Cowan, with its small-scale operations, to be able to meet the state’s standards, but the process will continue to be monitored.

The city’s comments in the audit say:

“While we realize that a complete segregation of duties is monetarily impossible to achieve, we continually strive to monitor the situation and implement as many controls as possible.”