Torfaen County Borough Council
Torfaen County Borough Council (the Council) staff have a very positive attitude to the process of preparing the final accounts.
This attitude is held by the senior management team including the Chief Executive and the Chief Financial Officer as well as the Finance staff. They respect the statutory deadlines and the need for audit to have access to all relevant documentation and access to key staff at certain times. Regular meetings between the audit team and the Chief Executive, the Chief Financial Officer, the Head of Internal Audit and the Chief Accountant all help to identify risk areas and keep abreast of progress.
The Council's positive attitude results in it taking the initiative for relevant finance staff to attend technical training, researching new technical accounting (such as CIPFA Statement of Recommended Practice requirements) at an early stage, enquiring of the latest available technical guidance and audit requirements from the Wales Audit Office, and seeking assistance from the audit team on potential problem areas as they arise.
The Council's positive attitude contributes to:
This approach also puts Torfaen in a favourable position in the event that requirements change (such as the forthcoming IFRSs on which finance staff have been undertaking training, as well as any potential move to an earlier closing timetable) because they are interested to make early progress, and undertake detailed planning and management of the accounts production, working together with the audit team to ensure outputs are produced on time.
The outcomes from the Council's approach include fewer audit adjustments, simple clearance meetings and audit committees and the maintenance of a very positive client/audit relationship in which post project learning exercises involve praise as well as points for improvement. There are also instances where the Council asks the audit team for assistance on technical issues such as fixed asset circularisation exercises, pensions, VAT accounting and the use of electronic files, rather than taking their own view on such things and not involving the auditors. By working together with the Wales Audit Office a constructive accounts compilation and smooth audit clearance process is achieved.
Contact Name: David Lilly
Contact Role: Chief Accountant
Contact Email: David.Lilly@torfaen.gov.uk