The Erie County Comptroller is the independently elected official responsible under Article 18 of the Erie County Charter and Article 12 of the Administrative Code for performing the accounting, auditing, financial reporting and fiscal functions of the County. The Comptroller is the Chief Accounting and Reporting Officer, Chief Auditing Officer and Chief Fiscal Officer. Through the Division of Audit and Control, the Comptroller also manages the County’s Whistleblower Hotline, which protects taxpayers by combating waste, fraud and abuse in county government.
The Comptroller’s Office serves as the county and taxpayer’s independent fiscal watchdog, providing fiscal leadership, ensuring fiscal integrity, timely and accurate reporting, and maintaining public trust and accountability through audits, reviews, reports and investigations.
ACCOUNTING, REPORTING, COLLECTIONS AND FISCAL
Under the direction of the Comptroller, the County’s official accounting records are maintained and analyzed for propriety, consistency and compliance with legal requirements, policies, procedures and Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) applicable to governmental entities. Reports are provided to the Legislature,CountyExecutive, Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority, and taxpayers regarding the fiscal condition of the County and the adequacy of and compliance with the County's system of internal accounting controls.
As the Chief Accounting and Reporting Officer, the Comptroller's responsibilities include maintaining the County's computerized general ledger, records of appropriations, encumbrances, expenditures and revenues, and preparing interim quarterly financial statements, annual financial statements and the County-wide Cost Allocation Plan. The Erie County Charter requires that the Comptroller prescribe accounting procedures to departments in accordance with GAAP.
As the Chief Fiscal Officer, the Comptroller oversees fiscal affairs of the County. Primary functions include the receipt and investment of County funds, disbursement of funds, structure and sale of notes to meet the short-term cash needs of the County, and structure and sale of bonds for approved capital projects. The Comptroller also provides investment services to several County officials who maintain their own bank accounts. The Comptroller serves as the financial advisor and chief accountant to theBuffaloand Erie County Public Library, which is a separate legal corporation. The Comptroller is responsible for payment of all debt service and maintaining an agency fund and, as part of such responsibilities, serves as the banker for state, county, and city courts.
Program and Service Objectives
- Develop and promulgate accounting policies, procedures and guidelines to all County departments in accordance with GAAP.
- Review, process and validate departmental accounting transactions for accruals, encumbrances, expenditures and revenues, and ensure transactions are in compliance with established policies and procedures and within authorized appropriations.
- Ensure reconciliation of the County’s bank accounts.
- Develop and provide timely, accurate and informative accounting reports to the County-wide electeds, Legislature and departments for managerial use and control.
- Prepare the County's quarterly interim and annual financial statements, the annual financial report to the New York State Comptroller, and other financial reports as required, and assist the County's consultant in preparation of the County-wide Cost Allocation Plan.
- Optimize the income from investments.
- The primary objectives of the investment program are as follows in order of importance: compliance with legal requirements; safeguarding of principal; ensuring sufficient liquidity; and obtaining a reasonable rate of return.
- Make timely and accurate disbursement of all funds consistent with the best interests of the County and vendor requirements.
- Ensure the availability of cash resources as needed for the day-to-day operation of County government and the completion of authorized capital projects.
- Develop effective plans, policies and procedures for the borrowing and investment of funds in compliance with New York State Law.
- Working with the County’s financial advisor and bond counsel, prepare all official statements for bond and note sales.
- Evaluate various financing alternatives available to the County and structure financing plans to meet County needs.
- Identify and investigate questionable transactions uncovered in the pre-audit review of payment requests submitted by departments.
- Timely deposit all revenues received to improve the County’s cash flow.
- Monitor the collection of County property taxes during the period in which collection and recording is a mandated responsibility of local municipal tax receivers.
AUDIT AND CONTROL
Financial audits performed by the Division of Audit and Control are designed to ensure that assets are safeguarded against unauthorized use or disposition; that transactions are executed in accordance with general or specific authorization of the charter, code, relevant statutes or legislative resolution; and that all transactions are properly recorded in accordance with GAAP. Management and performance audits are intended to measure the efficiency of operations within departments, agencies and organizations. Special audits are conducted at the request of theCountyExecutiveand the Legislature. The Division of Audit and Control also conducts special in-depth reviews and investigations on a range of issues and functions in County government.
Program and Service Objectives
- Maximize the efficiency of the internal audit operation in a way that is beneficial to the Administration of the County, the Offices of our independently elected officials, and the various County departments and divisions.
- Perform audits and reviews that will have a positive impact for the County taxpayers through decreasing expenditures and maximizing potential revenues based on the results of the risk assessment.
- Increase the awareness and effectiveness of the Comptroller’s whistleblower tipline for the public to report waste, fraud and abuse.