Audit approval brings recognition of financial management

The approval of the Council’s annual audit report may not be a red letter day on everyone’s calendar, but for all those involved in the tireless work during the audit it marks a significant milestone.

Wednesday’s endorsement by the Audit, Risk and Scrutiny committee marked the end of a fast, efficient and successful piece of work by our own teams and the external auditors from KPMG. The report can be viewed in full here.

I’ve highlighted before the way accounting deadlines and processes have been moved forward and it was pleasing to see auditors noting the success of that accelerated programme in their report.

A great deal of planning and work has gone into stepping up the pace of reporting and my appreciation goes to all involved. As KPMG noted, completed draft accounts for 2018/19 were approved by the end of April – against a statutory deadline of June 30 for unaudited accounts. We’re leading the way among Scottish local authorities.

Of course it’s important to say auditors didn’t only praise the speed of delivery, they also highlighted the quality of the annual accounts. A great credit to Jonathan Belford and the finance cluster.

The Council’s approach to financial management was a focus of the report, with strong leadership and budgetary controls commended, and that will continue to be a foundation for us as we build for the future.

Members of the audit committee expressed their thanks to all of the staff who have been involved in the year end process, the endeavours are appreciated.

The financial challenges remain, but we can take pride in the way we are facing up to those and innovating in all areas of our business. The work being done by finance to evolve and push boundaries is a great example of that approach in action.