Community Colleges Finance

Audit and filing requirements

Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) §41-1279.21(A)(3) requires the Arizona Auditor General to conduct or contract for community college district audits annually.  

Additionally, community college districts that expend more than $750,000 in federal awards during a fiscal year must also have a compliance audit (single audit) under the requirements of Title 2 U.S. Code of Federal Regulations Part 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards.

We provide reporting guidelines that include illustrative examples of financial statements, disclosures, and schedules, as well as the auditors’ reports. Decision-makers can refer to the Financial Report User Guide for community college districts and universities to identify and understand the information presented in their financial reports.

Yes. A.R.S. §15-1473 requires community college districts to post their audited financial statements in a prominent location on their official websites within 7 business days of filing the reports with the Arizona Auditor General. The financial statements must be accessible on the website for at least 60 months. A.R.S. §41-1279.07 requires financial statements to be filed by March 31, within 9 months after the close of each fiscal year. For districts that do not meet the March 31 filing deadline pursuant to A.R.S. §15-1473(D), the district must post on its official website a Notice of Pending Financial Statement Filing form we prescribe. This form must be posted on the district’s website until the financial statements are filed with us.

Effective September 29, 2021, A.R.S. §15-1473, as amended by Laws 2021, Ch. 427, §3, directs that the community college district board of directors (board) require its auditors to present audit results and any findings to the board in a regular meeting without the use of a consent agenda within 90 days of audit completion. Pursuant to A.R.S. §41-1279.21, the Arizona Auditor General conducts or contracts for the annual financial and compliance audits of community college districts, and we plan to present our audit results and findings annually to the board in accordance with this new law.

After completing our annual financial and compliance audits, we and the contracted auditor who performed the audit, if applicable, will present the following audit reports and results to the board:

  • Financial statement audit report—We will present our auditors' opinions as to whether the community college district's basic financial statements are presented fairly, in all material respects, in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles.
  • Financial statement internal control and compliance audit report—We will present any deficiencies in internal control; fraud; noncompliance with provisions of laws, regulations, contracts, or grant agreements; and abuse relevant to the audit of the financial statements that we identify and are required to report.
  • Federal program internal control and compliance audit report—We will present our auditors' opinion on the community college district's schedule of expenditures of federal awards and our opinions on federal program compliance, as well as any control deficiencies, instances of noncompliance, questioned costs, or fraud affecting federal programs that we identify and are required to report.

Community college district management should work closely with their auditors throughout the audit process and coordinate with them to ensure the board presentation occurs within 90 days of completing required audits.

Budgeting

Budgetary net position is used to describe a college’s total, unspent, available financial resources accumulated, at a specific point in time, such as July 1. This includes all unencumbered cash, both restricted and unrestricted, estimated to be available. 

Financial statement net position differs from budgetary net position by including the effects of long-term assets, long-term liabilities, and deferred outflows/inflows. These long-term items are not reflected in budgetary net position. However, colleges’ budgets separately identify amounts included in budgetary net position that are reserved for future years debt, capital, or other expenditures.

Additional resources for information on budgetary and financial statement net position:

Miscellaneous

Yes, the Arizona Attorney General’s Arizona Agency Handbook (Handbook), which is linked below, includes Section 6—Public Records. The Handbook provides guidance on public records law, confidential records, and addresses the difference between commercial and noncommercial public records requests. Colleges should consult with their legal counsel as needed in addition to reviewing these resources to ensure compliance with public records request requirements.

https://www.azag.gov/agency-handbook