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No 'dings' for Sunnyside Housing Authority

It's been two years since the Washington State Auditor's Office has issued a finding against the Sunnyside Housing Authority, and this year the local agency that is primarily dependent upon HUD and USDA funding has again received a clean bill of health.

No recommendations or findings were issued by the auditors, which is extremely encouraging according to Keetha Kimbrough, executive director for the Sunnyside Housing Authority.

"We were really pleased," said Kimbrough.

She said ending with no recommendations and no findings is the cleanest audit report the Washington State Auditor's Office doles out.

Although the housing authority received a finding in 2010, Kimbrough said the agency has gotten past the incident, which outlined troubles due to a staffing change.

The Sunnyside Housing Authority had outsourced its accounting during a staffing transition. Kimbrough said the 2010 finding highlighted the importance of employing a full-time accountant focused on the housing authority's financial records.

"It's definitely to our advantage to have our own accountant," she said.

The Sunnyside Housing Authority is audited every year, and Kimbrough said being audited is a lengthy, in-depth process.

Because of the amount of federal funding the Sunnyside Housing Authority receives, the annual audit that is conducted is "very particular."

She said reporting HUD funding can be tricky because of the number of accounting adjustments that must be made.

"That makes it necessary to have an accountant who knows how to properly report our funding," said Kimbrough.

"The clean report is attributed to a lot of details by the housing authority staff," said Kimbrough.

The Auditor's Office looks at everything from whether or not the housing authority is following all of the rules and regulations associated with the federal funding received by the agency to ensuring that proper policies and procedures are being followed in the office.

Auditors look at everything from payroll to accounts payable to all financial statements, and for 2011 found no missteps in reporting, operations, internal controls or compliance.

As of Dec. 31, 2011, the Sunnyside Housing Authority reported having more than $8.25 million in assets. Its liabilities balanced with that figure and the end of year net position was reported at more than $6.6 million.

Kimbrough said the key to a clean audit is all in the detail work, tracking each transaction handled every day.

"We did our best to cover our bases," she said.

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