After receiving an extension for last year’s audit, Effingham County’s commissioners may have to get another one to complete this year’s audit.
Commissioners approved a bid from Statesboro accounting firm Thigpen, Westerfield, Lanier and Deal to conduct the county’s 2013 audit, after previous auditors Caines and Hodges elected to resign.
County finance director Joanna Wright said with the new auditors coming on board at this date, an extension request of the state likely will be necessary.
“This is a very important decision, and we’ve just been through a very frustrating situation,” said Commissioner Vera Jones. “We have been criticized for not having independence or having separation.”
Caines and Hodges was awarded the audit bid last October and quoted a price of $46,000. Thigpen, Westerfield, Lanier and Deal was awarded the bid for a final total of $41,777.
Five firms were interested in submitting bids for the work, and two firms that did submit bids last year chose not to do so this year, according to Wright. Each firm, except for Hancock, Askew and Company, said finishing the audit by Dec. 31, the state deadline, may not be possible.
“We said we would try,” said Richard Deal of the Statesboro accounting firm that won the bid. “We have the most hours to spend on this.”
Thigpen, Westerfield, Lanier and Deal recently was awarded the bid to conduct Springfield’s audit, and the firm also has conducted audits for Bryan, Bulloch and Tattnall counties.
Wright also warned that the state does not grant extensions for more than two years in a row. Effingham got an extension for its 2012 audit, which was eventually delivered to commissioners in June.
“We want it done thorough,” said Chairman Wendall Kessler, “and we want it done tomorrow.”