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Closing the Books on Fiscal Year 2023

One of the critical roles of Collier County Clerk’s Finance Department is closing the books and preparing an audit report of how Collier’s $1.9 billion budget was spent.

As September approaches, it’s time for the County and Constitutionals to prepare for the fiscal year end 2023. The County operates on a fiscal year of October 1 to September 30 each year. Pursuant to Florida Statutes, the Collier County Clerk and Comptroller is responsible for the County’s financial reporting. Each reporting entity is required to be audited each year by an independent certified public accountant. The annual audit report is required to be filed no later than nine months after the end of the fiscal year, or June 30, in the case of Collier County. The annual audit report is a comprehensive document designed to indicate to taxpayers, creditors, and other interested parties, the financial condition of the entity. The consolidated audit report for Collier County includes the operations of the Sheriff, Clerk and Comptroller, Property Appraiser, Tax Collector, and Supervisor of Elections, as well as the Board of County Commissioners.

Like public sector accounting, authoritative rules are generated to help ensure the consistency and comparability of financial reporting across the government sector. The totality of these rules constitutes what is referred to as GAAP, or “generally accepted accounting principles.” The consistent application of these rules, promulgated by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board, allows users of the County’s financial statements to compare the results of Collier’s operations and financial strength with those of other entities, as well as assess year-over-year performance. The Clerk’s Finance Department must continually monitor the accounting standards, both old and new, for applicability. Since its inception in 1984, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board has issued 101 individual pronouncements and numerous implementation guides, interpretations, and bulletins.

The County’s adopted net budget for FY2023 was $1.9 billion. These activities were accounted for in over 200 separate funds. A fund is defined as a fiscal and accounting entity with a self-balancing set of accounts recording cash and other financial resources, together with all related liabilities and residual equities or balances. Funds are segregated for the purpose of carrying on specific activities or attaining certain objectives in accordance with special regulations, restrictions, or limitations. Each fund must be closed for year-end purposes by the Clerk and Comptroller’s Finance Team, adjusted in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, and then consolidated into the annual report. The final report is the product of a year’s worth of processing and months of post year end information gathering, editing, and auditing. While the report is primarily generated by the Clerk and Comptroller’s Office, its creation is the product of many hours of work by Board of County Commission staff, the constitutional officers and the respective independent audit team.

The resultant audit report is a product of great importance in that it forms the backbone of the County’s requirements related to continuing disclosure to the financial markets. Collier County frequently borrows money to fund the construction of various long-lived assets and infrastructure. The underlying debt securities are no different than those issued by private sector entities because investors, as well as potential investors, are required to be provided access to financial information related to the issuer that allows them to make informed investment decisions. In addition, the report is integral in offering insight to the citizens of Collier County into how their taxpayer dollars have been spent. The report is generally issued early in the Spring and presented to the Board of County Commissioners at a publicly advertised meeting. The report is also filed with the Office of the Florida Auditor General and can be viewed here. Please go to https://collierclerk.com/finance/reports/acfr/ to review historical reports.


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