Pemberton opts for new auditor 

Village taps Meyers Norris Penny to monitor its books

A falling out with accounting giant KPMG has seen the Village of Pemberton look elsewhere for help auditing its books.

At a meeting February 15, the Village of Pemberton council received a report to Chief Administrative Officer Daniel Sailland recommending appointment of Kelowna-based firm Meyers Norris Penny (MNP) to audit its books for 2011.

Nikki Gilmore, the Village's manager of finance and author of the report, stated in writing that MNP's proposal was far lower in cost than others that came through a Request for Proposals including BDO Dunwoody, which audits the books for the Resort Municipality of Whistler.

Gilmore said in an interview that the Village has already set a three-year term for renewal when it comes to its auditing firms and that a "conflict last year" had it seeking someone besides KPMG.

"There were just some conflicts last year (while) I was on maternity leave," she said. "I know we were having some difficulties so we just thought this was a good opportunity to see who else was available."

The "conflicts" she referred to concerned the timing of the receipt of audited statements in time for the Village of Pemberton's Annual General Meeting in 2010. The audited statements provide a picture to Village taxpayers of how their money is being spent.

The statements show numbers such as property tax revenue, penalties handed out to delinquent taxpayers, the status of reserves and other expenditures, as well as whether the Village is running a surplus or a deficit in any areas.

At a Committee of the Whole meeting on June 24, 2010, Administrator Daniel Sailland told council that KPMG would not provide the Village with Consolidate Statements of Financial Information in time for a June 30 deadline set out by the province in the Community Charter.

At the time, the firm was adjusting to a new accounting system mandated by the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) and didn't yet have Pemberton's books ready under the new system. KPMG explained to the Village that none of their municipal clients had their books finished yet but for Sailland that wasn't good enough.

"It is true, it is a new method of doing the accounting," Sailland said at the June 24 meeting. "But again, it doesn't change reality for us. We're left with no audited statements and all we can say is we don't have them."

Pemberton Mayor Jordan Sturdy later told the Annual General Meeting that the "auditors really did drop the ball here."

"They should have given us audited statements two or three weeks ago," he said. "That has not happened. It's an issue around the conversion to the public sector accounting. There's a change in how things are reported out."

Speaking about Meyers Norris Penny, Gilmore said the new auditors have a lot of "value-added" products in addition to their general auditing skills. The Village also had a former auditor who transferred from KPMG to MNP recommend the new firm to staff.

A large firm, according to Gilmore, Meyers Norris Penny has already audited financial statements for communities including the Village of Lytton and the City of Campbell River.




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