Why it’s important for towns like Swansea to keep accurate books

According to the SC Municipal Association, Swansea City Council has raised financial questions over the past month following audit discrepancies.

COLUMBIA, SC – News19 has been reporting on discrepancies with the City of Swansea’s finances for more than a week.

According to the auditor hired by the city, the recent financial discrepancies in the 2021 budget audit are due to poor accounting.

Here’s why accounting is important:

This is important work which is strongly encouraged by the Municipal Association of South Carolina.

“It’s important that their outgoing income and funds are recorded and reconciled,” said Scott Slatton, director of advocacy and communications for the Municipal Association of South Carolina. “We recommend on a monthly basis and we also recommend that cities and towns, staff or whoever is in charge of their finances provide their councils with regular updates on city finances so that those elected officials can make decisions enlightened on how to do the things they want to do as a city or town.”

This is something the City of Swansea is struggling with according to their hired auditor who recently found $3,300,000 in unaccounted for assets.

According to the association, there are no state laws that require credentials for those who manage the finances of a town or city, but this nonprofit organization exists to support the South Carolina cities.

They are able to provide free financial education, answer questions, and offer courses.

The municipalities can contact them in the event of a problem.

“Most of the time they do, they are aware of it, they call us and we can come in and start working with them, but we don’t impose our services on these towns and villages unless they ask for it. “, Slatton said.

In the case of Swansea, the council association said it could not confirm which member of Swansea council had contacted them in the past month for financial assistance, but said it had advised the company on several occasions of financial advice for the city.

Local accounting expert Elliot Hayes said these are the options when the accounting goes wrong:

“You either have to go back and rebuild all your books and figure out where you are at, which is to say pay for it, or you rebuild it from invoices and invoicing and that kind of stuff,” said said Hayes, who is a local certified audience. accountant and accountant.

News19 followed with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division Friday to see if they are investigating these financial discrepancies in Swansea. A spokesperson said the agency is not at this time.

RELATED: Budget audit shows $3.3m unaccounted for at Swansea

Colin L. Johnson