ABOUT THE AUDITOR'S OFFICE
Click here for a brief introduction to the Harris County Auditor’s Office.
The position of County Auditor is filled by appointment by the State District Judges for a term of two years. The County Auditor is the Chief Financial Officer of Harris County, the Toll Road Authority, and the Harris County Flood Control District. Harris County includes the Juvenile Probation and Community Development Departments as well as the Toll Road Authority. The Auditor is the Fiscal Officer for the Harris County Community Supervision and Corrections Department, is the auditor for the Port of Houston Authority, and also serves, by agreement, as the internal auditor of the Hospital District. State law, sets the County Auditor’s appointment, duties, and authority primarily in the Local Government Code, Chapter 84. There are currently 174 authorized positions in the County Auditor's Office.
Click here to see a Management Overview Organizational Chart of the Auditor's Office
This division includes the County Auditor, the Executive Administration Department, and the Human Resources/Infrastructure Support Department.
Click here to see an Organizational Chart of the Executive Division
The Executive Administration Department is an operational support group within the Harris County Auditor's Office. The Department reports to the County Auditor's Executive Assistant. The services provided are:
Technical Support - Screens and evaluates PC software and hardware issues reported by the end users from the Auditor's Office. Simple issues are identified and resolved while those issues requiring a higher level of technical expertise are routed to ITC. All incidents are recorded, tracked, and reported on a monthly basis. Additionally provides preliminary assessments of new PC-related equipment for the Auditor's Office as well as securing "quotes" for new PC-related equipment.
Payroll - Conducts payroll related functions such as verifying and entering employee timesheets and maintaining time/attendance records.
PEIDS - Creates and updates PEIDs via requests from various departments within the Auditor's Office and also the Office of Human Resources & Risk Management. Additionally identifies possible merges in the Person/Entity (PE) database, searching for inconsistencies and incorrectly set up PEIDs, and making corrections.
Infrastructure Support Assistance - Performs interoffice mail delivery and assists the HR/Infrastructure Department regarding fixed assets, security door code changes, office keys, repairs/services, and arranges for telephone and voice mail services and maintenance.
Receptionist - Responsible for incoming office mail and deliveries, telephone calls, faxes, and County automobile assignments, as well as receiving and assisting visitors to the Harris County Auditor's Office.
Human Resources & Infrastructure Support
The Human Resources & Infrastructure Support Department provides support services to the Auditor's Office in the areas of Human Resources, Facilities, Security, Safety, and Desk Top publishing. The Department also is responsible for coordinating the Annual Services Award Luncheon, various employee activities, publishing the bi-annual newsletter and creating the covers for the County Annual Financial Report (CAFR) and Popular Annual Financial Report (PAFR).
This Division includes the First Assistant/Chief Assistant County Auditor - Accounting Division, Financial Accounting, Accounts Payable, Revenue Accounting, and Grants & Accounts Receivable Departments.
Click here to see an Organizational Chart of the Accounting Division
The Financial Accounting Department is responsible for recording financial transactions of the County and providing timely and accurate interim and annual financial reporting. Provides for communication to other County departments and outside parties relating to the financial information, capital projects, and debt financing undertaken by the County and related entities. Also, Financial Accounting is responsible for maintenance of the County's fixed asset records. Additionally, requests are forwarded to this department for account code changes, financial report design, and organizational changes in IFAS.
The responsibilities of the Department include preparing the County's monthly and annual financial reports, accounting for the financial activities of the County's Toll Road, assisting in the preparation of offering documents for the County's bond sales.
The Accounts Payable Department is responsible for auditing all claims submitted for payment. These claims are for payment of goods and services purchased by Harris County, the Harris County Flood Control District, Harris County Juvenile Board, and the Community Supervision and Corrections Departments, including construction contracts, court appointed attorneys, special judges, interpreters, substitute court reporters, guardianships, all county utilities, travel of county personnel, purchase orders, term contracts, requests for payment, and many others.
The claims are scanned for permanent retention, data entered, audited, and electronically routed to the appropriate department for approval for payment. After the claims are approved they are posted to the general ledger to record the associated liability or expense on the County's financial records. The claims are then selected for payment and checks and related reports are produced. The checks and reports are reviewed for accuracy before transferring the checks to the Harris County Treasurer for disbursing.
The Accounts Payable Department resolves questions and problems of vendors, Harris County user departments, and others as well as the many research projects required to answer requests under the Public Information Act.
Grants & Accounts Receivable
The Grants & Accounts Receivable Department is responsible for the accounting and financial reporting of grants as well as billing, monitoring, and the pursuit of past due collections for grants and certain receivables of the County including inter-local agreements with other governmental entities. The department is also responsible for reporting all County receivables at fiscal year end including receivables related to fines, fees, and court costs. The Department provides for communication to other County departments and outside parties relating to the grant programs and amounts owed the County.
The Department prepares and files reports on the status of the County's grant programs and ensures compliance with reporting and other requirements set forth in the grant award contracts and agreements.
The Department ensures compliance with applicable accounting, contractual, and statutory requirements pertaining to the recording, monitoring, and collecting of amounts owed the County. The Department currently performs various degrees of billing and monitoring functions for a number of County departments. The Department is working towards the goal of a County-wide centralization of billing and collection activities.
The Revenue Accounting Department maintains financial information for forecasting of receipts and disbursements to assist in the effective management of County funds. Accounts for fee officers' revenues, disbursements, and reporting requirements. Reconciles bank accounts, investments, and pooled cash on a timely basis. Prepares the annual statement of estimated available resources used by the Budget Office for the annual budget, and is involved in various elements of the tax rate adoption process. Prepares and distributes revenue reports and reference materials for use by Department Heads, Fee Officers, and Commissioners Court. Fulfills requests for analysis/projections on special revenue funds, new fees proposed, etc.
As a component of the Harris County Auditor’s Office continuous assurance framework, the Continuous Monitoring Department of the Accounting Division seeks to proactively identify, quantify, report, and resolve internal control issues. In doing so, and as a by-product, it also identifies opportunities to improve the performance of the Accounting Division. Continuous Monitoring collaborates with department heads, process owners, and other subject matter experts (SMEs) to develop the tools and techniques necessary to strengthen the Harris County Auditor’s Office control environment.
The Audit Division includes the Chief Assistant County Auditor - Audit Division, Audit Services, Compliance Audit, Payroll Audit, Systems & Procedures, and the Continuous Auditing Departments. The responsibilities of the Audit Division are to assist the County, Flood Control District, other entities, and quasi-governmental organizations (e.g., Port of Houston Authority, Harris County Hospital District, Community Supervision and Corrections, Juvenile Probation Board, Harris County Sports and Convention Corporation) with the effective discharge of their fiscal responsibilities, including management's efforts to provide the public and concerned entities with financial accountability; minimize exposure to contingent liabilities; safeguard assets; and comply with applicable policies, laws, regulations, and covenants. The Division has adopted the professional standards of the Institute of Internal Auditors.
Click here to see an Organizational Chart of the Audit Division
Performs engagements relative to elected and appointed County officials, external entities, quasi-governmental organizations, financial processes, and general ledger account balances. Engagements are selected for inclusion in the annual audit plan based upon the perceived level of inherent and control risk posed by the department or entity to the County. The Audit Services Department has adopted the professional standards of the Institute of Internal Auditors.
Performs monthly and quarterly reoccurring prescribed audit procedures as set forth in statutes. The Department also assists County departments in completing their required reporting. Audits are performed monthly to determine if receipts are properly accounted for and funds collected are properly deposited. Audits performed on a quarterly basis analyze rendomly selected transactions in detail. Compliance Audit is divided into three sections:
Tax Audit - This section is responsible for auditing the reports and collections of the Tax Assessor-Collector. In addition to property tax collections, the group audits motor vehicle sales tax, hotel/motel occupancy tax, and alcoholic beverage license fees.
Report Audit - Performs audits on collections of various elected and appointed officials. The section also performs audits of the County's fixed assets, payroll payoffs, and surprise cash counts.
Port Audit - The section is located in and operates out of the Port of Houston Authority Executive Building. Port Audit is responsible for the auditing and approval of the Port's accounts payable claims, purchase orders, contracts, payroll, and other financial transactions.
Payroll information is originated in each County department. The Payroll Audit Department verifies and processes the Payroll Authorization each pay period by using the information such as salaries, hourly rates, change of employee's status, deductions, etc., already stored in the County’s financial records maintained by the ITC. Computer generated payroll reports, deduction and contribution registers, as well as exception reports are reviewed by Payroll Audit before funds are disbursed by the County Treasurer. Payroll Audit is also responsible for preparing the federal payroll tax deposits and related payroll reports. This Department works very closely with all the departmental payroll clerks and the County’s Office of Human Resources & Risk Management in resolving payroll-related matters.
Systems & Procedures
Systems & Procedures develops accounting policies and procedures through a formal written documentation process. This process involves the incorporation of standards, principles, and requirements established by state and federal statutes, and the accounting profession, into various policies and procedures which address control over County assets, streamlining and standardizing the method of handling transactions, fixing responsibility for performance, expediting training, and providing a source of reference. The accounting policies and procedures prescribed by the Auditor include those used by all County departments and the Harris County Flood Control District (the “Accounting Procedures Manual”), as well as those used specifically within the Harris County Auditor’s Office (the “Auditor’s Operations Manual,” “Payroll Manual,” etc.).
Systems & Procedures also monitors legislation, coordinates financial analyses, prepares summary reports, and ensures that policy and procedures are revised to reflect any changes in statute. Other responsibilities include researching statutes for other departments of the Harris County Auditor’s Office, reviewing audit reports, designing and controlling Auditor prescribed forms, coordinating the Auditor’s response to Public Records Requests, maintaining the Harris County Auditor’s Office Help Line (non-IFAS related), providing departmental training, and handling special projects.
Continuous Auditing Group
Continuous Auditing’s primary focus is on providing assurances that internal controls are working properly within the County’s financial system. This group principally uses automated audit techniques to identify weaknesses through the monitoring of individual controls and transactions against a set of control rules on a more frequent or continual basis. In addition, Continuous Auditing supplements the audit activities performed by Audit Services through assistance with planning and performance of specific audit engagements.