By Casey Crowley

Almost a year after it was due, Baker County’s financial audit for the 2016-17 fiscal year is finished.

The audit, which covers the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2017, was supposed to be submitted to the state by Dec. 31, 2017.

Baker County was the last of Oregon’s 36 counties to turn in its audit for that year to the Secretary of State’s office.

Pauly Rogers and Co., the Portland accounting firm that was handling the county’s audit for the first time, noted in the audit that the firm had to wait for county officials to provide documents needed to finish the audit.

The auditors also wrote in the audit that they had trouble using the county’s software, which is not able to export certain reports.

The Pauly Rogers and Co. accountants recommend the county consider hiring a private accountant to assist county officials, writing that there “appears to be a lack of required accounting skills necessary to perform the complexities of municipal accounting” on the current county staff.

Bill Harvey, chairman of the Baker County Board of Commissioners, said the recommendation to hire a private accountant is “just a suggestion.”

The auditors also expressed the opinion that the county lacks suitable controls regarding who can make changes to the county’s general ledger. Changing that policy would reduce the risk of errors, the auditors wrote.