The Village of Pemberton has found itself in a blame war with its accountants.
For weeks now, the village has said accounting firm KPMG "dropped the ball" in providing Pemberton with statements of its financial performance for 2009. Auditors with the firm's Kelowna office were expected to have drafts to the village some months ago, but a final draft was only presented at this week's council meeting.
The reason, KPMG previously told Pemberton, was that the firm was adjusting to a new accounting procedure that's been mandated by the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants.
But at the July 20 council meeting, David Bond, a KPMG partner who's been handling Pemberton's file, explained as he went over the draft financial reports that "management" had taken a long time grappling with the changes. Asked during the meeting's Question Period who he was referring to, he said it was management at the Village of Pemberton.
Council declined to provide any more detail about the delayed financial statements that show revenue and expenses for 2009. Pique asked council if there were any other factors that contributed to the delay Mayor Jordan Sturdy said council would discuss it at an in camera meeting.
"We need to look at the issue in a complete way," he said, adding it would be premature to comment otherwise.
The draft financial statements themselves showed the Village of Pemberton posting an annual operating surplus of $965,789 in 2009, over a $303,253 surplus in 2008. Those particular figures were sources of confusion for council because the village previously posted a $125,255 deficit in 2008, according to figures provided in a preliminary financial statement on June 24.
"In 2008 we showed a (deficit) in our operating fund balance," Councillor Ted Craddock said. "I need to understand where the $300,000 came from. Do we actually have that money available to us?
Councillor Susie Gimse had similar concerns.
"It's great we're seeing $300,000 for 2008 but I'm suspicious of those numbers," she said. "I'm constantly seeking to find, is that real? Is that cash in the bank or an accounting figure that we need to be wary of? I'm struggling with trying to understand how this new accounting process has resulted in significant surpluses."
Roger Lundie, interim director of finance at the Village of Pemberton, later explained that the annual surplus reported in financial statements is a "different number" than it used to be. He said financial reports used to show cash surpluses or cash deficits, but now they show operating income.
Other figures in the financial statements showed the village bringing in more in penalties and interest than officials anticipated. In the 2009 budget the village expected to bring in $95,000 in penalties, but actually took in $116,358.
Pemberton saw similar figures in its financial report for 2008. It expected to take in $84,930 in interest and penalties but ended up with $119,793.