State audit critical of Port of Longview’s 2013 financial statements

By Shari Phiel, September 17, 2014, The Daily News


A state audit has dinged the Port of Longview for some lax accounting.


During a review of the port’s 2013 financial statements, state auditors found $527,000 was improperly counted as an asset and should have been expensed the prior year. The port also under-reported depreciation of some assets by $138,000 and over-reported depreciation of another asset by $450,000.


In a letter to the port sent last week, the state Auditor’s Office said the port staff lacked attention to detail when preparing financial statements and that its review process was not effective in catching errors.


Port CEO Geir Kalhagen said Wednesday that the financial errors were related to funds set aside for reconstruction of Berth 8 and represent a very small portion of the port’s overall finances.


“As part of the port’s budget, this is less than one-tenth of 1 percent. For the port’s assets, it’s less than two-tenths of 1 percent,” Kalhagen said.


Four months ago, the state auditor’s released port financial audits for 2011 and 2012. Kalhagen said the audits were released so closely together because of changes in financial reporting policies he put in place when he joined the port in 2012. Kalhagen said the port is taking other steps to improve its financial reporting, such as working with the Government Finance Officers Association to identify best practices.


In its letter, the state recommended ensuring staff devotes sufficient time and resources to preparing financial statements and to give sufficient information to those preparing the statements.


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