Green Audit Initiative

A BETTER WAY TO AUDIT...

In 2012, the Wexford-Missaukee ISD began developing a way for pupil accounting audits to be transmitted and stored electronically.  After several years of being used locally, a pilot group was formed with funding provided by the Data Hub grant, to see if a state-wide system could be developed that could become self-sustaining. After a year of testing and continued development, MPAAA is now proud to open its Green Audit initiative to ISDs state-wide.

This system, which has been reviewed and approved by the Michigan Department of Education, uses the online software Moodle to allow constituent Districts to report all their count documentation electronically. These files are permanently held on secure servers and form the basis of the collection system.  Once reporting has closed for a given collection, all the Districts' files are copied to a secure Google Drive location to which auditor has access. Since the original files never left the Moodle system, the files in the Google drive, which are arranged by District, become the working files for the auditor as the desk and field audits are completed. Auditing can be done directly within these documents, and once they are renamed with the added wording 'Audited' at the end of the file name, they will automatically be re-collected and uploaded back into Moodle for the districts to be able to see the results. There are also dedicated folders within the Google drive system that are available for auditors separate working files, at both the collection and collection/district level. The system allows for flexibility in audit processes while allowing automation to complete many repetitive tasks.

FORMS

The ISD is free to use any library of forms they wish with the Green Audit system. MPAAA does maintain a library of Excel-based forms that allow clean, easy-to-read reporting, and they tie directly to the Green audit reporting system. Currently, files transmitted to the Moodle system are required to be Acrobat-formatted, for greater security. Excel converts files into PDF format quickly and easily, and many ISDs across the state have already begun using our forms library, even if they are not using our green audit system. The MPAAA Audit form library is available HERE.

COLLECTIONS

The MPAAA Green Audit system currently allows ISDs to electronically collect documentation for GAD Audits, the Fall General Collection, Section 25e claims, and the Spring General Collection.  As the system grows, other collections may be added. However, even in its current configuration, the systems allows MOST of the documents an ISD needs to collect each year to be managed electronically.

COST SAVINGS

A green audit system isn't just about ease of document management. There are genuine cost savings as well. Paper, and duplication costs, for both the local and the ISD, are eliminated with an all-electronic system. Electronic files don't take up expensive filing cabinet space and can be discarded at the end of their usable life with a click, instead of back-breaking hours emptying file cabinets and costly shredding. While an all-electronic audit process does take some getting used to, those auditors who have switched state that it has become a big time saver, both in their offices and during field audits.

As part of the Green Audit Initiative, an extensive Return On Investment study was completed by an independent third party. Extensive surveys were conducted among auditors and Districts who use green - and traditional - audit systems.  The report that gives the results of that study can be seen HERE. An article recently published on the cost savings of a green audit system is available HERE.

FEES

The MPAAA Green Audit system is organized around the ISD system, and each ISD is free to absorb the expense or pass it on to their locals, as they see fit.  The cost of the system varies from $1,500 per year to $5,000, based on the size (student population) of the ISD. A chart showing the costs of the system can be seen HERE.  Keep in mind that ISD consortiums, where multiple ISDs are audited by one Audit team, can also be easily accommodated. As part of the grant funding the Association received, the first year of membership in the Initiative is AT NO COST to the ISD.

A Better Way

We believe that if you take a look at the benefits of a green audit system, you 'll quickly agree that this is the way auditing will move as we look ahead to the future. So then, do you want to maintain your own servers, update and keep your software and forms library current, and develop and provide training materials for that system?  Or would you rather use the MPAAA system, which is already MDE-approved, costs less per year than most server maintenance contracts, and provides training materials and continuous updates?  If you think that this system might work for your ISD, please feel free to contact the MPAAA offices to ask questions, or receive an online tour of the system.