The CFOs of Evanston’s two school boards tried something new this year in selecting an auditor for their books and saved money in the process.
Evanston Township High School District 202 CFO William Stafford and Evanston/Skokie District 65 CFO Mary Brown met jointly with three auditing firms after sending out Requests for Proposal (RFPs) to 14 firms, holding out the possibility that one firm could capture the business of both districts.
As it turned out, each district elected to continue with their present auditors, but both districts managed to wring out some price concessions that reduced the fees for each.
District 65 was the big winner, cutting its costs from McGladdrey LLP by about 20 percent, Brown told a joint meeting of the two boards Monday night. But District 202 also cut its fee from Miller Cooper & Co. by some $2,000 a year.
Each CFO lauded their present auditor in making their selections and noted that they avoided additional costs and inconvenience that would have occurred had they changed auditors.
McGladdrey’s winning bid for District 65 for 2014 was $33,000, while Miller Cooper’s 2014 bid for District 202 was $38,000.
The District 202 audit is a bit more complicated, Stafford explained, because it operates on a modified accrual basis, which has a longer timetable and different timing constraints, while District 65 uses the cash basis of accounting.
Both methods are widely used by school districts, Stafford said, and the determination of which to use is essentially a matter of choice. Brown added that both firms are experienced with both accounting methods.
McGladdrey has been District 65’s auditor for seven years, while Miller Cooper has been doing the job for District 202 for six years, the CFOs said.
(Top: School district CFOs Brown and Stafford.)