Legislative Auditor Roger Norman Examines Where Most Accounting Issues Take Place

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Dec. 4, 2017 12:00 am   2 min read

Roger Norman
Arkansas Legislative Auditor (Jason Burt)

Roger Norman has served with Legislative Audit for 40 years and has been legislative auditor since 2007. He is a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University and the Bowen School of Law at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Norman is a CPA, attorney and certified fraud examiner. In 2012, he was named Outstanding CPA in Government by the American Institute of CPAs and the Arkansas Society of CPAs. A past president of the National State Auditors Association, Norman serves on the board of the Arkansas Society of CPAs.

What is the scope of your office’s coverage around the state? In other words, what is it the office does?
Legislative Audit conducts audits or other engagements of state agencies, public institutions of higher education, school districts, counties, municipalities and other public entities in Arkansas to help ensure sound financial management, compliance with applicable laws and regulations and accountability of public resources. We prepare approximately 1,000 reports per year, including financial, performance, special and investigative reports.

Are there problems that legislative auditors look for that business executives should also be looking for?
Accounting issues for private and public entities generally arise from internal control deficiencies, lack of segregation of duties, inadequate or missing supporting documentation or inadequate oversight by entity executives or those in charge of governance. Ethical issues, such as related-party transactions or use of business assets for private purposes, might also be considered. Business executives should be cognizant of the fraud triangle of pressure, opportunity and rationalization. Trust, but verify.

What are the most common financial, record keeping or other mistakes made by public entities?
Lack of proper oversight by entity directors and boards increases the risk for fraud, waste or abuse of public resources. Internal controls and segregation of duties should be in place and functioning properly. Insufficient documentation is the most common area of concern for auditors.

How has the role of Legislative Audit changed in the last 10 years?
Although the role of Legislative Audit has not changed substantially in the past 10 years, technological advancements have influenced how we conduct our business. There is greater emphasis on internal control over computer environments, cybersecurity and data analytics. Today, auditors must have strong data analysis and information technology skills to complement their financial auditing and accounting skills.

How did you enter this line of work?
After working for an international accounting firm in Tulsa, I returned to Arkansas to get married. My college accounting professor suggested that I might inquire about employment opportunities with Legislative Audit. I wandered into Legislative Audit’s offices one day, and 40 years later, I’m still here. Public service and the desire to “make a difference” get in your blood, and I’m very blessed to have the opportunity to serve the General Assembly and the citizens of Arkansas.

 

 

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