Financial Administration

It would be imminent on the part of the auditor to understand financial administration of local bodies before embarking upon the audit. Some of the aspects are as under:

Budgetary Procedure: This is geared to subserve the twin considerations of financial accountability and control of expenditure. The main objective is to ensure that funds are raised and moneys are spent by the executive departments in accordance with the rules and regulations and within the limits of
sanction and authorisation by the legislature or council. Budget preparation is usually the occasion for determining the levels of taxation and rates and the ceilings on expenditure. Municipal budget formats and heads of accounts vary from state to state. There are variations between the corporation and municipalities. One important feature of the municipal budgets is that there is no strict separation between revenue and capital items; usually there is a ‘head’ called extraordinary items which cover most of the capital transactions. There are, however, a number of special funds (e.g. roads) or in some cases separate budgets for specific municipal functions (e.g. education) or enterprise activities (e.g., water supply and sanitation, transport, electricity, etc.)

Expenditure Control: The system of financial control obtaining in the state and central government level is conditioned by the fact that there is a clear demarcation between the legislature and executive. The integration of legislation and executive powers in the municipal council makes it difficult for its
executive to function as its inquisitorial body as well. Moreover the separation of executive powers and functions in municipal government cannot accommodate the existence of an independent finance officer responsible to the municipal council or its executive committee. This leaves the system of external audit by state government as the only instrument of controlling municipal expenditure.

Accounting System: Municipal accounting and budget format have been criticised as neither simple nor comprehensible, sometimes providing inadequate information and at other times a surfeit of information. Both these situations are not conducive to a proper system of management information.

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