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Clean audit confirms commissaries’ fiscal excellence

FORT LEE, Va. -- The Defense Commissary Agency's fiscal 2013 financial statements have received a clean audit opinion from independent auditors, an evaluation that certifies the credibility of the benefit for its patrons, the agency's director said.

"Receiving a clean audit opinion validates the hard work of our DeCA team in delivering a commissary benefit while being responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars," said Joseph H. Jeu, DeCA director and CEO. "This is the 12th straight year that DeCA's financial statements have received this level of certification."

A clean or "unqualified" audit opinion is the highest possible ruling and reflects the agency's use of appropriated funds to deliver the commissary benefit. The agency generates nearly $6 billion in annual sales and receives $1.4 billion in appropriated funding.
During fiscal 2013, DeCA processed nearly 94 million transactions in its stores and delivered nearly $2.6 billion in savings to its customers. Commissaries also redeemed nearly 100 million coupons in fiscal 2013 for customer savings of about $91 million.
"This type of independent and objective examination increases the value and credibility of the agency's financial statements," said Larry Bands, DeCA's chief financial executive. "It demonstrates to our stakeholders and patrons that our reports are presented fairly, and that we're accountable for all financial transactions."

The road to DeCA's clean audit opinion began in January 2013 as the agency and the auditing firm laid the groundwork for a process that ended in December, said DeCA's director of accounting, Cynthia Morgan.

"Preparing for the audit is an ongoing and continuous effort," said Morgan of actions that include monthly meetings of DeCA's financial audit advisory committee agency, a group that keeps the agency on course by working closely with the auditor, internal directorates, the Defense Finance and Accounting Service and the DOD IG. "To be truly successful, you must have cooperation and commitment from all levels of your organization."

During quarterly reporting periods, agency accountants prepare for the annual audit by collecting financial data. Auditors from CliftonLarsonAllen, one of the 10 largest CPA firms in the country, later review DeCA's financial statements along with internal controls over financial processes.

The auditors check DeCA's reports for efficiency and accuracy in the following key areas:
· Disbursements for accounts payable and undelivered orders
· Funds balance with treasury, payroll, property, revenue accounts, appropriations and budgetary accounts as well as the financial reporting and compilation process
· Compliance with laws and regulations
· Time and attendance
· Annual inventories of resale stocks, equipment inventories, property accountability
· Information technology that support financial information

"Each year brings about its own unique set of challenges; but through it all, the DeCA team manages to put the agency's best financial foot forward," Morgan said. "As part of delivering an efficient commissary benefit, we are charged with being fiscally responsible. This clean audit puts a stamp on that effort."