September 21, 2020

KPMG Gives the Department of Homeland Security a Clean Audit Opinion Because of Course They Did

Now, we won't go so far as to imply that KPMG auditors preferred not to end up on the Do Not Fly List (might make their job a bit tough were that to happen), but we will say does anyone want to be the firm that gives Homeland Security a qualified opinion?

The description in Washington Post's Federal Eye blog is hilarious:

For the second straight year, the Department of Homeland Security has achieved a much sought-after clean audit of its financial statements by an independent auditor, department officials said Monday.

The audit, by the firm of KPMG, found that DHS’s financial statements were in order, with the auditors certifying that they had “reasonable assurance that what they saw on those documents is correct,’’ Chip Fulghum, DHS’s chief financial officer and acting undersecretary of management said in an interview.

The auditors gave the department what is known as an unqualified audit opinion; a qualified, or un-clean audit, would have meant that the auditors could not reasonably certify the statements as accurate.

Thanks, WaPo, for clarifying that for every non-auditor and prospective CPA who failed AUD repeatedly.

Last year was the first year DHS was able to get a clean audit opinion. DHS CFO Chip Fulghum told WaPo that the back-to-back clean opinions should "confidence that DHS now knows where its dollars are and how they are being spent."

DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson was quick to have his people slap together a humblebrag to celebrate the good news:

I am pleased to announce that for the second year in a row, our audit firm KPMG, working in conjunction with our Office of Inspector General, has issued the Department of Homeland Security an unqualified audit opinion — essentially a reasonable assurance from our outside auditors and the Department’s Inspector General that our financial statements are accurate. For the third largest Department of our government, only 11 years old, and consisting of 22 components, 240,000 personnel, a 60 billion dollar budget, and six core financial systems and hundreds of feeder systems, I consider this a remarkable achievement. I salute our Chief Financial Officer Chip Fulghum, the CFOs of our components, and our entire financial management team for the hard work that went into this achievement. This level of teamwork is also a reflection of the new atmosphere created by our Unity of Effort initiative. This is another example of the good work by the men and women of this Department in support of our homeland security mission.

We'll refrain from reminding Mr Johnson that plenty of public companies have been given clean audit opinions, only to collapse spectacularly shortly thereafter. That's why they call it reasonable assurance and not absolute assurance, guy. Shh, don't burst his bubble. Besides, it's the government, it's not like it matters if KPMG missed a billion here or a billion there. Immaterial!

 

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