Texas General Land Office releases proactive internal audit for modernizing Alamo financial oversight
AUSTIN — Today Land Commissioner George P. Bush announced the release of a proactive internal audit of the Alamo's accounting and financial management - the first of its kind in Alamo history - undertaken by the Texas General Land Office to modernize and reinforce oversight and accountability. The Report on the Audit of the Alamo Accounting Processes is now available at http://savethealamo.com/governance.html.
"This audit represents a cultural shift in the oversight of the Alamo's financial management policies," said Commissioner Bush. "In an effort to modernize operations - improving mechanisms for ensuring both accountability and transparency - the GLO has conducted a deep dive in to the Alamo's financial management policies. Many of the recommendations have already been implemented while others are being fulfilled through the implementation of a new Alamo management contract with the Alamo Trust."
The internal process of analyzing policies and practices while implementing recommended improvements has resulted in the highest level of oversight in the Alamo's accounting and financial management. Oversight of the Alamo's accounting office is now provided by the GLO's Chief Financial Officer. The GLO hired three employees, including an Alamo Finance Director, to oversee Alamo accounting. These new state employees have a good combination of decades of experience in state procurement policies, accounting regulations and procedures and technical expertise.
For decades, the Alamo's financial management was based on customary private sector non-profit business practices. In 2011, the Texas Legislature passed H.B. 3726 transferring responsibility to the Texas General Land Office, effective September 1, 2011, and requiring the accounting and procurement practices to become adherent to state agency regulations. This proactive internal audit represents the first time a state agency has conducted a deep-dive in to the Alamo's financial management, procurement and accounting practices in an effort to raise the standard of oversight and accountability above and beyond requirements.
"With the completion of this proactive internal audit and implementation of the GLO's recommendations, the Alamo's financial management will reach the highest level of transparency and professionalism in the site's operational history," said David Repp, GLO Chief Financial Officer. "We are going above and beyond all legal requirements and our own audit recommendations to ensure the highest level of accountability and oversight possible."
In 2015, Commissioner Bush announced the initiation of a long-term master plan process with the primary goals of preserving the Alamo Church and Long Barrack, closing the street to restore reverence and respect, and building the museum the Alamo deserves. In addition to the primary goals, the GLO has worked with Alamo Trust, Inc. (ATI) to improve operations by adding additional ATI staff to fulfill key museum and historic site functions such as marketing and living history to make the Alamo the premier historic site with a museum dedicated to telling the story of the heroes of 1836.
The operational changes include raising the standards for accountability and reporting above and beyond state regulations. From upgrading to digitized purchase orders from traditional paper trails to implementing multiple levels of scrutiny for expenditure approval, the Alamo's financial management is entering a new era of accountability. With full implementation of the recommendations made by the GLO, including added transparency and oversight, the Alamo's financial management will not only comply with the Comptroller's policies and annual financial reporting requirements, it will simultaneously move towards an industry-standard nonprofit museum management model.
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