Audited Behind Schedule
by Ferris Allen
of the embattled auditing firm Arthur Andersen will pay another
round of visits to Oberlin next week, amidst some concerns from
the Oberlin administration that the last audit which occurred
last week was more than a little overdue.
This audit usually takes place in the early fall, Associate
Vice President of Finance Ron Watts said.
Vice President of Finance Andy Evans expressed himself more bluntly,
calling the timing of the audit Unappreciated. [The audit]
should have been done a long time ago.
Dissatisfaction with Andersen stems from the March 26 completion
of forms concerning Oberlins expenditures of federal awards,
normally due April 1.
Oberlin administrators, who decided in February to drop Andersen
amid continuing allegations of the firms role in the Enron
collapse, say the tardy audit is only the final gesture of what
has been an increasingly awkward relationship.
Andersen doesnt have a major non-profit client base,
Watts said. Oberlin is Andersens only Cleveland area
About a year ago, they changed their strategy, Watts
said, to reduce non-profits. They wanted to limit their liability.
Reduced liability would free Andersen from responsibility for accounting
irregularities at Oberlin.
We didnt like that, Watts said.
Arthur Andersen declined to comment, citing a policy of never discussing
specific client relationships.
Already struggling with the twin problems of debt and a shrinking
endowment, finding a new auditor may be the simplest of Oberlins
financial woes. The administration caused a controversy last week
with the announcement of budget cuts that would, among other measures,
eliminate up to 25 paid intern positions.
While noting student, staff and faculty concerns, the College emphasized
the need to reduce spending. We have to be more conservative
in our expenditures, Evans said.
Evans said part of this conservation might come in the area of financial
We have to take a few more people who are willing to pay,
he said. If they are admissible. Evans further assured
that any changes in class demographics would have zero impact
on the quality of the class, although an exact plan to balance
student need with other admissions factors is still in the works.