Independent Firm Issues ‘Clean’ Financial Audit for State Bar │ Jan. 2 , 2020
Consecutive years of unqualified reports reflect confidence in WSBA’s financial integrity
SEATTLE — Certified public accounting firm Clark Nuber has issued an unmodified, “clean” audit opinion for the Washington State Bar Association’s 2019 fiscal year. This marks several decades of similar upstanding independent audit reports for the state bar.
The audit report certifies that the bar’s finances are well managed and accurate in all material respects. An unmodified opinion means there were no adjustments made, no material weaknesses found, and no management letter issued.
“This gives us a high degree of confidence in the bar’s financial integrity,” said WSBA Treasurer Dan Clark. “It shows that the data we report on our financial statements is true and accurate, which indicates we are being responsible stewards of membership dollars. Congratulations to the bar’s financial team and all staff for their diligent budget controls and processes.”
Bar leaders are committed to being accountable to members and the public through a high level of transparency and active examination of financial operations. Toward that end, the Board of Governors has also authorized an additional independent audit this year, which will focus on processes and execution to our Fiscal Policies and Procedures. This type of audit is good practice for an organization every five to 10 years, and it examines whether day-to-day financial processes and controls follow procedures and policies as written. It goes deep into the financial data and can result in recommendations for refinement toward industry best practices.
Results from this second audit should be available in spring 2020.
More information about the state bar’s finances, including audit reports and financial statements, is at wsba.org/finances.
Download a printable PDF version of this release.
The WSBA is committed to being accountable to its members and the public for its finances and welcomes your questions and suggestions about financial matters. The Budget and Audit Committee of the Board of Governors oversees Bar finances.
Read the FY 2020 WSBA Budget for fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2020.
Past WSBA Budgets
The Bar's fiscal year is Oct. 1–Sept. 30. The WSBA produces internal unaudited financial statements monthly. These reports are made up of income (profit/loss) statements for each of the WSBA’s cost centers. Reports show monthly and year-to-date financial activities and the budget associated with each of those activities. A summary sheet combining all cost centers provides an overall picture of the Bar's financial status at the end of each month, and a cash balances statement shows the WSBA’s current cash and investments allocations. WSBA’s year-end financial statements are audited each year by an independent accounting firm.
Year-End Audit Report
At the end of each year, the Bar engages an independent certified public accounting firm to audit our financial statements. In addition to verifying financial statement accuracy, the auditors review, analyze, and test internal controls over reporting, management oversight, and various systems related to the WSBA’s finances and overall operations of the organization. The Budget and Audit Committee reviewed the fiscal year 2019 year-end financial results at its January 2020 meeting. As in prior years, the WSBA received an “unmodified opinion” for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2019. No adjustments were made, no material weaknesses were noted, and no management letter was issued. The results of this very positive audit indicate that the WSBA’s finances are accurate in all material aspects.
Lawyer License Fees
License fees are the main source of funding for WSBA programs, services, and operations. As fiduciaries, the Board of Governors must set license fees at a level that enables the Bar to continue to meet our regulatory obligations, advance our mission, provide value to our members at reasonable cost, and preserve a prudent level of reserves. In September 2016, following extensive examination of historical, current, and projected revenues, expenses, license fees, and reserves, the Board adopted lawyer licenses fees for the period 2018-2020 at the following levels: $449 in 2018, $453 in 2019, and $458 in 2020. These levels reflect the Board’s deep commitment to support WSBA as an integrated bar, while preserving minimum operating reserves of $2 million.
Learn about our License Fee Exemptions and Payment Plan.