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For the first time in 14 years, the village of Riverside is changing the firm that audits its annual financial statement.
On Oct. 15, the village board voted unanimously to hire the firm of Lauterbach and Amen LLP as its auditor for the next five years, inking a contract worth $125,000. In addition to auditing the village's books annually, Lauterbach and Amen will audit finances for the Riverside Public Library, produce an annual village management letter regarding the audits and issue an annual financial report to the state comptroller.
In addition, Lauterbach and Amen will be tasked with performing a review of the village's pension fund annual reports and complete the state Department of Financial and Professional Regulation police pension filing.
For the past two years, Riverside's finance department handled the pension-related filings in house to save pension money from being spent, according to Riverside Finance Director Jessica Frances.
Moving forward, the finance department won't have to do that.
"We're getting such a great price, we're still saving pension fund money," she said.
Lauterbach and Amen submitted what amounted to the lowest bid during a call for proposals for auditing services. Riverside received four responses from auditing firms, including its longtime auditor, Sikich LLP.
"It's something you want to do every five years, so you're getting competitive pricing from qualified firms," said Frances.
Sikich LLP was hired as the village's auditor in 1998 and the company had its contract renewed three times. Riverside last asked for proposals in 2007, when Sikich was the low bidder. Sikich was the highest bidder during the most recent call for proposals, submitting a bid that would have cost the village more than $153,700.
For its 2011 fiscal year audit, Riverside paid $24,675 for auditing services from Sikich, which lowered its fees from the 2010 audit, when it charged Riverside $25,214.
For the 2012 audit, Riverside will pay Lauterbach and Amen $24,000. During the final year of the contract, for the 2016 audit, Riverside will pay $26,070.
Lauterbach and Amen will begin meeting with Riverside officials in November and begin its preliminary work on the audit of Riverside's 2012 financial statement in January, according to a schedule provided by the firm in its proposal. The 2012 audit is scheduled to be completed in May 2013 for approval by the village board.
Lauterbach and Amen also serves as the auditing firm for the village of Brookfield.