CLAYTON -- The city's new finance manager, Kevin Mizuno, was probably the only one in the room who relished a discussion of financial statements as much as the Cropper Accountancy Corporation auditors during his first City Council presentation Feb. 4.
Auditors described the statement as unmodified, which Mizuno explained, "That means that it is a clean opinion."
Councilwoman Julie Pierce thanked Mizuno and added, "Having Kevin on board should make for smoother audits in the future, now that we are caught up."
The unanimously approved 2012-2013 fiscal year audited statement showed a "strong general fund balance" with revenue at $397,548 above budgeted expenses, but noted that there are "significant deficiencies in the segregation of duties."
Mizuno's extensive government auditing experience appears to neatly dovetail with the city's need to address that. He spent the past five years with Vavrinek, Trine, Day & Company, an auditing firm serving municipalities, counties and governmental agency clients.
Multiple factors contributed to city financial reporting falling behind: Clayton acquired a new computer accounting system in 2010 while dissolving its Redevelopment Agency, which required additional financial reports, in addition to learning to use the system.
But with the acceptance of the audit, reporting is now up to date.
Mizuno noted that the segregation of duties issue, while a logical consequence of a small staff, may be mitigated by modifying the use of the city's Blackbaud general ledger system.
"After about six months when you really know the systems and study the city's policies on areas such as investments, billing and procurement we can (also) update them if needed," he said. "Every day there is always a new task," he said. "It is a small city and works as a team to get things done."
A self-described accounting nerd, Mizuno graduated from Clayton Valley High School and San Diego State with a bachelor's degree in accounting and a minor in German.
Mizuno's resume also includes prior work with Horvath & Partners Management Consultants on an Abu Dhabi international airport re-engineering project assisting with the implementation of computer business processes and data management systems.
"I am really excited about making the transition from external accounting ... and in being in Clayton," Mizuno said. "I like everyone and everyone communicates well. Very good vibe here."
After managing 10 to 15 clients at once in his last position, he said, "It is nice to focus on one particular client. But I wouldn't have the auditor intuition if I had not gone through that experience. My specialty was cities, counties and specialized funds."
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