California Says Pandemic Delays 2019 Audit That Was Already Late

California’s financial statement for the fiscal year ended June 2019 is now expected in September, as the pandemic complicates a process already delayed by a transition to a new accounting system.

The state’s comprehensive annual financial report, an essential document for gauging California’s fiscal standing, generally comes in the March following the end of a fiscal year. This past March, state Controller Betty Yee notified bond investors that because of the difficulties agencies had in adjusting to the new system, she expected the document to come in June.

On Wednesday, Treasurer Fiona Ma said in a regulatory filing that “the transition to the new statewide accounting, budget, cash management and procurement system as well as the impact of the implementation of measures by state departments intended to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 continue to cause a delay in the completion of the 2019 CAFR.”

The report may even come after September, the state warned.

California has been gradually implementing the Financial Information System for California (FI$Cal), a $1.06 billion modernization project that has ballooned in cost since original estimates, according to a report from State Auditor Elaine Howle. She warned in January that late filings can undermine investor confidence and even lead to lower ratings and higher borrowing costs.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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