University of North Texas overstated fiscal health - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

University of North Texas overstated fiscal health

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Financial documents released by the University of North Texas show accounting irregularities that have overstated the university's financial position by as much as $23 million.

Audits conducted by the university and a private firm show misleading budget entries made since 2012 to account for unresolved collections. But they were registered as accounts receivable, which are often recorded as assets.

The documents were obtained by the Denton Record-Chronicle (http://bit.ly/1md9aGu ) through an open records request.

The impetus for the audits was a complaint to the State Auditor's Office in 2012 that suggested the budget entries had been made to "hide thousands of unreconciled transactions" since 2004, according to the documents released by UNT to the newspaper.

The audit by the private firm, Deloitte & Touche, also found UNT inflated the amount of cash it had by $5.9 million. The university's budget in 2012 was $520 million.

The developments are another financial setback for UNT. In an unrelated matter, the university may have to repay millions for inappropriately using state money to pay some employee benefits.

Chancellor Lee Jackson said Thursday that UNT has had inaccurate revenue estimates since 2011, if not earlier.

"I saw UNT miss its budget estimates for several years," Jackson said. "They were attributed to enrollment miscalculations. It may also be that they relate to the failure to receive some state benefits appropriations that were predicted or projected."

Jackson said the university was using inadequate financial management procedures. While reform measures have been underway the past few years, the upgraded software and required training won't be complete until next year, he said.

This is the first time Jackson has fully outlined financial issues and a plan of action since the university first acknowledged the problems in February.

Three top finance officials all resigned Feb. 13. Andrew Harris, vice president for finance and administration, and Jean Bush, senior vice president for finance, resigned from the Denton campus. Carlos Hernandez, who was serving as vice president of finance at UNT Dallas but was previously controller and associate vice president for UNT Denton, also resigned that day.

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