Auditor General on the Audited Financial Statements of the Consolidated Fund of the Government of Bermuda

Auditor General, Heather Thomas, today commented on her qualified opinion on the financial statements of the Consolidated Fund of the Government of Bermuda for the year ended March 31, 2023, included in the financial statements laid for information March 15, 2024, in the House of Assembly, by The Hon. E. David G. Burt, Premier and Minister of Finance

The Auditor General’s audit of the Government of Bermuda’s Consolidated Fund for the year ended March 31, 2023 resulted in a qualified opinion. Qualifications like the one in this report represent omissions or errors considered so significant that Auditor General Thomas says, ‘could make a difference to readers understanding of the financial statements, and its also hinders financial statement users, from engaging in informed debate about the government’s finances.  


Mrs. Thomas noted that her Auditor’s Opinion on the 2022/2023 Consolidated Fund financial statements was qualified with respect to insufficient support for the government asset retirement obligations.  

Public Sector Accounting Standards (PSAS) is the standard followed by the government by signed agreement, and serves as the foundation to communicate financial information. For the year ended March 31, 2023, the Government was required to adopt Public Sector Accounting Standard PS 3280 Asset Retirement Obligations.  Asset retirement obligations are legal obligations associated with the retirement of tangible capital assets.  This legal obligation includes obligations associated with the retirement of a tangible capital asset resulting from its acquisitions, construction development, or normal use.  The Government was required to identify all legal obligations associated with the retirement of its assets, and record, and estimate the future costs of remediation for these obligations to determine their valuation.  

A number of discussions were held with management on the effectivity and adoption of PS 3280 from August 2019 in preparation of the new standard.  In August 2023, management provided my office with its analysis on asset retirement obligations but this analysis lacked a number of required factors.  

“Consequently, I was unable to acquire sufficient appropriate audit evidence to determine whether adjustments might be necessary to tangible capital assets, asset retirement obligation liability, expenses, total nonfinancial assets, total liabilities, annual deficit and accumulated deficit for the year ended March 31, 2023, stated Mrs. Thomas. Aside from this qualification, the financial statements of the Consolidated Fund present fairly the financial position of the government.

In addition, in her Auditor’s opinion, the Auditor General included an Emphasis of Matter paragraph to highlight that the Consolidated Fund financial statements are not summary consolidated financial statements of the Government of Bermuda.  She explained that the ‘Emphasis of Matter’’ does not represent a qualification of her Auditor’s Opinion, but is used to report matters that in her professional opinion should be brought to the attention of Parliament and the public; as permitted by professional auditing standards and the Audit Act 1990.  

The Auditor General thanked the Ministry of Finance, the Accountant General Department and the OAG team of professionals dedicated to improving public sector financial management and accountability.  

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