Who takes the longest to audit municipal bonds? New research provides an answer: school districts are fastest on average, and counties are slowest.

The Government Finance Research Center of University of Illinois Chicago recently released their research analyzing audit trends from 2009 to 2020 relating to munis.

As reported by the American City & County, the findings of the study are as follows:

Municipal bond issuers normally take two to three times longer—140 to 160 days—to complete their audits. Within the municipal governmental bond sector, counties had the longest audit time, averaging between 179 to 196 days depending on the year. States and territories were second (173 to 184 days), and cities were third (171 to 179 days). School districts generally had the fastest audit times.

Among the revenue bond sectors, wholesale electric, private higher education, hospitals and health care systems had the fastest audit times for fiscal year 2020. Airports, water and sewer organizations had the slowest audit time in the same sector.

The research topic is important because “Timely audit reporting is essential for credit evaluation and proper pricing in the municipal bond market and is an important indicator of good governance and stewardship,” said Deborah Carroll, director of the Government Finance Research Center at UIC, in a statement.