The annual audit for the Electronic Services System and Iowa Land Records was presented to the ESS Coordinating Committee (the Iowa Land Records governing board) at their quarterly meeting on August 8, 2019.  Representatives of the private auditor Denman & Company provided the Committee with a financial analysis and reviewed the assets and liabilities and the income and expenses for the project during calendar year 2018. Auditors also presented information about management’s analysis, a summary of significant accounting policies, and a review of financial controls. So what is the bottom line? Here are the key highlights.

  • In 2018 ESS processed more than $16.5 million in recording fees which were distributed to the individual counties – an increase of more than 12% over calendar year 2017
  • ESS processed more than $1.5 million in point of sale transactions on behalf of more than 80 participating counties
  • In the opinion of the auditor – “the financial statements referred to above present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of Electronic Services System”

The ESS Coordinating Committee and the Iowa Land Records team take their financial reporting and management responsibilities very seriously. Each month a Finance Subcommittee appointed by the ESS Committee reviews the financial statements, the table of accounts payables and the expenditure receipts. The Finance Subcommittee also reviews the project budget, engages in the development of policies relating to financial issues and makes recommendations to the ESS Committee.

The Electronic Services System has secured the services of a private auditor each year since 2005, when a full audit of the project was performed by the Office of the State Auditor. The Office of the State Auditor also performed a periodic performance audit in 2015. The private audits are associated with the inception of electronic filing. The very first electronically filed document was recorded in December of 2005.  In calendar year 2006, there only 310 documents electronically filed, and total revenue from electronic recording was only $7,778.00. A lot has changed since then.The Electronic Services System and Iowa Land Records views each audit as a constructive process which provides the opportunity to make continuous improvements in financial management and reporting procedures. “In the very beginning when there were just few transactions, financial reporting was handled with an Excel spreadsheet. That’s all that was needed,” said Phil Dunshee, ESS and Iowa Land Records Project Manager. As electronic recording grew, and the activities became more complex, more robust accounting methods and systems were brought into play. Regular and ongoing conversations with our auditors help keep us moving in the right direction. Everyone on our team is proud of our positive audit record.”

You can view the 2018 Audit and other financial records on our Accountability in Reporting page.

Total Recording Income
  • Electronic Recording Fees: $5.8 million
  • Real Estate Transfer Taxes: $10.5 million
  • Auditor Transfer Fees: $235,000
Total ILR Project Income
  • $1 Recording Fee: $57,097
  • $3 E-submission Service Fee: 801,343
  • County Support: $162,289

TOTAL INCOME: $1,541,729

Total ILR Project Expenses


Redaction Expenses


Budgeted: $73,235 | Reserve Funds: $37,094

2018 Recording Trends

Documents Posted Online: 659,623

PII Redactions Applied: 574