How long will an audit take?
The length of time it takes to complete an audit varies, depending on the size, complexity and strength of the school’s internal controls. Some audits are completed within a couple of weeks, while others can take several months, and the time can be lengthened or reduced depending on the issues.
What will the audit staff need from me?
Cooperation and communication are important for a successful audit. The following include specific examples of how your active involvement will ensure the auditing process goes smoothly:
- Provide the requested materials and information regarding financial, operational and information systems by the requested dates.
- Share your concerns about any internal control weaknesses.
- Review your Engagement Letter, and ask questions if certain areas are unclear
- Review the preliminary test results and brainstorm possible corrective actions
- Review the draft report, make suggestions for changes, and offer solutions before or during the exit conference
- Help draft a realistic timeframe for completion of the management plan
- Request the audit review and/or assessment of issues troubling to management
- Remember: There should be no surprises at the end of an audit. The Office of Auditing Services will keep you informed throughout the audit, and let you know of any findings or recommendations. If you have any information that can clarify a potential audit issue, please let the auditing team know during the audit.
Will the audit disrupt my department’s everyday activity?
An audit may affect a department’s routine to a small extent. However, we aim to minimize any interruptions to your normal work schedule as much as possible.
What does the basic audit process involve?
An audit is broken down into four parts:
- Planning: During this phase, we interview departments, personnel and members of other offices you interact with to gather information. We also perform financial analyses to get a clear understanding of the functions of your department.
- Fieldwork: This is the period the auditing team will spend on-site. We perform tests of various transactions, which are determined ahead of time, so that staff or personnel can prepare the necessary information ahead of time.
- Reporting: This is compilation phase of the audit, where issues and/or suggestions are assembled to discuss with the staff. Issues will be resolved or included in the official audit report.
- Follow-up: A follow-up will be scheduled within a reasonable timeframe after the report is issued.
How can I prepare for an audit?
For scheduled audits, the Office of Audit Services will communicate in advance with staff about an upcoming audit. After being notified, you can prepare by (not a comprehensive list):
- Preparing your department’s organizational chart, list of personnel and job descriptions, process flowchart, operating policies and procedures
- Preparing copies of recent external audit reports within the audit period
- Informing the department staff about the upcoming audit, and encourage full cooperation with the audit team
- If applicable, assign areas of the audit scope to key employees so they can effectively plan and prepare to respond to audit requests
- Contacting the audit team if you have questions or comments about the upcoming audit
What’s the difference between an external audit and an internal audit?
External auditors can be government auditors or independent public accounting firms. Government auditors focus primarily on compliance with government regulations. Independent public accounting firms review financial statements. Internal auditors often review the same data and perform the same steps as external auditors, and can effectively provide checks and balances of processes before external auditors perform their duties.