The process of conducting an audit typically includes six steps. The time required to complete each step varies based upon the scope and size of the audit. The Auditors of Public Accounts sends an engagement letter to the agency defining the audit scope, methodology, start date, and the name of the supervisor conducting the audit. The agency must grant the Auditors of Public Accounts access to suitable office space, parking, phones, agency information systems or anything else required for the auditors to conduct their work. The agency must also designate a liaison to be its direct contact person on the audit.
Step One: Entrance Conference
At this meeting, the auditors brief agency staff on what they can expect during the audit process. Questions are encouraged and arrangements are made for future communication between APA and agency staff.
Step Two: Fieldwork
Fieldwork includes information gathering and analysis of that information against standards or criteria. Information is gathered in various ways, including records review, data analyses, and interviews. This information is used to determine whether the agency is executing its responsibilities effectively, efficiently, and in compliance with state law.
Step Three: Draft the Audit Report
The draft audit report presents conclusions and recommendations and is shared with agency staff. The agency may provide written responses and express any concerns about the recommendations.
Step Four: APA Management Review
The draft audit report goes through a series of reviews that include the auditor’s supervisor, deputy state auditor, and the state auditors. The report is checked for conformance with audit standards and accuracy. Any necessary changes are made and the state auditors make all final decisions on the report’s content and presentation.
Step Five: Exit Conference (Optional)
At this meeting, APA provides the agency the formal opportunity to discuss the report draft and provide additional facts or context. Following the exit conference, APA typically offers agency staff a final opportunity to change any written responses published in the audit report. In addition, the agency’s top management is required to sign a management representation letter attesting to various issues related to the audit.
Step Six: Report Release
APA releases its audit reports electronically to all legislators, press, and other interested parties. APA also posts the reports to its website. Each report includes a one-page executive summary that includes the report’s key findings and conclusions.