The Audit Process
Based on the type of review, each portion of the audit will take more or less time. However, all audits, except for the most basic, will include the following five steps:
Step 1: Planning
We begin each audit with a planning phase which does not usually require departmental involvement. The audit staff will review any past audit work, look over available literature on the department, and make a preliminary review of departmental income and expense. During this time, the auditors will also tentatively formulate our scope and audit plan, on which they will base the fieldwork.
Step 2: Intro Meeting
After you receive your introductory letter announcing the audit, we will call you to schedule an introductory meeting. These meetings typically last no longer than an hour and take place at your office, if possible. At this time you have the opportunity to meet the audit staff and ask questions about the upcoming audit work and the audit process. We encourage you to discuss any concerns you may have and any areas or business functions that you would like auditors to review. During the meeting, we will discuss the potential time frame for the review, the audit objectives, and the audit logistics (facilities, availability of personnel, primary contacts, etc.). At this time, you may also provide the staff with the few pieces of information we request before each audit begins—a departmental organization chart, a contact list, and literature describing the department—if available.
Step 3: Fieldwork
In this step, the actual work of the audit is performed. The audit staff begins the fieldwork by gathering information about the auditee’s operations, gaining an understanding of departmental functions, and identifying areas of weakness and concern (as well as strengths). This work includes reviewing financial and budgeting activity, administrative and business procedures, critical departmental functions, information technology, and other activities specific to each auditee. The audit staff will conduct interviews with key personnel, observe departmental procedures, and periodically review the audit progress with the department heads and personnel. You many contact us at any time throughout the audit with your questions or concerns regarding the audit process or audit findings. During the fieldwork, which is typically the lengthiest part of the audit, the audit staff identifies areas of risk and concern within the department’s internal controls and procedures, all of which will be discussed with you before or at the conclusion of the fieldwork.
Step 4: Reporting
After the fieldwork is completed and our findings and concerns have been reviewed with you, the audit staff will first prepare a draft report. The draft report is transmitted to you for your review and in order for you to prepare your response. Responses typically include corrective action plans, the parties responsible for the action, and the timeline to complete the process. Once your response is received and we agree on the report text, the report is ready to be finalized. Your response is incorporated or attached where appropriate, and the Final Report is delivered to you and the appropriate parties in University management and the departmental reporting line. You will be given the opportunity to review the final report before the distribution is completed.
Step 5: Follow-Up
Depending on the nature of the audit or the audit findings, the follow-up procedure may be formal or informal. In either case, after a reasonable period of time, the auditee will be contacted regarding the departmental progress with the corrective actions identified in the audit. At this time, we may perform a follow-up review concluding with a follow-up report. In most cases, the auditee is only contacted informally, possibly several times, to monitor the status of the department’s progress. If you have any questions or new concerns in the follow-up period, we welcome you to share them at this time, so that we may determine if further audit work is necessary.