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The Audit Process

Step 1: Define Audit Objectives
Prior to the audit, AMAS conducts a preliminary planning and information gathering phase. The assigned auditor defines the audit objectives and likely scope of the audit. The auditor starts to develop the audit program to define the audit testing procedures. This step occurs after the audit has been assigned and typically involves a review of previous audit work papers.

Step 2: Audit Announcement
Once the audit objectives have been defined, AMAS formally issues an audit engagement memo to the management of the area that will be audited. The memo’s distribution list may include senior administration officials that supervise the university unit. The purpose of the memo is to introduce the objectives of the audit, to detail the planned review process, and to set the expectations for the course of the audit.

Step 3: Audit Entrance Meeting
AMAS initially meets with the auditee to discuss the audit scope and subsequent audit steps. At this meeting, the auditee should provide an overview of major programs and operations, relevant contact names, relevant policies and procedures, and other information that will assist us in the fieldwork. We will also discuss the expected length of the audit.

Step 4: Fieldwork
AMAS gathers information and performs audit testing in order to gain an understanding of internal controls; we examine documents and other records for evidence to determine whether effective internal controls are in place. During the audit fieldwork, we may also perform detailed testing of transactions; evaluate compliance with existing university policies and adherence to external regulations; and review system related controls for data integrity and completeness. The auditor will often request further information and documents as needed.

Risk Issue Levels: During the course of audit work performed, possible risks are rated as High, Moderate or Low based on established criteria. This ensures consistency in reporting audit findings and to ensure the significance of each finding is rated per agreed upon criteria and the seriousness of the audit finding. The risk level is recalculated over the course of the audit to reflect established internal controls that mitigate risk. The residual risk level helps AMAS determine whether the controls are adequate and if a recommendation is necessary to mitigate the risk further.

Step 5: Reviewing and Communicating Results
If AMAS identifies potential control weaknesses, policy violations, or other issues during the course of the fieldwork, they are discussed with the auditee. Throughout the audit, the auditor will discuss any issues with management in order to ensure the issue and associated risks are fully understood and to obtain agreement on potential improvements. If further review and discussion confirms that an issue exists, it will be documented in the audit report.

Step 6: Audit Exit Meeting
At the conclusion of the fieldwork, AMAS formally meets with management to discuss issues and  audit recommendations that will be contained in the audit report. Recommendations are discussed and agreed upon by both parties to ensure that the management response is reasonable and achievable.

Step 7: Audit Report
Management is expected to review audit issues and recommendations for completeness and accuracy and prepare a formal response and action plan.

AMAS issues a formal audit report which is used to inform university and auditee management of the identified issues and control weaknesses, and assist management move toward improvement in areas of concern. All audit reports are delivered in summary to the Trustee Audit Committee.

Post Audit

Audit Survey
Following the issuance of the final audit report,  management is asked to complete a Post Audit Survey to help AMAS evaluate the effectiveness of the audit process, including effectiveness of the review areas in planning the audit, AMAS performance, professionalism, and knowledge of the audit team.

If you’ve been recently audited by our department and would like to provide feedback, please complete our online survey.

Follow-up Audits
AMAS conducts a follow-up audit within six to twelve months if any high or moderate issues were identified in a final audit report. At this time, AMAS will request information on corrective action taken to address all previously identified significant issues.

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