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In Case You Are Audited

Whether your department is being audited by Internal Audit, an independent CPA firm, OSC (Office of State Comptroller), or SUNY, the following suggestions will assist you in getting through the audit process.

Don't Panic.

The auditors have a job to do and so do you. Do your best to answer their questions and provide whatever records they require. If you have a concern as to whether a record may be provided, contact your supervisor. If they ask a question outside your field of expertise, or in an area which is not your responsibility, refer them back to your supervisor.

If the auditors find a problem, they will usually discuss it with you before it's printed in the audit report. Also, they will make recommendations for how the situation can be corrected. If possible, implement the recommendation or a similar one of your own design as soon as possible. In some cases, the auditors may be willing to note your corrective action in their final report.

Be Prepared.

Each audit team has different methods of performing audits. Internal Audit recommends an opening conference (prior to the audit) between the auditors and department management to discuss how the audit will be performed. If a list of requested items is provided to you in advance, do your best to prepare these items and provide them to the auditors as soon as they arrive. Only provide the information that the auditors request, no more, no less.   Also, please provide it in an organized manner. That way, they can complete the audit as quickly as possible. The sooner they finish, the sooner you will be back to business as usual.

Be Patient.

Please remember that the auditors don't do your job everyday. Although there are standard accounting and management practices, every department does things in a slightly different manner. There are always unique situations to decipher . Know that the auditor may need your assistance to understand your department's method of accounting. Answer their questions as concisely as possible.

Be Available.

Audits take time, but, in the meantime, you must continue to perform your regular work. It's understood that your time may be limited . But try to make yourself available as much as you can while the auditors are there. It will speed the pace of the audit. When your auditors arrive, make them aware of your schedule so they will know when you are available. Also, it may be helpful to check in with the auditors once or twice a day just to see if there is anything they need from you. Finally, if there is someone else in your department who can answer questions in your absence, make the auditors aware of that. Again, the sooner their questions are answered, the quicker they can complete their task.

Be Open to Suggestions.

It is likely that, over the course of the audit, the auditors will have findings and make recommendations as to how to improve or correct processes. Be open to the suggestions and determine whether or not they are practical and efficient, or if they are necessary to meet regulatory requirements. If they are, inform the auditors verbally and in a written response that the recommendations will be implemented. If they are not, inform the auditors in a written response your disagreement and the reasons therefore.