CPE for Government Auditors
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Are you ready for audit leadership?

I love a good super-hero movie;  Thor Ragnarock is my fave.  Loki, Kate Blanchett, kick-ass female warriors, Jeff Goldblum, and a killer soundtrack that includes Led Zepplin’s, the Immigrant Song!  Fun stuff. And I love how Thor grows as a leader throughout the movie in order to save his people.  He is forced to embrace […]

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A pretty facade won’t cover an audit failure – steps of an audit, concluded

The audit report can only be as good as the audit that underpins it. Audit failures lead to audit report suffering.

No amount of editing or formatting will cover a failed audit   The most common reason that audit reports are so painful to create is that the audit itself failed. Nice Facade. Bad Infrastructure. The Worst Audit Ever! When I worked for a legislative auditor in the early 90’s, audit management was chomping at the […]

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Audit Documentation: The Steps of Conducting an Audit Continued

We are almost done with the steps of performing an audit.  This week, audit documentation! The 14 Steps of Performing an Audit Receive vague audit assignment Gather information about audit subject Determine audit criteria Break the universe into pieces Identify inherent risks Refine audit objective and sub-objectives Identify controls and assess control risk Choose methodologies […]

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Why you should tell your new audit staff everything

Show them the whole picture of how an audit works

I didn’t know what I was doing – or why I was doing it – early in my audit career. I had taken one (one!) college course on auditing that looked nothing like what I encountered on my first audit. Regardless, I was now on the payroll and the firm expected me to earn my […]

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Is your audit program customized? More on the Steps of Performing an Audit

An audit program is a simple but powerful document.  Audit programs can: link the audit objective to the methodologies to the underlying evidence gathered summarize the evidence gathered and results of methodologies performed set forth a systematic plan for each phase of the audit work document when methodologies were completed and reviewed allow supervisors to […]

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The Audit Methodology: Steps of an Audit continued…

Now we are getting down to the nitty gritty – the audit methodology!  We have worked through the first 7 steps of performing an audit in recent articles:  Steps 1-3,  Steps 4-6 , and Step 7.  Now let’s look at steps 8 & 9. The 14 Steps of Performing an Audit Receive vague audit assignment […]

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Steps of an audit #7: control risk assessment

We are still working through how to perform an audit, step by step.  We are on step 7 – the control risk assessment.  To see previous posts on the steps of performing an audit, please see Steps 1-3 and Steps 4-6. The 14 Steps of Performing an Audit Receive vague audit assignment Gather information about audit […]

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Are your audit reports sexy?

Are your audit reports sexy?

We had poured our hearts and souls into that 40-page (!) report and were convinced we were doing incredibly important work. The auditee needed to make changes, and pronto! But we heard nothing. Nada. Crickets. No action was taken, no one asked any questions. We were deflated and discouraged. We worried about the auditee’s continued […]

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Defining inherent risks: audit steps 4-6

Staying on track on an audit is mighty tough!  Especially when you are using tools created by someone else who isn’t on your audit.  Keep this list of the steps of performing an audit handy so that you know where you are and what you need to do next. The 14 Steps of Performing an […]

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The Implementation Date of the 2018 Yellow Book is Near

GAO Yellow Book

The implementation date of the 2018 Yellow Book is near for performance auditors – audits beginning after July 1 this year!  Check out this quote from the introductory letter of the 2018 Yellow Book: The 2018 revision of Government Auditing Standards is effective for financial audits, attestation engagements, and reviews of financial statements for periods […]

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How to do an audit in 14 steps

Auditing can get complicated, especially when you are using audit tools developed by someone else.  Sometimes you get so hung up in checking all the boxes and filling in all the blanks, that you lose sight of the big picture. Here is how to do an audit in 14 steps so that you know where […]

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Audit Interview Skill: Listening

How can you learn anything if you are talking? My PawPaw always told his grandchildren that if our mouths were moving, we weren’t learning. If your mouth is moving, you aren’t conducting an audit interview; you are making a presentation! 90% of the sound should be coming from the interviewee, not you! Assess your audit […]

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Focus on a narrow audit objective

  The 2018 version of the Yellow Book mentions audit objectives 163 times in one chapter on performance audits!  That tells me that objectives run the show!  And you know, the broader your audit  objective, the longer your audit becomes and the harder your audit report is to write. Narrow audit objectives keep your audit […]

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Two Approaches to Audit Risk Assessment

Let the auditee define the risk

I have always harbored a bit of uneasiness about auditing. It started on my very first audit. I remember being 23 years old, walking in to a client’s office, asking questions, and then passing judgment on their systems and procedures. What a precarious place for me to be. How could I, an outsider, quickly understand […]

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The elements of an audit finding

elements of an audit finding

The elements of an audit finding are so core to planning, performing, and reporting on an audit, one newsletter can only scratch the surface on all that needs to be said! In this newsletter, we will just get a sense of what the elements of an audit finding are. What are the elements of a […]

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Audit Report Writing Tip: The Three Stages of Editing

The editing hierarchy for audit reports When I first began my role as editor of audit reports in a large audit office, I edited in the silliest way possible. I wasted so much time and caused so much animosity, it is surprising they kept me on the payroll. Here is what I would do: I […]

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The Little Things Make a Huge Difference in Audit Documentation

Source, purpose, procedures, results, conclusions. When I first started auditing, these so called “elements of audit documentation” were drilled into my brain by an anal-retentive audit supervisor so effectively that I could say them in my sleep. That very strict audit supervisor made me put that stuff on every document! Sometimes I was more than […]

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Audit interviews can change color very quickly

An auditor sets the tone for an audit interview In relating to others—especially the ultra-sensitive, elusive creature known as the audit client—we do well to imagine ourselves as lead chameleons. Chameleons change colors with the environment they are in. It is your job, as lead chameleon, to create the tone—the color, if you will—of the […]

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Build Safety in Audit Interviews

In order to win in an audit interview, you should keep a poker face and not answer any questions.  Yep.  Don’t answer questions – or, more specifically, don’t answer questions in the way you answered questions in school with the ‘right answer.’ The way you handle their answers to your questions – and the way […]

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How Auditors Help Take Care of Federal Grants

How NOT to take care of a grant My generous father paid for my entire education at the University of Texas back in the ‘80s. For the first two years, he paid the University directly for my tuition, dormitory, and food plan. Tuition then was a whopping $464 a semester! I estimate he might have […]

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