CPE for Government Auditors

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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COSO and the GAO Green Book are the same thing

Chapter Objectives Identify the purpose of the GAO’s Green Book Identify the standard setting bodies that are involved in the creation of the GAO Green Book  Identify reasons why most organizations do not achieve the ideal internal control structure described in the GAO Green Book GAOGreen Book, GAO Yellow Book … will the Government Accountability […]

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Meticulous, Fastidious & Thorough: Minor Themes of the Yellow Book

Objectives: •    Identify communication requirements for all types of Yellow Book engagements •    Identify planning requirements for all types of Yellow Book engagements   We will cover nine minor themes in this chapter that apply to all three types of engagements. The minor themes are: 1.    Licensing and certification 2.    Auditor communication 3.    Results of […]

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Hard Earned Audit Wisdom – Audit Planning per the GAO

Objectives: •    Differentiate between the concepts of materiality and significance •    Identify factors that affect audit risk in a performance audit •    Define the parameters of an audit project: audit objective, audit scope, and audit methodology •    Distinguish among the types of information that you “should” and “may” gather during the planning phase of a […]

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Abuse, Waste & Other Shenanigans: Reportable Conditions

Objectives: Classify an audit finding as: an internal control weakness; a violation of contract or grant agreement; fraud; or abuse and waste. Differentiate among the elements of a finding. If the auditee exhibits any of the following three conditions, and these conditions are significant or material, the auditor should describe them in their audit report […]

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Blending the Green Book with the Yellow Book

Objectives: Identify the purpose of the GAO’s Green Book. Distinguish between components of internal control. Distinguish between management objectives Choose a finite subject matter on which to apply controls Identify the auditor’s responsibilities regarding application of the Green Book Most of the changes between the 2011 Yellow Book and the 2018 Yellow Book that we […]

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Has the GAO gone too far with audit quality control?

Objectives:  Assess whether an audit team has met the Yellow Book requirements regarding quality control and peer review At the most basic level, the quality control requirements are twofold. The Yellow Book requires that audit shops: have an internal quality control system, and undergo an external peer review that determines whether the audit shop’s quality […]

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Why would a government employee commit fraud?

Please enjoy the first chapter of “The Little Book of Government Fraud” by Charles Hall, CPA.  An fun-to-read and informative self-study course available at Yellowbook-CPE.com. Objectives: Identify common characteristics of fraudsters Identify various types of fraud schemes Before we dig into fraud at the ground level of individual transactions, let’s take a look at local government fraud from […]

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Do you know what you are doing? Chapter 4: Yellow Book competence standards

As I revise my self-study book, “The Yellow Book Interpreted,” I will be sharing chapters with you. Objectives:  Assess whether an audit team has met competency standards The competencestandard has raised more than a few eyebrows over the years.  The competence standard is where the GAO introduces a very stringent continuing education requirement. Let’s begin by understanding the GAO’s […]

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