Frequently Asked Questions
What is internal auditing?
The Office of Internal Auditing is a service unit organized to help you, as a university manager, achieve your goals and objectives. We view each assignment as an opportunity to work together to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of University operations and to ensure compliance with governing laws, rules and regulations.
By state statute, the office reports directly to the university president. A formal charter, first approved by the President’s Council in 1984, establishes the office’s mission, objectives, scope, authority and responsibility. The charter grants internal auditors full, free and unrestricted access to all university activities, records, property and personnel, and is consistent with the Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing and the Code of Ethics promulgated by the Institute of Internal Auditors, Inc.
As internal auditors, we play many roles: auditor, consultant, accountant, advisor, systems analyst, listener, teacher and administrator. In these roles, all of our activities are directed toward helping the university achieve its goals. Our focus is on the future. Although we may look at how you have done things in the past and how you are doing things today, we use this information to suggest improvements so that you can manage even more effectively.
Why was I selected to be audited?
Not all audit projects are selected in the same way. Generally an area is selected for internal audit in one of four ways:
- Through the application of a risk model, projects are selected based on their relative risk. Several factors (e.g., the internal control structure, complexity of operations, asset liquidity, etc.) are considered to develop a list of projects, prioritize according to their audit risk. Projects with the greatest risk exposure are assigned the highest priority.
- Some routine or cyclical audits are mandated by state statute. Examples of these projects include audits of grants and contracts, data processing systems, petty cash funds, and inventories.
- Still other audits are performed as the result of special requests. For example, a vice president may request that we review an activity or function in his/her area.
- Finally, a small percentage of internal audits are initiated to investigate irregularities.
Why might I request an audit?
An audit can produce many benefits, and timing can be an important factor. If you have recently assumed new or additional supervisory responsibilities, an audit can review administrative procedures to assess whether internal controls in a particular area are adequate. An audit is also beneficial in assessing system controls and modifications to office procedures resulting from the installation of new computer systems.
A periodic “checkup” to review your unit’s administrative activity can help ensure that your procedures continue to comply with university policy. An audit is an opportunity to receive an independent appraisal of the effectiveness and efficiency of your unit’s administrative activities.
Anyone within the university can request an audit. You may wish to coordinate the request with your vice president’s office or submit a request for an audit directly to the Office of Internal Auditing. All requests for internal audit services remain strictly confidential.
While our mission is principally accomplished through formal audits, there is no need for you to rely solely on an audit to utilize the resources of our office. We act as in-house consultants on many management issues, and will be happy to provide you with information and suggestions in specific areas.
What should I expect when an audit is scheduled for my unit?
Typically, a representative of the Office of Internal Auditing will contact you to schedule a meeting to discuss the scope of the review and the logistics of conducting the audit. At this initial meeting, you should take the opportunity to discuss any concerns or questions you may have about the audit, and to determine how you can facilitate the review process. A typical audit has several stages, including preliminary research, data collection and analysis, review, preparation and distribution of the report, and follow-up.
Due to the nature of some audit work, we may not be able to provide you with any advance notice on some projects.
We will not make financial or operating decisions for you or direct your personnel to change work methods or take corrective action on our audit suggestions. The adoption of our recommendations is encouraged, but acceptance and implementation of internal audit suggestions is the responsibility of operating management.
How long will the audit take?
Audits can last from several days to several months and will vary depending on the unit’s size, complexity, and the specific audit objectives. Not all of the time devoted to an audit will be evident to you because a certain amount of preparation, analysis, and work required to document the audit process is conducted in our office. The auditor assigned to your unit will give you a reasonable estimate of the time needed to complete the audit.
It is often necessary for the auditors to be in your area to review records and conduct interviews of departmental personnel. These interviews are necessary for us to understand your operations and procedures. We realize that each person’s time is valuable, so we attempt to arrange meetings in advance and to work around scheduling conflicts.
How will the audit findings be reported?
You and your staff will be kept apprised of the auditor’s findings throughout the course of the audit. At the conclusion of the audit, you will be able to review a draft of the report before the final version is issued.
All audit information is treated as confidential and reported only to those within the university who need to know. So, our final audit reports will only be distributed to you and other appropriate management personnel. In addition, during the university’s annual external audit, the Office of the Illinois Auditor General typically requests and receives copies of our reports.
Who audits the auditors?
The Office of Internal Auditing is not immune to being audited. The Office of the Illinois Auditor General annually reviews our activities and operations. In addition, state law requires that every five years a team of internal auditors from outside the university perform a quality assurance review of our office.
We also ask you, the auditee, to comment on our performance during a project. We use this feedback to monitor our performance and improve our operations.
Who should I contact if I have any additional questions?
Please direct any questions you may have to the Office of Internal Auditing in Rooms 1143 to 1149 of Old Main or by telephone at 217-581-5018. Our professional staff is available to answer your questions about our operations or internal auditing at Eastern.