The decision to initiate an audit is determined by a combination of factors, including legislative requirements, the vulnerability of a program or agency to fraud, waste and abuse, and suggestions from residents and members of the D.C. Council. While each audit is unique, most audits follow three basic phases: Survey, fieldwork, and reporting.
The audit begins with an Audit Notification letter requesting an introductory meeting between agency management and the Auditor. At the introductory meeting, the auditors, who will be conducting the audit, are introduced and the purpose, process, and timeline of the audit are explained. The audit team also addresses any concerns agency management may have regarding the audit and arrangements are made for access to information systems and key personnel.
During the survey phase, auditors conduct a general review of the operations of the agency or program. The audit team reviews all available information, relevant statutes, regulations, and professional literature about the program. Also, interviews are conducted with agency staff so the audit team can gain an understanding of agency operations and results of the program.
At the end of the survey phase, the audit team develops questions to address during the field work phase.
During the fieldwork phase, auditors work to obtain an in-depth understanding of the issues and answer questions that were raised during the survey phase. During each phase of the audit, the audit team keeps the agency apprised of the status of the audit through meetings, informal discussions and briefings the audit team works with the agency to clearly understand the facts and circumstances surrounding each finding and to correct misunderstandings and inaccuracies. The audit team also advises the audited agency of critical issues that require immediate resolution. At the end of fieldwork, auditors meet with agency management to discuss findings.
The audit team prepares the draft audit report when field work is completed. The audit report communicates the audit findings and recommendations and is carefully prepared and information validated.
To ensure the draft report is clear and accurate, the audit team offers to schedule an exit conference. The draft report may be revised in response to agency feedback and comments. The agency's formal written response is included in the final report.
The final audit report is a public document. The goal of the final audit report is to provide recommendations to improve the operation and efficiency of District agencies and programs. The audit report is presented to the Council of the District of Columbia and posted on the D.C. Auditor’s website.
After an agency has had sufficient time to implement the audit recommendations, the Auditor follows up with the agency to review how the agency implemented the audit recommendations.