The main objective of any internal audit is to gain an understanding of a system or process, identify areas of risk and test the operational effectiveness of a process in order to provide objective recommendations that will result in the maximum and most efficient use of resources.
Often times, audits are misconstrued as being punitive in nature rather than constructive efforts that seek to identify areas for improvement. Within student organization funding, audits will be utilized to identify areas of enhanced controls and improved efficiencies in the use of Student Activity Fee monies.
Who will be conducting the audits?
The Special Committee for Audit and Review is tasked with managing compliance and internal audit functions for all Student Activity Fee funded organizations. As a division of the Joint Committee on Financial Affairs, it is given the authority to audit student organizations in the University's Policy on the Disbursement of the Student Activity Fee and the Student Government Association By-laws. Consequently, student organizations receiving funds from the Student Government Association agree to its spending practices and are therefore subject to an audit.
As students are the ones who allocate and spend funds, it is appropriate that students are the ones to conduct internal audits. Organizations can be assured that only individuals who have been specially trained to conduct audits in compliance with Generally Accepted Auditing Standards (GAAS) and that have no conflicts of interests that would impair their independence will be involved in auditing organizations. Should organizations have any concerns about specific individuals involved in auditing their organization, they should contact Katherine Sudbrook, the Assistant Vice President of Audit.
What can organizations expect?
In order to provide for a process that is amicable between all parties, organizations will be notified in writing if they have been randomly selected for an audit. This notification will include what the review will determine, what the specific activities will include and an overview of the timeframe that the audit is to be conducted in. Furthermore, organizations will have an opportunity prior to the beginning of the audit to meet with the auditors to discuss the objectives of the audit and the process itself.
After the process has begun and fieldwork has commenced, the auditors will examine the information collected. In the spirit of cooperation, auditors will require assistance directly from the organizations during the course of their work. This includes providing the necessary information to complete procedures as well as answering relevant questions or providing explanations to issues encountered during the fieldwork.
Once fieldwork has ended the auditors will prepare a detailed report that includes an overview of the process conducted, the findings of the fieldwork, and any recommendations the auditors may have. Once this report has been published to the Student Government Association Legislature, the audit process will conclude and organizations are expected to implement any recommendations that were made.
In the case that a recommendation for disciplinary action is necessary, the organization will have the opportunity to appeal to both the Joint Committee on Financial Affairs and the Student Government Association Legislature.