Auditor General - Audit Process

Learn about how OAG selects and performs audits.

Each year the annual Risk Assessment and Audit Plan are presented to, and approved by the School Board. Audits are selected in those areas of greatest risk and opportunity for improvement. Audit topics are chosen based on potential for control enhancements, cost savings, and service improvements. In addition, audit areas are selected based on School Board and management requests.

Audits are performed in phases, beginning with research to obtain an understanding of the areas to be audited, testing of controls, issuing a report, and following up on the implementation of management's actions. Lines of communication are open to all parties involved throughout the audit process.

1. Risk Assessment

Annually, OAG conducts an independent risk assessment to evaluate the financial, operational and reputational risks faced by FCPS.  To identify and prioritize FCPS audit projects, and allocate audit resources efficiently and effectively.  OAG uses a risk assessment model.  The model compares various risk factors such as expenditures, estimated revenues, number of staff members, audit requests, and the date and results of the last audit.

The School Board, Audit Committee members, FCPS Leadership Team, and other FCPS employees weigh in on potential audit areas.

OAG develops its annual audit plan based upon the risk assessment results.

2. Planning

Planning is the phase where the auditor obtains a comprehensive understanding of the audit topic to finalize the scope and objectives. We review written procedures, memoranda, organization charts, regulations, and budgets. We interview program staff and collect, summarize, and evaluate information that will be used to identify potential audit issues and develop an audit program. A thorough planning is essential to a successful audit.

3. Execution (Fieldwork)

Execution involves testing and evaluating key controls of the functions being audited. Auditors use a variety of review techniques including observing, interviewing, sampling, analyzing, and verifying to determine whether controls are adequate and whether operations are conducted in an efficient and effective manner. Sufficient evidence will be developed to support audit findings and recommendations for improvement.

4. Reporting

Reporting begins with a written draft report. This draft report is discussed with departmental management at an exit conference to review the observations. Departmental management provides feedback and comments on the draft. Meanwhile, we verify that each statement of fact in the report is supported in the audit working papers. These processes help ensure that the report is balanced and accurate. The final audit report summarizes key issues, findings, recommendations, and includes management's response. Audit reports are issued to the School Board Audit Committee, the appropriate leadership team member, and departmental management. The reports are public documents and are available in BoardDocs.

5. Follow-Up

Follow-Up is a periodic review in which the progress and implementation status of agreed upon actions are assessed and validated. Upon completion of the review, we issue a memo to the School Board Audit Committee and all recipients of the original report indicating the status of the recommended actions.