What is an Audit?
Audits generally begin with an entrance conference between the lead auditor, the audit manager, and all participants. The objectives, scope, department records to be examined, and an estimate of the time required to complete the audit will be reviewed in the entrance conference.
During audit field work, regular communications occur between the lead auditor and the appropriate participants to keep everyone fully informed of issues and audit progress.
Audit fieldwork ends with an exit conference between the lead auditor, the audit manager, and all participants. The exit conference is held to review audit findings and recommendations; to allow participants an opportunity to rebut any findings that remain unresolved; and to discuss with management the corrective action plan(s) which will address the audit findings.
An audit report containing the audit findings, recommendations and management’s responses is developed using all of the information gathered during the audit fieldwork, and is presented to the persons attending the exit conference with the purpose of finalizing the report.
The final report is delivered to the Audit and Accountability Committee of the Board of Education. The Audit and Accountability Committee reviews the report and authorizes the release of the report according to the appropriate distribution. Typical report distribution routing includes the Board of Education, Superintendent, Treasurer, and appropriate District managers.
The Internal Auditor will return to the field location to perform a follow-up review on the implementation status of corrective action plans, approximately 90 days following the release and distribution of the report.
What is internal control and who is responsible for internal controls?
Internal controls collectively are the operational procedures and financial accounting controls that safeguard the District’s assets and provide for the accuracy of financial reporting. Financial reports include but are not limited to management reports and the financial statements.
District’s management is responsible for developing, adapting and maintaining effective internal controls.
The Internal Auditor is responsible for evaluating the internal controls, making recommendations to improve the effectiveness of internal controls and regularly reporting to the Board of Education on the status of the control environment.
What types of audits are performed?
The Office of Internal Audit services are categorized as financial and operational audits, special reviews and consulting engagements.
Financial and operation audits can be performed all over the District and will address a wide variety of issues including testing for compliance with District policies and applicable law; examining the effectiveness and existence of internal control procedures, or assisting with the required annual financial audit performed by independent certified public accountants.
Special reviews are limited reviews targeted to an agreed upon set of procedures, policies or events, and include investigations of reported fraud, waste and abuse.
Consulting engagements are not classified as an audit. They are performed as a service to our District customers in response to requests for assistance in evaluating the effectiveness or efficiency of an operational activity or the structure of an internal control.
What is the definition of Internal Auditing?
The “International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing”, the Redbook, define internal audit as “an independent, objective assurance and consulting activity designed to add value and improve the organization’s operations. It helps an organization accomplish it’s objectives by bringing a systematic, disciplined approach to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of risk management, control, and governance processes.”
Internal auditors follow a professional Code of Ethical Conduct established to reinforce the trust placed in the internal audit function as an independent source of objective assurance regarding matters of risk management, control, and governance. Internal auditors are expected to apply and uphold the principles of integrity, objectivity, confidentiality and, competency.
What should I do if I suspect or detect fraud, waste, or abuse in the District?
Any employee suspecting, or having knowledge of, fraud, waste, or abuse or any unethical behavior in the District, should notify their immediate superior of their concerns and contact the Internal Auditor.
Employees may report suspected fraud and ethics violations by calling a toll free Hotline by dialing: (855) 678-6764, where a trained, independent professional answers calls 24 hours, seven days a week. Callers are guaranteed confidentiality and can choose to remain anonymous.
From any computer that can access the Internet, employees can log on to www.columbus.ethicspoint.com and follow the “To Make a Report” directions, and can choose to remain anonymous. Once completed, the employee will be assigned a unique code called a “report key” and provided a password to follow-up on the status of his/her report after 5-6 business days for feedback or questions.
Employees may also contact the Ohio Auditor of State’s Fraud Reporting line, at 1-866-FRAUD OH (1-866-372-8364); or by mail, at Ohio Auditor of State, Special Investigations Unit, 88 East Broad Street, P.O. Box 1140, Columbus, OH 43215.
Office of Internal Audit
Columbus Public Schools
737 E. Hudson Ave.
Columbus, Ohio 43211