What to Expect during a Performance Audit
Have you been notified of a pending performance audit or other review from the Performance Audit Division? The following information should help you know what to expect. Additional information is available on our home
What Are Performance Audits?
Performance audits are evaluations of state programs, in which we attempt to answer these types of questions:
- Is this program accomplishing its goals and objectives? (Are there other ways to achieve this goal?) (Is this goal still relevant?) (How do other states achieve this goal or fulfill this need?)
- How well does the program do what it is intended to do? (How many are served?) (What does it cost per unit?) (How does Georgia compare to other states in this regard?)
- Is this program complying with all applicable laws and regulations? (Does the program meet all federal grant requirements?) (Is the program fulfilling any obligations mandated by state law?)
Special Examinations are similar in many respects, but are generally smaller in scope.
How were you selected for review?
Legislators, the Governor, and agency management request audit and examination topics. The State Auditor and Division staff may also recommend audit topics.
What You Should Expect from Us
By the end of our planning process, you will be aware of the audit’s scope, purpose, and approximate time frame. We will keep you aware of the audit’s progress and respond to any questions and concerns. We will discuss our findings with you before they are published in a report.
Thorough Audits with Accurate Results
Performance audits have a different scope and longer length than financial audits, and require greater agency assistance. They consist of 6 stages:
- Planning Process: We will conduct research to gain a thorough understanding of the program.
- Field Work: We will interview staff, observe operations, and collect/analyze data, all of which will be documented in work papers. The length of this stage varies from audit to audit and is impacted by such factors as staff and data availability.
- Report Writing: Based on our field work, we will draw conclusions about the agency/program. Per auditing standards, all information in our reports is supported by our work papers.
- Quality Control Review: Division staff who are not involved with a project ensure that the resulting report is accurate; is supported by sufficient, competent, and relevant evidence; and contains competent and relevant descriptive information, findings, and conclusions.
- Agency Comments: Per auditing standards, we allow you to comment on a report before its publication. We typically request that written comments be submitted within 2 weeks. Some comments may result in changes to the report; others may be included in the report.
- Report Publication: Printed copies of the final report will be provided to you and other interested parties, such as the General Assembly, the Governor’s Office, and the media. The report will also be available on our website. All work papers are confidential until this point, with the exclusion of confidential data, which is never made public.
Follow-Up Review of Corrective Actions
About 2 years after an audit is published, we will conduct a Follow-up Review to determine what changes you have made as a result of the audit. Follow-up reviews also result in published reports and generally follow the same processes as the initial audit.
What We Expect from You
Because agency employees are the primary source of information during an audit, your cooperation is critical to its success. To ensure that an accurate audit is released in a timely manner, we expect that you will inform your staff about the audit and set the tone for staff to:
- Attend and participate in requested meetings and conferences. Full and complete disclosure of information speeds the audit process and helps us produce an accurate and useful report.
- Provide on-site workspace for our staff.
- Comply with information requests in a timely manner.
- Provide comments on the report by the established deadline; if not met, we may be forced to publish the report without your comments and note the lack of response.
- Submit evidence supporting any factual errors cited in your comments to comply with our report documentation requirements.
- Protect the confidentiality of information included in report drafts, as they are not yet final or open to the public.
Our Statutory Authority and Responsibilities
Georgia law (O.C.G.A. 50-6-7, 50-6-29)
· Authorizes us to access all information needed for an audit (e.g., testimony, files, records), including confidential information.
· Permits us to retain copies of data to document findings during/after audits.
· Requires us to protect all confidential information by maintaining at least the standard of care used by the agency. The information is maintained separately and is kept as long as audit standards require.
Federal law authorizes us to access confidential federal information, including but not limited to:
· Health information covered by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (45 CFR 164.512 (d)(1))
· Federal tax information in state tax files(26 USC 6103 (d)(2))