A typical audit or review conducted by the Office of the City Auditor includes the following activities:
Developing an annual work plan
The Office of the City Auditor selects audits that are most likely to improve services, enhance innovation, increase revenues, or reduce costs. In the selection process, a department's aims, programs, funding and basic needs are considered, along with other influential factors.
Planning an audit
Prior to commencing a review, the Office of the City Auditor notifies relevant parties and describes the general scope of the audit. Audit staff meet with clients to discuss the audit's objectives, and any concerns or suggestions the client may have for expanding or adjusting the audit's focus. Through interaction with the client, the Office of the City Auditor:
- gains an understanding of the program
- explores areas that appear to offer significant potential for impact
- defines audit objectives and determines how best to achieve them
Once this is accomplished, the audit objectives and its terms of reference are communicated to the client.
Gathering and Analyzing Data
During this phase, audit staff review and evaluate processes in greater depth, recording all observations. Various methodologies are used, including interviewing key staff, testing system controls, analyzing data and facilitating control self-assessment workshops.
Once all relevant data is collected and analyzed, the Office of the City Auditor prepares a draft report containing its observations, conclusions, and any recommendations for improvement. The client then reviews this draft for accuracy and completeness, and may offer corrections on the facts and terminology in the document, including mention of any steps undertaken since completion of the prior audit phase.
After incorporating applicable changes, the Office of the City Auditor sends a formal draft report to the relevant department(s) for a formal response to be included in the final report.
Final reports are then circulated to the relevant department(s), the City Manager and Members of City Council. A summary of the report is included in the quarterly report, which is submitted to the Executive Committee and placed on the website.
About a year to eighteen months after issuing an audit report, the Office of the City Auditor may revisit the project to determine whether management has successfully implemented actions included in their original responses.
Note: The Office of the City Auditor recognizes the importance of effective communication throughout all phases of an audit.