Q: Is the County Auditor an Elected Official?
Q: What is auditing?
A: According to AICPA, "Auditing is a disciplined, systematic process of objectively attaining and evaluating evidence regarding assertions about economic action and events to ascertain the degree of correspondence between those assertions and establishing criteria and communicating the results to interested users."
Q: What is accountability?
A: According to GASB Concepts Statement No. 1, "Accountability is the cornerstone of all financial reporting in government, and the term accountability is used throughout this Statement. The dictionary defines accountable as "being obliged to explain one‘s actions, to justify what one does." Accountability requires governments to answer to the citizenry—to justify the raising of public resources and the purposes for which they are used. Governmental accountability is based on the belief that the citizenry has a "right to know," a right to receive openly declared facts that may lead to public debate by the citizens and their elected representatives. Financial reporting plays a major role in fulfilling government‘s duty to be publicly accountable in a democratic society."
Q: What is Audit Evidence?
A: According to AICPA, "Audit evidence is all the information used by the auditor in arriving at the conclusions on which the audit opinion is based and includes the information contained in the accounting records underlying the financial statements and other information."
Q: Can the County Auditor opine on the fair statement of the financial statements or in other words, audit their own work?
A: No. The County Auditor is an internal auditor who is independently elected. As such, the County Auditor cannot opine on the fair statement of the financial statements. However, the County Auditor does provide recommendations for improvement so that the organization can achieve its objectives in operations, compliance, and reporting. Moreover, counties are required to receive an annual audit by an independent accountant or accountants licensed to practice public accounting in Illinois. The term "auditor" as it relates to the annual audit (i.e. the professional opinion on the fair statement of the financial statements), does not apply to the County Auditor.
Q: What is Fraud?
A: Fraud is any crime for gain that uses deception as its principal modus operandi. There are four legal elements that must be present: (1) a material false statement, (2) knowledge that the statement was false when it was uttered, (3) reliance on the false statement by the victim, (4) damages as a result.
Q: Who are Internal Auditors?
A: As defined by the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA), "internal auditors are 'business generalists' who specialize in efficiency and effectiveness for the good of the organization. Their roles include monitoring, assessing, and analyzing organizational risk and controls; and reviewing and confirming information and compliance with policies, procedures, and laws. Working in partnership with management, internal auditors provide the board, the audit committee, and management assurance that risks are held at bay and that the organization's governance is strong and effective. And, when there is room for improvement anywhere within the organization, internal auditors make recommendations for enhancing processes, policies, and procedures.”
Q: What is the difference between an Internal Auditor and an External Auditor?
A: External auditors are independent public accounting firms that the County hires. Independent public accounting firms review the County’s annual financial statements to ensure the information presented accurately portrays the County’s financial condition. The external audit agenda is set by the audit firm based on the assessment of the risks of the accounts being materially misstated. The taxpayers, County Board, and bond rating agencies rely on the external independent auditor’s opinion of the County’s financial statements. The internal audit function resides within the County (i.e. they are County employees). It is designed to look at the key risks facing the County and how it is managing those risks effectively. It usually results in recommendations for improvement across departments.