What are the State Auditor's responsibilities?
The state Constitution provides authority for the State Auditor & Inspector, who is elected by the people. (Article VI, § 19)
The Constitution also provides that the State Auditor serves on the State Board of Equalization (Article X, Section 21) and as a Commissioner of the Land Office (Article VI, Section 32).
The State Auditor has access to all records in any audited department, institution, or agency of government. Any officer or employee who fails or refuses to permit such access or examination, or interferes in any way, is guilty of a crime.
Also pursuant to various statutes, the State Auditor audits numerous government entities and establishes accounting procedures for local governments.
Can audits be requested?
Alleged fraud or abuse in goverment may be reported to the State Auditor, but the State Auditor cannot initiate or begin an audit without the official request of a specified government entity/officer or the approval of an official petition.
Any state agency, board, commission, city or town, common school, vocational-technical school, county, institution of higher education, public trust, or political subdivision may request an audit, investigation, or consulting services. (74 O.S. § 227.8)
The Attorney General may request an audit in any matter that the Attorney General is investigating. (74 O.S. § 18f)
A District Attorney may request an audit of any officer of any public entity within the District Attorney’s jurisdiction. (74 O.S. § 212(H))
A County Commission or the Governor may request an audit of the books and accounts of any officer or custodian of county funds. (74 O.S. § 212(I))
A County Commission, upon request by at least 5% of county voters, or the Governor may request an audit of a county-owned hospital under 19 O.S. §§ 781, et seq. (19 O.S. § 794)
The Governor, the Attorney General, the Senate President Pro Tempore, the House Speaker, or the State Board of Education may request an audit of an independent school district, an elementary school district, or a technology-center school district. (74 O.S. § 213(C)(1)
The Governor, the Attorney General, the Senate President Pro Tempore, the House Speaker, the State Regents for Higher Education, or the President of an institution of higher education may request an audit of such institution. (70 O.S. § 3909(C))
The Governor, the Attorney General, or the Senate President Pro Tempore and the House speaker jointly may request an audit of any district attorney. (74 O.S. § 213(E))
The Governor may request an audit of any current or former state officer. (74 O.S. § 212(C))
The Chief Executive Officer of a government entity in 74 O.S. §§ 212 - 227.9, the Governor, or the Legislature may request a performance audit of such government entity. (74 O.S. § 213.2(B))
The Governor, the Attorney General, or the Senate President Pro Tempore and the House speaker jointly may request an audit of any division of the Department of Corrections or of any penal institution, corrections program, or contract for service or prison bed space provided to the Department. (74 O.S. § 213(E))
The Oklahoma State University Medical Authority, the Governor, the Attorney General, the Senate President Pro Tempore, or the House Speaker may request an audit of the Authority. (63 O.S. § 3276(A)(12))
The state University Hospitals Authority, the Governor, the Attorney General, the Senate President Pro Tempore, or the House Speaker may request an audit of the Authority or the University Hospital or the Oklahoma Children’s Hospital or any inpatient or outpatient hospital or clinical facilities or office or research buildings, facilities, or property owned by or under the management and control of the Authority or the University Hospitals Trust. (63 O.S. § 3208(A)(13))
The state Community Hospitals Authority, the Governor, the Attorney General, the Senate President Pro Tempore, or the House Speaker may request an audit of the Authority. (63 O.S. § 3240.6(A)(9))
County-municipal community-hospital trusts or the trusts’ beneficiaries, the Governor, the Attorney General, the Senate President Pro Tempore, or the House Speaker may request audits of the trusts. (63 O.S. § 3250.6(G)(2))
At least 10% of the registered voters of a political subdivision may request an audit of such subdivision by way of a petition. Such citizens must request a petition from the State Auditor and then gather signatures from such voters. More information is available here.
Audited government entities pay the costs of all audits. (74 O.S. § 212(L))
What is the audit process?
The State Auditor contacts the appropriate person within the entity to be audited to schedule an entrance conference and present the engagement letter. The objective and scope of the audit, the responsibilities of the auditors, the expected form and content of any reports to be issued, and other relevant items are discussed at the entrance conference. Depending on the type of audit performed, the operating practices, accounting processes, and financial records may be evaluated or tested for operating efficiency and effectiveness, internal accounting controls, compliance with generally accepted accounting principles, relevant state laws, and/or grant-management requirements. At the conclusion of fieldwork, the audit report is reviewed for technical accuracy and posted on the State Auditor’s website.
What takes place after an audit for corrections to be made at the audited entity?
After an audit has been released, the management of the audited entity may respond to any recommendation in the report and hopefully will take corrective action to address the issues raised in the audit report. The State Auditor has no authority to enforce any of the recommendations made in the audit. Serious audit findings involving illegal activity such as fraud and embezzlement are forwarded to the appropriate authorities for review and any action deemed necessary.
How is confidential information safeguarded?
Most audits concern public entities, and their information is not confidential. However, the State Auditor sometimes receives confidential information and typically can keep it confidential, as in the case of citizens exercising their constitutional rights to provide information, or otherwise simply reviews the information without taking possession of it.
How can an audit report be obtained?
Reports of completed audits are public record and available to anyone interested. Most are published on the State Auditor’s website. If one cannot be found, anyone may contact the State Auditor. In some instances, audits concerning possible illegal activity that are part of a criminal investigation may not be made public immediately.
May the audited entity share the draft of the audit report?
An audited entity should not share a draft report because draft reports are subject to change. The final report is the only official report and may be different from a draft.
Who audits the State Auditor?
The State Auditor receives a complete financial-related audit annually by an independent accounting firm. Every three years, the National State Auditors Association conducts a comprehensive peer review, which is an inspection of audit work papers to determine whether the State Auditor’s system of quality control is suitably designed and in compliance to provide reasonable assurance of conformity with applicable professional standards. Additionally, the Inspector General for Health & Human Services conducts a review of the audits conducted on federally funded programs in state government.
How much is the filing fee to accompany outside audits filed with the State Auditor?
Any public accountant filing an audit report, agreed-upon-procedures report, or other attestation-engagement report with the State Auditor must pay a filing fee of $100 for the purpose of processing such report.
How much is the filing fee to accompany outside audits filed with the Auditor's Office?
Per House Bill 2395, any public accountant or certified public accountant filing an audit, performance audit, agreed-upon-procedures report or other attestation engagement report with the State Auditor & Inspector pursuant to this section shall be required to pay a filing fee of One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) for the purpose of processing such reports and ensuring compliance with the provisions of this section.