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Sponsored Research Compliance: Best Practices for Working with Auditors. Introductions. Raina Rose Tagle Partner and National Practice Leader, Baker Tilly Higher Education. Adrienne Larmett Senior Consultant, Baker Tilly Higher Education. Presentation Overview. Session Objectives
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Best Practices for Working with Auditors
Receiving research funding (both public and private) adds an increased level of scrutiny to organizations and individuals. The receipt of a research award brings new challenges in terms of compliance and reporting, along with the standard financial and administrative processes involved in the organization’s standard operations. As such, research may be audited by many groups, including:
In addition to handling external audits, institutions should work with their internal auditors to review processes and procedures and evaluate compliance. Internal audit works on behalf of an institution, helping to evaluate and review systems, processes, and procedures to help achieve desired goals and objectives. Internal auditors can help an institution to assess the design of policies and controls, compliance with federal regulations, and risks existing within current operations.
Reviews may be focused on an organizational level (processes) or on specific departments or awards (administration).
While A-133, sponsor, and OIG auditors are working to provide assurance to external sources, internal audit is helping to promote compliance and efficiency within an institution. Typical internal audit activities include:
Internal audit may also work in conjunction with the A-133 audit team or help the institution to coordinate other external reviews.
At the Institution Level
At the Department Level
Internal Audit Relationship
Audits don’t have to be an unwanted experience. Internal audit can also perform audits/reviews at the request of a department and even provide “consulting” services.
During the first phase of an audit, the auditors are working to identify the most beneficial objectives and what related processes or controls to review. To determine this, auditors assess several factors, including:
Before controls can be tested, auditors first need to understand how various processes work and what controls are involved. This phase will include:
Once auditors have a grasp on how processes and controls should be functioning within an area, steps are taken to “test” if controls are actually working as intended. Fieldwork steps may include:
Most audits conclude with a written report of audit results, which detail any strengths, concerns (or “findings”), and recommendations resulting from the work performed. An audit finding should detail the:
Adrienne Larmett, MBA
Raina Rose Tagle, CPA, CIA, CISA