Understanding the Audit Process

The State Comptroller evaluates the operations of New York State and New York City agencies and of public authorities. The Division of State Government Accountability (SGA) performs audits to:

  • Protect taxpayers by improving management of government resources; and
  • Provide auditee officials with the information they need to effectively manage and improve operations.

In performing our audits, we are required by State Executive Law to adhere to the generally accepted government auditing standards (GAGAS) issued by the Comptroller General of the United States. Depending on the subject matter of the audit, we may also adhere to other auditing standards issued by various standard-setting bodies.

A flywheel that has a number assigned to each section going in a clockwise direction. The caption, The Audit Process, is in the center.

The Audit Process at a Glance

  1. Opening Conference: Audit team and auditee officials discuss the audit.
  2. Preliminary Audit Survey: Audit team gains an initial understanding of organizational and program information to help refine the audit objective(s).
  3. Fieldwork Phase: Audit team examines the organizational and program information in more detail and assesses its impact on the audit.
  4. Preliminary Audit Findings: Audit team and auditee discuss each audit segment’s findings and conclusions. Audit team follows up with a written summary of the discussion for the auditee. (Auditee has two weeks to respond to the preliminary findings.)
  5. Closing Conference: After taking into consideration the auditee’s response to the preliminary findings, the audit team meets with auditee officials to discuss the overall audit findings and recommendations, which are the basis for the draft audit report.
  6. Agency Response: Auditee responds to the draft report (within 30 days) with its official position or factual differences; this written response is appended to and issued with the final report.
  7. Agency Corrective Action: Within 180 days after the final report is issued, auditee reports to the State Comptroller the corrective actions taken to address audit recommendations.

Other Engagements

In addition to audits, we perform other engagements as part of our efforts to ensure taxpayer money is spent wisely and well. Those engagements follow a similar process, although they may not result in formal audit findings, conclusions, and recommendations or require corrective action by the auditee. Any differences from this process for engagements that are not audits will be clearly described and explained at the outset and throughout the entire process.

More details on the audit process and the State Comptroller's constitutional and statutory authority.

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