The Internal Auditing and Management Consulting (IAMC) Department at the University of West Florida (UWF) is a resource to help assure management that their accounting and information systems are functioning properly and efficiently. In order to respond to the complexities associated with higher education, the IAMC staff are proficient in the management of risk and cost effectiveness associated with higher education. As such, our department can offer suggestions to improve these systems to help UWF be the best it can be.
The UWF IAMC is established within the Florida Board of Education, Division of Colleges and Universities and pursuant to the provisions of Florida Statute 20.055. The UWF Associate Vice President (AVP) for IAMC reports directly to the University President. This structure maintains the department's independence, promotes a broad audit coverage, provides a balance for audit, investigative, and accountability functions, and enhances operation of and effective action on the IAMC Department's recommendations.
The IAMC Department schedules audits in several ways. Most audits are chosen based on an annual Risk Analysis which uses such factors as audit risk, executive management interest, public disclosure implications, etc. Specific audits may also be requested by the Board of Trustees (BOT) or University Management.
Because the University is subject to more and more regulations in every facet of our work, the scope of the internal audit function has expanded to cover not only the financial aspects but all areas of University operations. Accordingly, the scopes of our audits may include one or more of the following:
The IAMC department also performs Management Advisory Services (MAS). These services are usually requested by the department and are intended to assist management in solving specific problems, designing control systems, or in implementing prior audit recommendations.
The audit process is a professionally conducted activity that relies on open communication between University departments and the auditor for its success. The purpose or intent of an audit is not to produce surprises or to unload "bombshells." The auditor and the audited department are not adversaries; they are mutually concerned entities working toward efficient and effective campus operations.
At the start of the audit, an Engagement Letter is sent to the department involved. This memo advises Management of the scope of the audit and the expected amount of time that auditor will spend in the department. Next, a preliminary interview is held with the supervisor of the department to acquaint the auditor with operations. Finally, the auditor begins the test work necessary to complete the audit.
The audit will take from two to four months, depending on the size of the operation and the scope of the audit. Your day-to-day activities should incur only minimal interruption during this time. Much of the test work is done in the auditor's office; therefore, direct contact with employees is not necessary throughout the entire course of the audit. For an audit to be effective, communication between the auditor and department personnel is crucial.
A Field Exit conference is held with the department head or director at the conclusion of the test work to ensure that audit recommendations are factual and understood.
A Draft Audit Report is prepared and transmitted to the department director and/or supervisor for review and comments. Also included with the draft report are response forms which we request management to complete prior to the Exit Conference. The Exit Conference is scheduled approximately one week after the draft audit report is published, to provide management an opportunity to read the audit report and complete their responses, including an implementation date for corrective action. The Exit Conference provides management an opportunity to discuss their comments and/or concerns relative to the findings in the audit report, and to present their responses.
Copies of the Final Audit Report are transmitted to the University President, the BOT and Auditor General. UWF Management generally has six months to implement audit recommendations. Biannually the BOT request the University's IAMC Department to follow-up and report to the BOT whether or not effective corrective action has been taken.
Change has been, and continues to be, a challenge at UWF. As with other departments on campus, the IAMC Department continuously reviews and assesses its programs and objectives to help the University meet its goals. Suggestions on how to improve the internal audit process are always welcomed.