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Why We Audit

How and Why We Audit

Performance Audits review the efficiency and effectiveness of agencies' work, as well as the overall use of Salt Lake County tax dollars. Financial Audits take a close look at an agency's records and processes to identify errors in reporting and payments and other risks to the county and its reputation. Contract Compliance Audits determine whether a third-party vendor - and/or a county agency - is following the terms of a contract. Information Technology Audits review the controls and operation of the county's network, software applications, and cybersecurity processes to make sure they are operating correctly.

Periodically, the Office of the County Auditor conducts audits of the financial statements of a county agency or program. Financial audits determine whether: 1. The financial statements of an entity present fairly the financial position, results of operations and cash flows of the entity; and 2. The entity has complied with laws and regulations for those transactions and events that may have material effect on the entity's financial statements. Performance audits are intended to assess the quality of performance by County agencies in carrying out their assigned responsibilities. The scope of the audit may include the entire agency or some portion thereof, such as a specific program or function.

The County Auditor issues audit reports to answer the following questions:

  1. Are County programs being carried out in compliance with applicable laws, policies, and regulations?
  2. Do opportunities exist for departments to operate more efficiently and economically?
  3. Are funds being spent legally, and is accounting accurate?
  4. Are programs achieving desired results?
  5. Are there ways to improve the quality of service without increasing costs?
  6. Are there merging key issues which should be considered?


Peer Review: Why it Matters

Government Auditing Standards require that audit organizations have an external peer review of their auditing, attestation engagement and non-auditing practices every three years. A peer review provides reasonable assurance that the audit organization is complying with applicable professional auditing standards. It also determines whether the audit organization's internal quality control system is adequate and the audit organization is in compliance with its quality control policies and procedures.

A peer review is conducted in accordance with the standards and guidelines contained in the Peer Review Guide published by the Association of Local Government Auditors (A.L.G.A.) and reviewed and endorsed by the U.S. Government Accountability Office. The peer review process has three phases:

  1. Preparation
  2. Site visit
  3. Reporting

During the on-site visit, the peer review team reviews policies and procedures, audit and attestation reports and supporting working papers, continuing professional education records, and qualifications of audit staff. Government auditing Standards also require reviewers to interview professional staff to assess their understanding of, and compliance with, relevant internal quality control procedures.