Frequently Asked Questions
What is the State Auditor's Office responsible for?
Constitutional Authority and Other Duties
Constitutional Provisions The Constitution of the State of Oklahoma provides under Article VI, Section 19 for a State Auditor and Inspector. The State Auditor and Inspector is elected by the people at the same time as the Governor. The Auditor and Inspector must meet the same qualifications required of all state officials and have at least three years experience as an expert accountant.
Article VI, Section 19 of the Constitution provides that the Auditor and Inspector shall “examine the state and all county treasurers’ books, accounts and cash on hand or in bank at least twice each year” and “prescribe a uniform system of bookkeeping for the use of all treasurers.”
The Auditor and Inspector serves on the State Board of Equalization (Article X, Section 21) and as a Commissioner of the Land Office (Article VI, Section 32).
Article X, Section 9C( i) provides that the Auditor and Inspector shall audit the Emergency Medical Service Districts.
The Auditor and Inspector is to provide checks and balances within the Executive Department (Article V, Section 60, see Taylor vs. Cockrell, 27 Oklahoma 630, 112, page 1000 ). General Language of Duties
The State Auditor and Inspector has access to all books, accounts, reports, vouchers and other records of information in any department, institution or agency. Any officer or employee who fails or refuses to permit access or examination, or interferes in any way, is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction may be fined and imprisoned.
Pursuant to various statutes the State Auditor and Inspector establishes accounting procedures, and forms, and provides assistance to counties and other forms of local government.
The State Auditor and Inspector also performs special investigative audits upon request by certain state officials and upon petition by citizens.
Who Requests an Audit?
Request for audit service or an investigation of alleged fraud or abuse should be reported to the State Auditor and Inspector. A legislator, state agency personnel, or a citizen may make such requests. The State Auditor and Inspector will review the request and may discuss the matter with the party supplying the information and with the governmental entity involved. The State Auditor and Inspector may also discuss the matter with other government offices within the state such as the Attorney General, District Attorney or the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. The State Auditor and Inspector shall make the final determination whether to proceed with an audit or investigation. By statute, the Governor or Attorney General may request an audit of any department, institution, or agency of state government. The District Attorney may request an audit of any public entity within the District Attorney’s jurisdiction. (74 O.S., §212.H.)
The Governor or the County Commissioners of any county may request an audit of the various funds of the county. (74 O.S., §212.C. and H.)
The Governor, Attorney General, President Pro Tempore of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives, State Board of Education or the vocational-technical district board may request an audit of a school district or area vocational district.
The Governor, Attorney General, President Pro Tempore of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and governing board of any institution of higher education or president of an institution of higher education may request an audit.
The Governor, Attorney General, President Pro Tempore of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives, the governing board of an institution of higher education, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education or the President of an institution of higher education may request a special audit or a quality control review of the internal audit function. (74 O.S. §213)
What actions are taken during (and after) the audit process? The audit begins with staff from the Auditor's office contacting the appropriate person within the entity to be audited to schedule an entrance conference and present the engagement letter. Discussion of the scope of the audit occurs at this time along with any other necessary information. During the audit, the books and financial records are examined for compliance with the state laws, internal accounting controls and governmental auditing standards. Depending on the findings, at the conclusion of the fieldwork the audit report is reviewed for technical accuracy and then, after being signed by the State Auditor, is made a public record.
What takes place after an audit to make corrections? 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 issue raised in the audit report . The Office of 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 they deem necessary.
How is confidential information safeguarded? Most of our audits concern public entities and their information is not confidential. However, on an occasion we do require otherwise confidential information. Frequently we will simply review the information and never take possession of it. On other occasions we obtain confidential information in the course of an investigative audit. These are audits performed with a law enforcement agency and as such any confidential information we obtain is protected under the law enforcement agency’s authority.
May the auditee share the draft of an audit report? An auditee should not share a draft report because draft reports are obviously subject to change. The final report signed by the State Auditor and Inspector is the only official report and may be significantly different from a draft.
Audits concerning possible illegal activity that are a part of a criminal investigation may not be made public until the investigation is complete.
What do you do if you suspect fraud or embezzlement of funds? Fraud is a broad legal concept and auditors do not make legal determinations of whether fraud has occurred. If you suspect possible illegal activity, you should contact the appropriate law enforcement authorities. Oklahoma law specifies how the State Auditor becomes involved with school districts, municipalities and other entities of government. You can go to our fraud investigation page for more information on the State Auditor's office and fraud.
How many audits are done annually? In 2003, the State Auditor's Office released 471 audits; in 2004 the office released 291 audits, 2005 the office released 401, and for the fiscal years of 2006 and 2007 respectively the office released 314 and 467 audits.
Who audits the Auditor? The State Auditor and Inspector's office receives a complete financial related audit annually by an independent accounting firm. Every three years, the National State Auditor's Association conducts a comprehensive peer review which is an inspection of audit work papers to determine if governmental standards are being followed. Additionally, the Inspector General for the agency of the State Auditor 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 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 and 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.