AUDIT SURVIVAL GUIDE (Revised February 2007)
Webster's Dictionary defines the noun "audit" as "a methodical examination and review." As a verb, it means "to examine with intent to verify." The fact is - audits of one type or another are a regular part of the administrative process. No matter where you work at Stanford, you can expect to encounter audits. The ability of faculty and department staff to contribute efficiently and effectively will play a big role in the outcomes. This Guide has been prepared to help staff in academic departments understand what an audit requires and how to provide the necessary support with the least intrusion into ongoing work.
The best way to assure that audits go smoothly is to create and maintain good records. Stanford relies on central databases and records whenever possible. However, often the information needed, e.g., the back-up documentation for an expense transfer or the certification of a Monthly Expenditure Statement, resides in a department, and complete, orderly departmental records can prove the truth of the old saying "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."
This Stanford Guide includes discussion of:
Terms and concepts, including definitions of allowability, allocability, and reasonableness
General information about the way audits are conducted at Stanford
Descriptions of different groups of auditors working on campus, e.g., federal auditors, independent public accountants, and Stanford internal auditors
Descriptions of different kinds of audits, e.g., claimed cost audits, indirect cost audits, preaward audits, compliance/general controls audits, financial statement audits
Procedures for working with auditors at Stanford, including questions to ask, audit contacts, groundrules.
Questions and answers about audits
Questions which an auditor may ask you during an audit, organized by major types of audits
Links to selected Stanford policies and other documents
Other Web Sites
In addition to the links to Stanford policies found in Section 8, look for related information at the following sites:
Office of Management and Budget Circular A-21, Cost Principles for Educational Institutions
Office of Management and Budget Circular A-110, Grants and Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and Other Non-Profit Organizations
CASB Standards, Cost Accounting Standards for Educational Institutions, described in OMB Circular A-21, referenced above
Internal Audit Department, which includes:
Forms Related to Research (Stanford forms)