TYPICAL QUESTIONS ABOUT AUDITS
Go back to Section 5, Working With Auditors
- What questions are appropriate?
- Auditors are free to interview Stanford personnel and seek additional documentation in accordance with Stanford's protocol for providing information to auditors. IAD cannot prescreen all audit questions, nor does it wish to slant information provided to auditors. However, questions that go beyond the scope of an audit, e.g., that inquire into matters which appear unrelated to the auditor's purpose, or that appear inappropriate, should be questioned. You should feel free to request
immediate assistance from IAD if you are asked what you believe to be inappropriate audit questions. If you feel legal advice is necessary, or if the auditors indicate the possibility of criminal liability or fraud, you should also contact the Office of the General Counsel.
- What should I do if an auditor insists on my cooperation, and I do not believe the audit has been properly coordinated? Can I "just say no"?
- If an auditor makes a request to which, for any reason, you do not feel comfortable responding, you may tell the auditor that you will look into the request. Then contact your Stanford IAD audit liaison representative.
- Some auditors ask questions which indicate a basic lack of knowledge about Stanford policies, and this seems to be leading toward erroneous conclusions. How should I respond?
- You are expected to respond in a friendly and helpful way, but you are not expected to provide extensive remedial education. If you do not think that an auditor can proceed to do his or her job without an extensive orientation, contact the Stanford IAD and request assistance.
- How quickly should I respond to audit questions?
- Auditors should understand that responding to their questions is not the primary responsibility of most Stanford staff, and that any special efforts will take time. Technically, Stanford is only required to provide copies of existing documents to DCAA,
but to be cooperative and to assist in expediting the process, Stanford often prepares new documents and explanations for auditors. If auditors are working under time constraints, they will make those known when requesting information. Ideally, you and the auditor will agree on a reasonable time schedule. If such agreement cannot be reached, the Stanford IAD will assist.
- What if I get overlapping requests from different auditors?
- Different groups of auditors may be carrying out related audit procedures at the same time. Stanford IAD seeks to minimize overlapping audits by encouraging federal and independent auditors to rely upon each other's work and on the work of IAD. However, this is
not always possible, and you may occasionally receive requests that appear uncoordinated and overlapping. In such cases, Stanford IAD may be able to improve coordination among the involved auditors. When contacting IAD with a concern about overlapping requests, it is important to notify the audit liaison representative of the specific types of auditors and audit engagements which appear redundant (better yet, give IAD the names of the involved auditors and the specific questions that appear overlapping).
- I have received a request from my sponsor agency for Stanford's "A-133 report." What should I do with this request?
- Stanford IAD handles all requests for information about OMB Circular A-133 audits. Forward this request to Michelle Fortnam at IAD, and she will ensure a timely response.
Go ahead to Section 7, Questions You May Be Asked During An Audit
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