What to Expect From the California State Auditor

The California State Auditor's Office conducts its work adhering to strict industry standards. All audits are conducted independently and free of conflict of interest or impairment. Internal quality controls ensure that fieldwork and reporting standards are followed and all staff are professionally trained and required to meet continuing education requirements.

When an audit is either mandated, approved by the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, or initiated because an issue or department program is designated as high risk, the California State Auditor has established certain protocols it follows when conducting audits.

  • Notify the auditee of the ensuing audit and provide names of contacts.
  • Hold an entrance conference to discuss scope of the audit, authority to access records, and anticipated time frames.
  • Gather information and documents and commence fieldwork—in most cases, the audit team will be onsite for several months.
  • Brief auditee as issues are noted and developed to ensure understandings and provide the auditee an opportunity to respond.
  • Hold an exit conference with auditee's management to discuss issues, recommendations, and draft report.
  • Provide a confidential draft copy of the report to the auditee. The auditee has five days to provide a written response to the findings and recommendations as stipulated in the California State Auditor's draft report. This response is included, as provided by the auditee, in the final audit report when issued to the public.

When the audit is completed and a report is issued, the auditee must respond to findings and recommendations from our reports at three intervals from the release of the report: 60 days, six months, and one year. Senate Bill 1452 (Chapter 452, Statutes of 2006), requires auditees who have not implemented recommendations, to report to the Legislature why they have not implemented them or to state when they intend to implement them.

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