Performing Educational audits helps you ensure that your district is in compliance with state and federal laws and regulations. However, these do take a lot of time and adds more strain on your staff.
The good news is that the more systems and processes that you have make it easier to prepare for your audits. This will make your audit more streamlined, thus allowing you and your staff to focus on recommendations instead of trying to gather all documentation at the last minute.
Why do schools get audited?
There are different reasons why an Education institution could be audited. This does not mean that anything is being done wrong. Most audits are done according to state or federal requirements.
Most audits are focused on how schools are allocating their funds due to fact that most of these schools are receiving federal funding. This allows the school to ensure that its funds and budgets are in compliance with state and federal requirements.
Schools could also perform an internal audit. This can be for a variety of reasons that could include that the district is ensuring their programs serve student's needs or assessing the impact of any new funding or services.
Different types of educational audits
Districts perform both internal and external audits that are designed to ensure that public funds are being used appropriately and that these meet the guidelines that are set on both the state and federal levels. Financial audits are not the only audits that schools perform. They can also undergo audits for curriculum, safety, and security.
Schools districts will also perform internal audits. These are usually smaller in size that addresses specific questions that are presented by the school board or board of directors. These audits can include looking at classrooms, individual departments or schools, and programs that are provided. This helps to analyze the budget of these areas. Along with analyzing the budget, this can provide the district with the needed information to decide how to best serve the students.
This provides schools and districts a way to provide checks and balances to their system. These audits help make sure that funds are being spent appropriately and identify areas that could use improvement. Performing these internal audits helps districts get ready for external audits.
One example of an audit that external organizations perform is the Annual Comprehensive Financial Report.
Tips to prepare for an audit
Always make sure that you perform audit preparation before you need it. Ideally, you want to have a system of workflows in place to prepare. If you do not, then use your upcoming audit to get these systems into place.
1. Review past recommendations
Assign people to go over and review previous recommendations that were made on audits. Identify what was working well, suggested improvements, and any additional comments. Check to see if any action was taken on the previous recommendations. If not, check to see why and what was done instead. This will help you explain the reasoning in the upcoming audit.
2. Know the purpose of the upcoming audit
Know if you are going through a financial or compliance audit so that you can prepare accordingly. Take time to find out the scope and timeline and what the auditor's responsibilities are. Do not be afraid to ask questions ahead of time. This will help you get the needed copies for the audit.
3. Make sure key people know the reasons for an upcoming audit
Audits add extra stress to everyone who is involved on top of their everyday duties. This makes it extremely important to go over the reason for the audit with everyone who will be involved. This will help normalize the process and help it be viewed as something that can contain useful feedback. The more people who understand the reason for the audit and the information that will be used, the less stressful the process will be.
4. Task one person to oversee the audit process
With all of the people who will have a role in getting ready for the audit, you should select one person to oversee the audit process once it starts. Ideally, you would want a person who has been around audits in the past, while also having knowledge of legal and financial matters that are involved. They will be in charge of all preparations and answer any questions that arise during this time.
5. Use an asset management system to organize all the data
If you have a system that will have all of your needed information in one area, will make your process smoother. This will help the auditor to easily and comfortably evaluate your information, making their job easier. This will also help if the auditor wants to look at your general information database, accounts payable, and vendor information. Asset tracking software will help you if you're undergoing an internal or external asset or budget review. This will show all your assets, how they are used, and how frequently they are used.
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