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Ask the Auditor

Produced by: Internal Audit (617) 552-8689

How did we get selected?

There are several ways a department could be chosen for an audit. Internal Audit uses a risk-based approach in the determination of which departments to audit during a given fiscal year. Factors are assigned a value, added together, and then compared to other areas of the University. These scores are ranked for an overall risk value and the audits are scheduled accordingly. Some of the factors that are used in the evaluation are as follows:

  • Last time the department was audited
  • Complexity of the department, volume of transactions, etc.
  • Cash income of the department each year
  • Other types of income
  • Quantity of grants and contracts
  • Percentage of turnover of key personnel in the last year
  • Federal regulations related to the department
  • Management concerns

In addition, University management may request an audit for various reasons, such as suspicion of fraud, review of operational procedures, or assessment of key controls in specific departments. These special requests are usually worked into our annual audit plan as soon as practical.

What is Internal Audit’s role in preventing, detecting, and investigating fraud?

Internal Auditor supports management's efforts to establish a culture that embraces ethics, honesty, and integrity. We assist management with the evaluation of internal controls used to detect or mitigate fraud, evaluate the organization's assessment of fraud risk, and are involved in any fraud investigations.

An anonymous Business Ethics Hotline (2-3194) has been established for employees to convey their concerns to the Director of Internal Audit.


How can we prepare for an audit?

Before our office comes to perform an audit, an introductory letter is mailed. This letter requests some information that will help the audit go smoothly. Specifically, we request:

  • an organization chart
  • job descriptions for key personnel
  • literature on the department, if available
  • list of employee names
  • phone numbers and e-mail addresses

In addition, it is helpful if the staff in the department can be notified of the impending audit and informed that we come in as a business partner to help assess the operating controls in the department. Let the staff know they should be available to talk with us and to cooperate in getting information, etc. This will ensure the audit will go smoothly and wrap up in a timely manner.

Check out the University Professional Standards and Business Conduct Policy at: