Internal auditing focuses on identifying risks that threaten the ability of an organization to accomplish its mission. The Auditor's Office conducts independent audits of City agencies to help mitigate identified risks in order to enhance efficiency and effectiveness, reduce costs, and improve the quality of services.
Personally identifiable information – Social Security numbers, addresses, driver’s license numbers – are increasingly at risk of exposure as hackers break through cybersecurity gaps. But the Office of the Auditor is always vigilant, on the lookout for threats to Denver’s digital records. In this episode of Ask the Auditor, Denver Auditor Timothy O’Brien explains how his office found a security gap in the most unlikely place and why cybersecurity is his top priority.
If you have questions for the Denver Auditor, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org, and maybe your question will be on the next episode of Ask the Auditor.
How does an audit of a city agency affect you? Whether an audit uncovers fraud or hidden resources, Denver Auditor Timothy M. O’Brien, CPA, explains how the Office of the Auditor’s work directly affects the citizens of Denver in the second episode of Ask the Auditor. Submit your questions to email@example.com, and your question may be answered in the next episode!
What do the Denver Auditor and his office do? They aren’t just accountants and they aren’t the IRS. Denver Auditor Timothy M. O’Brien, CPA, is here to answer your questions about the Office of the Auditor. This first episode of Ask the Auditor will explain what the Denver Auditor does and his office’s role as the watchdog for the City and County of Denver.
The results of conducted audits are communicated through formal audit reports, which communicate findings and recommendations for improvement to the audited agency, oversight officials, and the public. Additionally, the Auditor's Office conducts follow-up work to verify that corrective actions have been taken to address findings, and publishes follow-up reports.
A high-quality and transparent annual audit plan is critical for meeting the mission of the Denver Auditor’s Office. Developing the plan is an ongoing process, conducted by assembling ideas from a variety of sources, examining a broad range of City activities, and then assessing risk factors in tandem with some additional considerations. By evaluating potential audits from a variety of perspectives, the Auditor’s Office seeks to provide widespread audit coverage both in terms of the types of audits performed and the entities assessed. This approach results in a diverse list of departments, programs, activities, and contracts that are examined to determine the extent to which they are operating efficiently, effectively, and in accordance with program or contract requirements.
In developing a list of potential audits, ideas come from a variety of sources:
A robust audit plan will assess a broad range of City activities, including:
Potential audits are identified and prioritized using a risk-based approach by examining a variety of factors that may expose the City to fraud, misappropriation of funds, liability, or reputational harm.
Accordingly, risk factors are assessed by reviewing:
Risk factors are periodically evaluated and modified as necessary. In tandem with risk-based considerations, some additional considerations also provide practical guidance in determining which audits to pursue. First and foremost, resource constraints within the Auditor’s Office inherently limit the amount of audit work performed in one year. Furthermore, deference is given to the unique interests and responsibilities of the Auditor as an elected official and the risks the Auditor identifies as a priority to serve the interests of the City and its people. After the plan is finalized, new information may come to light; situations, initiatives, priorities, and risks within the City may change. The flexible nature of the audit plan as a living document provides the discretion to change course when it is in the best interest of the City.
The Auditor’s Office extends its gratitude and appreciation to the Mayor’s Office, the City Council, the Audit Committee, members of the city’s operational management, and members of the general public for providing input on the 2017 Audit Plan and for supporting the general mission of our Office throughout the year.
The Denver Auditor’s Office provides independent oversight of how tax dollars are spent to fund the City’s many services, initiatives, and programs. The Denver City Charter, Article V, establishes this independence and provides for the Auditor’s general authority and duties. The Charter also establishes the Audit Committee, through which we report our audit findings.
Originally, the Auditor served as the general accountant for the City, maintaining the City’s financial records and paying City expenses, including payroll. However, in November 2006, Denver voters approved an amendment to the City Charter, changing the duties of the Auditor that had been in place since 1904. Based on this Charter revision, accounting and payroll functions moved to the Controller’s Office under the Chief Financial Officer in June 2007. This revision plus other ordinances authorized the Auditor to conduct audits of any entity using City dollars. Today, Denver’s Auditor oversees one of the most structurally independent government audit functions in the country.
Several key components serve as the cornerstone for Denver’s auditing framework. These elements provide the Auditor with the independence that results in the Office’s ability to conduct high-impact audits.