Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the organizational structure of the Internal Audit department?
- What is the purpose of Internal Audit? How does it benefit the County?
Internal Audit is an independent and objective review of County operations designed to add value and improve an organization's operations. It helps an organization accomplish its objectives by bringing a systematic and disciplined approach to reviews of its internal business processes, which results in independent recommendations designed to improve operational efficiencies, ensure compliance with applicable state and federal regulations and identify instances of fraud, waste or abuse of County assets.
- What standards is Internal Audit held to?
Internal Audit is held to the standard set forth in the Generally Accepted Governmental Auditing Standards (Yellow Book), which was established and is maintained by the United States General Accounting Office (GAO).
- What procedures or methodology does Internal Audit follow to conduct audits?
Internal Audit follows the methodology outlined in the Internal Audit policies and procedures manual. Typical procedures utilized in an internal audit include:
- Conducting interviews
- Formally documenting business processes
- Identifying key business risks and internal controls
- Assessing compliance of business processes to internal policies and procedures and external regulations
- Performing data analytics
- How do I access records of what internal audits have previously been performed for Pinal County?
Upon completion of individual internal audits, the Internal Audit department will report findings to the Audit Committee and Board of Supervisors. Evidence of discussion and approval of Internal Audit findings can be viewed on the respective meeting agenda and minutes on the County website. Subsequent to obtaining Board approval, Internal Audit reports are published on the County website.
- How often does Internal Audit report on findings to the Audit Committee and Board of Supervisors?
Internal Audit reports to the Audit Committee on a monthly basis and provides information related to the progress of current internal audits, planning and scoping of future internal audits and reporting of other ad-hoc items that are assigned to the Internal Audit department. Internal Audit provides quarterly reports to the Board of Supervisors including information such as the status of current year internal audits, results of the whistleblower hotline and other ad-hoc requests prescribed by the Board of Supervisors.
- How does Internal Audit determine which County operations will be audited during the year?
On a tri-annual basis, Internal Audit collaborates with the Board of Supervisors, Audit Committee, Elected Officials and key County Management personnel to perform a county-wide risk assessment. The results of the risk assessment are reviewed by Internal Audit and a proposed Internal Audit plan is developed and approved by the Board of Supervisors. On an annual basis, Internal Audit works with County Management and the Audit Committee to review the upcoming internal audits and determine if any new information is available that would result in a revision of the approved audit plan.
- Why does Internal Audit report through the Board of Supervisors rather than through County Management?
According to the Institute of Internal Auditors©, internal auditor independence is defined as,
"The freedom from conditions that threaten the ability of the internal audit activity to carry out internal audit responsibilities in an unbiased manner. To achieve the degree of independence necessary to effectively carry out the responsibilities of the internal audit activity."
In order for the Pinal County Internal Audit department to maintain its independence, its reporting structure has been modified to align with industry best practices. As a result, Internal Audit reports directly to the Board of Supervisors to ensure that no undue influence from County Management may result in compromising the independence of the internal audit function.
- How can I communicate with Internal Audit on potential issues or fraudulent activity that I have witnessed?
For specific information related to the Internal Audit Function, please visit the County Internal Audit website or send an email to the Internal Audit Department. Additionally, Pinal County has established a silent whistle hotline for County residents or employees to report instances of fraud, waste or abuse. Reports can be submitted via the County Website or via telephone at 888-431-1311.