Frequently Asked Questions

This list is intended to help answer some of the most common questions we receive. The answers incorporated into this document are of a general nature.  For more specific questions, please contact us. 

 

Who are the internal auditors?
Why does the University System have an internal audit function?
What should I do if an external auditor contacts me?
What’s the difference between an internal and an external auditor?
How do you select areas for review?
If our area is selected for a review, what should we do?
What do you look for during your reviews?
What if something isn’t handled correctly?

 

Q: Who are the internal auditors?
USNH internal auditors are employees of USNH who have reporting responsibilities directly to USNH trustees on the Audit Committee.  According to The Institute of Internal Auditors, the audit profession’s standard-setting and guiding body, internal auditing is “an independent, objective assurance and consulting activity designed to add value and improve an organization's operations. It helps an organization accomplish its objectives by bringing a systematic, disciplined approach to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of risk management, control, and governance processes.”

A primary Internal Audit role includes providing USNH’s Board of Trustees, Audit Committee, and management an objective assessment of operational, financial, and information systems controls and recommendations to mitigate weaknesses.
Back to top

 

Q: Why does the University have an internal audit function?
The USNH Internal Audit Department was established to assist the Board of Trustees and management in establishing and maintaining policy and procedures that adequately protect the assets of USNH, and to provide the Board of Trustees and management an objective appraisal of compliance with, and adequacy of, existing internal controls. 
Back to top

 

Q: What should I do if an external auditor contacts me?
All external audits should be coordinated through the USNH Internal Audit department.  If you are contacted directly by an external auditor, prior to discussing USNH business with them, you should first contact the USNH Internal Audit department.  Internal Audit represents the interests of the University System community and can assist you in getting through an external audit and minimize the impact of an external audit on a department.
Back to top

 

Q: What’s the difference between an internal and an external auditor?
External Auditors are employees outside of the University System.    Public accounting firms review the work of Internal Auditors and are given access to our Audit Reports.  Annually they come to USNH to review Financial Statements and expenditures of Federal funds.  Additionally, State and Federal external auditors come to USNH on occasion e.g. IRS to review Tax Reporting, OSHA to review Environmental Protection, Department of Labor to review personnel issues.

In contrast, Internal Auditors are employees of USNH who review and assess all areas of operational, financial, and information systems within USNH.
Back to top

 

Q: How do you select areas for review?
Annually there is an audit plan prepared which dictates the audits, special projects, and other related Internal Audit department activities for the up-coming fiscal year.  The plan is prepared based on review and assessment of the University System.   This preparatory review encompasses the following -
1.  IA meetings with the Presidents, CFOs, CIOs, and CAOs to determine the risk areas
2.  Determinations based on prior findings or concerns related to us
3.  Mandates from external regulations, such as NCAA (Athletics), Government (Student Financial Assistance).
Back to top

 

Q: If our area is selected for a review, what should we do?
Employees’ responsibilities in an audit or investigation are to respond to auditors honestly and supply requested information and documentation without making alterations.  If your area is selected for a review, the responsible director or department head will be notified, and we will then work with you to determine the audit time frame and schedule accordingly. We will hold an entrance conference to discuss specific objectives of the audit, the timing, resource requirements and any questions or concerns that management may have, and you may be given an opportunity to attend that.  You should tell us about any specific time constraints for your area or for individuals we would need to work with.  Attendees at the entrance conference usually include the campus CFO, responsible Dean or Director, and Business Manager, along with the Internal Audit Department Director and Manager, Senior, or Staff Auditor.  You should update documentation we will request, such as organizational charts, policies and procedures.  We appreciate your help teaching us about your area and how things operate.  Other documentation we will request includes financial information, contracts, promotional literature, grant documents, etc., during the time we schedule at your site.  We will then do some testing of specific transactions.
Back to top

 

Q: What do you look for during your reviews?
Our goal is to determine whether an area is operating efficiently and in accordance with good business practices and university system policies and procedures. We accomplish this by obtaining an understanding of the organization, including the structure, operations, regulations affecting the area, and the accounting/internal control procedures in place. We evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the overall internal control structure, and discuss our assessment with management. We may select a sample of transactions to test against applicable policies and procedures (internal, USNH, State, Federal, etc.). These tests are conducted to verify whether procedures are functioning as they were designed and whether they adequately and appropriately capture all economic events.  Results of tests are communicated to management. 
Back to top

 

Q: What if something isn’t handled correctly?
If you are aware of something that isn’t handled correctly, we appreciate your bringing it to our attention so we can assess corrective controls that would be appropriate.  If we become aware of something that isn’t handled correctly, we discuss our findings with the manager/director of the area being audited as they arise during the field work phase.  We anticipate the discussion to be a back-and-forth conversation.  After analysis and review of information we complete a report draft with findings and recommendations for your review and comments prior to the exit conference, and here again you have the opportunity to discuss differences or additional information which may give us more insight to support your different opinion.  During the exit conference, we will listen to your feedback and welcome discussion.  We strive to present a fair and complete assessment of controls and weaknesses and to offer sound recommendations to mitigate risks.
Back to top