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Audit Management

Jump to section:

Audit Notification
Role of the Auditor
Role of the Central Administration
The Audit Process
Audit Tips

The comptroller of the University is the official contact for University audits. Sponsored Projects Services (SPS) acts as the delegated coordinator for audits pertaining to grants and contracts. If an auditor contacts you directly, please refer them to SPS. External auditors or investigators should not review documents or interview personnel without the involvement of SPS. As necessary, SPS will involve other offices such as Financial Services, Office of General Counsel and Office of Responsible Outside Interests.

Sponsored accounts are subject to audit by the following entities:

  • State of Arizona
    • The State of Arizona Auditor General performs a yearly audit of the University financial statements and research operations (Federal Single Audit). This can be found here.
  • Federal agencies
    • Agencies such as ONR and DHHS certify the University's Property, Purchasing, and Cost Accounting systems. More information can be found here.
  • Individual sponsors 
  • University of Arizona Internal Audit Office

Audit Notification

The audit agency or sponsor notifies the university of an audit by letter. If you receive an audit request please forward it to SPS. SPS will ensure the letter defines the scope of the audit and contains necessary lead time for document requests and scheduling. Please do not forward any financial or technical information directly to auditors without the involvement of SPS.

Role of the Auditor

Auditors provide the important function of keeping the system in balance and protecting the public. Auditors also provide valuable feedback and advice to management for improving grant and contract administration.

Role of Central Administration

The central administrators from Sponsored Projects Services and the Financial Services  play the role of host. They are the single point of contact between the auditors and institutional staff, coordinating interviews, monitoring the flow of information, and ensuring that the auditors have appropriate space and equipment.

The central administrators monitor the audit to ensure that the audit is conducted within the general means of accepted audit practice and to ensure that the audit is conducted within the originally-defined scope. The Senior Vice President for Research and/or the controller have the ultimate authority to approve the response to an audit on behalf of the University.

The Audit Process

The auditor will conduct an "Entrance Conference" with the principal investigator, business manager, and representatives from Sponsored Projects Services and the Financial Services Office. The purpose of the Entrance Conference is to define the scope of the audit and discuss the process for the audit.

The auditor will assess the competence and attitude of the University central administrators as well as the principal investigator and departmental business personnel. The auditor will also review our internal control system, i.e., policies and procedures, and monitoring mechanisms. Based on this assessment, the auditor will determine to what extent they can rely on the University systems and the relative risk associated with the audit. If the auditor feels that University systems are not reliable, more transactions may be selected for review and the scope of the audit may be expanded.

Auditors will discuss their findings with the University. Central administration will provide a response on behalf of the University. 

Audit Tips

  • Central administration is responsible for collecting information and pulling records for the auditors.
  • Answer questions honestly, directly, and succinctly.
  • Refrain from providing unrequested information.
  • Do not tamper with or manufacture records. If you have no records, say so. Fabricating and/or altering records is fraud.
  • Be alert. Auditors may not know the regulations applicable to your project as well as you do.
  • Be courteous, cooperative, and professional when dealing with the auditors.

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