Departments endure operational, financial audits

Seven university departments are undergoing operational, compliance and financial-related audits by the Office of the Inspector General.

“We’re auditing to ensure that the departments are in compliance with applicable laws, rules and regulations, the university board of trustees and policies and procedures,” said Merlene Johnson, assistant audit service and investigations administrator.

The audits, which are performed annually, are an ongoing process and focus on the previous and current fiscal years. Spontaneous in nature, the audits check to see how the departments are doing.

The Office of Inspector General cannot release the names of the departments currently under investigation but after the audits have been completed, the information becomes public record.

When a department is found to be adversely operating or performing below standard procedure, immediate action is taken.

“In compliance audits, we are determining whether the unit is complying with provisions following guidelines, rules and those kinds of things,” said O’Leary L. Sanders, inspector general. “If not, you have to make recommendations that they comply.”

Sanders said financial audits look specifically at how the departments record transactions and how they keep records. Operational audits, which are also known as performance audits, check how the departments are using resources and if they use resources effectively and efficiently.

Of the various departments under investigation, some are notified of the investigation, while others are not. The departments are not always notified to prevent the departments from changing internal information that was previously recorded.

Lonnie Barnes, 19, a sophomore criminal justice student from Washington, said she thinks the auditors are right for not always alerting the departments.

“If you tell someone they’re being audited, they’re going to try to make things seem right and then the audit would be pointless,” Barnes said.Marion Rogers, a 22-year-old sophomore political science student from Miami, said the Office of Inspector General should maintain its confidential policy.

“That information should be kept between the auditor and the department being audited,” he said. “I prefer they find that funds are not misappropriated and that they are being used the way they are supposed to be.”

Sanders said the Office of Inspector General and the audits that are performed positively affect the university as a whole.

“If I were the manager of a department, I would welcome someone to come in and make sure we are performing proficiently,” he said. “Once managers understand the importance of having us come in to help, they will realize that it helps the university and everyone benefit. It doesn’t cost anything.”