Auditing Resources : Performance Audits

Preparing for a performance audit

Performance audits can help agencies achieve their goals more effectively and efficiently, but preparing for and responding to the audit can be a challenge. Shortly after the State Auditor's Office began conducting performance audits, the Governor's Office and the Office of Financial Management published a guide (pdf, 372kb) to help agencies through the process. It has helpful tips and leading practices gathered from professional literature, a checklist of preparatory steps, a suggested issue-management process, a data tracking tool, a resource tracking tool and a confidentiality management process template.

National resources

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report Performance Auditing: The Experiences of the United States Government Accountability Office discusses performance auditing's "vital role in providing decision makers and citizens with the information, analysis, and recommendations they need to respond to [an] increasingly complex and interconnected environment."

The GAO's Yellow Book provides the standards by which performance audits are conducted.

The National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers (NASACT) serves state officials who deal with the financial management of state government.

State and regional resources

Washington State Legislature Joint Legislative Audit & Review Committee (JLARC) "works to make state government operations more effective, efficient, and accountable. The Committee is comprised of an equal number of House and Senate members, Democrats and Republicans. JLARC pursues its mission by conducting performance audits, program evaluations, sunset reviews, and other analyses. Assignments to conduct studies are made by the Legislature and the Committee itself. Based on these assignments, JLARC’s non-partisan staff auditors, under the direction of the Legislative Auditor, independently seek answers to audit questions and issue recommendations to improve performance."

Results Washington is the state's central repository of information about efforts being made to make government more effective and efficient. It tracks Lean initiatives, performance goals and improvement, and progress made on Governor Inslee's priority areas of government. 

The Municipal Research and Services Center (MRSC) is a private, non-profit organization based in Seattle. Its mission is to support "effective local government in Washington through trusted consultation, research, training, and collaboration." The page on performance auditing discusses performance audits for government entities; it defines performance audits, and provides local government illustrations of performance audit policies and reporting. MRSC is also a valuable resource for information about local governments in Washington. 

​The conferences presented by the Pacific Northwest Intergovernmental Audit Forum give representatives from the states of Alaska, Idaho, Washington and Oregon an opportunity to meet and share best practices across a wide spectrum of performance and other auditing fields. Conference papers are posted after sessions and are available to the general public on the website.

  • The guidance on this page is relevant to performance audits at both the state and local level.
 
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