Anatomy of an Audit (Text Version)

Make A Plan

The pre-audit phase confirms the audit's scope, sets objectives and maps the path forward.

Collect Data

Auditors conduct background research and interviews, gather data, validate evidence and determine what's important to the scope, and what isn't.

Analyze Results

The auditor evaluates the information against the audit's objectives to determine if the government or agency is operating as it should.

Audit Report

Audit reports can be less than 10 pages or more than 100 pages, depending on what government is being audited and the type of audit performed. Most, however, have information in common:

A title page tells you what kind of audit was done and what government was audited. Because most audits look at financial records for a specific time, like two calendar years, the title page will also tell you the audit period.

A transmittal letter, signed by the State Auditor is almost always included. This shows that we told the leaders of the government about our findings.

Audit results can be quite short if auditors found that a government's finances were properly accounted for. This section will tell you what areas of the government's operations we examined.


When auditors have significant concerns about a government's control over public resources or other issues, this is called a “finding.” They explain what the issue was, and what effect it could have on public resources.


If there were audit findings, the auditors will also make suggestions about how the government can fix the issue in the future.