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The Audit Process

Each year, our office prepares an Annual Audit Work Plan for the City Council's review. The work plan is informed by suggestions from City Council members, members of the public, audit staff, and other City staff. We also use information from the City's adopted operating and capital budgets and financial statements.

After audit assignments are identified, the city auditor assigns staff to complete the audit work. While every assignment is unique, most are conducted in a few phases:

  • During the preliminary survey phase, auditors thoroughly research the subjects to be audited, identify potential risks of the audited entities, clarify and prioritize audit objectives, and develop work plans for the audit.
  • During the fieldwork phase, auditors conduct fieldwork to address audit objectives (e.g., observing operations, interviewing personnel, examining relevant data, and analyzing reports and other information) and test other areas that may develop during the audit.
  • After fieldwork, auditors prepare a draft audit report of audit issues for discussion with management and staff and review preliminary findings with key staff of the audited entities. Three weeks is allowed for the City Manager and staff to prepare a written response to be published with the audit report.
  • During the reporting phase, auditors communicate conclusions, findings, and recommendations to audited entities, City Council Committees, the City Council as a whole, and members of the public.
  • After the audit is issued, auditors monitor and track recommendations as part of our recommendation follow-up.

The audit function is an essential element of San José’s public accountability. The credibility of our audit work depends on independence, objectivity, and technical accuracy.

  • Independence - Independence is critical to ensuring audit findings, opinions, conclusions, judgments, and recommendations are impartial, and are viewed as impartial by others. Our office as a whole and individual auditors must be free from personal and organizational impairments and should maintain an independent attitude and the appearance thereof.
  • Objectivity - Auditors continually strive to be as objective as possible in carrying out responsibilities, and base findings and recommendations on facts rather than impressions.
  • Technical Accuracy - The office has a stringent quality assurance program to ensure that staff exercise due professional care, audits are adequately planned, working papers contain sufficient evidence, and each statement of fact in our audit reports is known to be true.