awarding audit contracts by U.S. government departments and agencies
Rationale for and Objectives of the project
main and secondary
Desktop or literature search
Rationale for Search Methodology
Justification for audits
Evolving role of auditors
Types of audit contracts
Understanding the Audit Process
Best practices and benchmarking
Audit management is a fundamental element in government accountability, control and performance management. Certainly there is justification within the Federal government to conduct audits of contracts for the procurement of goods and services.
It is imperative that Federal programs and agencies obtain reasonable assurance that the vendors they are dealing with are providing fair and adequate services based on contract specifications and government regulations. Federal agencies need to insure that their basic financial statements are free of material misrepresentation, that their performance is in compliance with certain expressed provisions of laws, regulations, contracts and grants and that non-compliance would have a direct and detrimental effect on the determination of financial statement amounts.
Whether a company is a manufacturer or a service provider, to be successful in working with government agencies, its management should be concerned to ensure that:
products move smoothly and swiftly through the production cycle warranty repairs are kept to a minimum and turned round quickly suppliers' delivery performance is constantly monitored quality standards are continually raised sales orders, shipments and backlog are kept to a minimum there is overall customer satisfaction labour turnover statistics are produced in such a way as to identify managerial weaknesses &D costs do not escalate the accounting and finance departments really understand the business
Looking at each of these areas in turn creates a non-exhaustive list of performance measures. No one indicator should be over emphasized and no one indicator should reign supreme.
Government agencies have a strong commitment to performance measurements and their perceived usefulness appears to meet the needs of different stakeholders in various sectors. The good news is that government agencies in their quest to insure accountability for contract and program audits have applied some modern, private sector management tools to solve some of their existing problems.
Activity-based costing and management, benchmarking, process reengineering, total quality management and balanced scorecard have been implemented with mixed results. (Journal of Government Financial Management, 2002).
Audits are a natural progression when it comes to contract management for the government. Innovation and change are only possible when comprehensive assessments have been done. It is performance audits and measurements that will be the catalyst for executing new initiatives.
Chapter 1 - INTRODUCTION
The topic for this research paper is to investigate the framework for awarding audit contracts by U.S. government departments and agencies. The purpose is to provide a comprehensive look at the process for audit awards made by the Federal government. For clarification purposes, the audit is the primary mechanism used by the Federal government to insure accountability for Federal contract awards.
To fully understand the impact of the audit management process, it is important to have some brief background information on Federal audit requirements. The first organization-wide Federal audit requirements were documented in 1979. Before that, each organization handled their own audit of awards. Because many of the same companies could receive contracts from different Federal agencies, it became quite cumbersome to submit to often overlapping audits. This resulted in inflated audit costs for the government and countless hours of administrative time for the companies/organizations involved. In 1984, legislation established a uniform approach to the audit process for state and local governments. This act helped product quality audit reports and reduced the cost and time involved in the process.
The purpose of this dissertation is to examine compliance with the process itself and identify the framework used for guidance in awarding audit contracts. I selected this topic because the audit process is an opportunity for an objective, skilled and impartial review of program operations that can be beneficial in assessing performance and recommending improvements. Because this is a Federal process, understanding and evaluating the process can be a learning tool and resource for creating best practices in non-federal environments.
Rationale for and Objectives of the Project
The government enters into contracts with private businesses and other organizations, generally to obtain good and services. In order to understand the enormity of this undertaking, it is important to note here that the federal government alone signs approximately fifty-six thousand contracts each day and spends between $30 to 40 million each working day (Miccioli, 2000).
This type of activity requires that the procurement process is regulated every step of the way. To understand the need and consequences of this endeavor requires research into its origins, its implementation and its level of success through the audit process itself. It is my intent to examine the audit process in depth through my research and reporting to discuss the role it plays in awarding federal contracts.
A also hope to identify common practices in contracts processing that can be accelerated by implementing uniform procedures that respond to the legal requirements of the contracts process but do so in a more efficient manner. By studying the audit and contracting process, advantages and disadvantages will emerge and the processes can be further evaluated for cost savings and efficiency measures.
My research will include:
Studying and understanding how programs, projects and functions are selected for audit
Researching how audits are done
Researching how the audit reporting process works
And finally, identifying areas for improvement and making sound and actionable recommendations
My research will be based on articles, journals, government-produced materials, both hard copy documents and materials found on the Internet. I will review and read these materials and extrapolate the important information to support the objectives of my dissertation.
Through the development of research for completing this paper, I hope to address the following questions:
What is an audit and what is the main purpose of implementing audits for Federal contracts?
What is the background of the audit process and what role does it play?
What are the types of audits that are administered?
What is the selection process for contract audits?
What is the audit reporting process
In conjunction with these questions, I will address the objectives stated in Section 1.2 and conclude by making recommendations for improving the process.
Hypotheses: Main and Subsidiary
The main hypothesis of this paper is to support the need for contract auditing by the Federal government. Obviously, the government needs to procure products and services from reliable and responsible non-government sources at the lowest possible cost to the government. Procurement regulations are necessary for handling this type of contract activity.
The Federal government's audits the financial statements of potential suppliers to insure compliance with contract provisions and regulations in a commercial enterprise. The use of an independent auditor allows for an impartial evaluation.
There is no secondary hypothesis. The main hypothesis encompasses the objectives stated in Section 1.2.
Chapter 2 - RESEARCH METHODLOGY
2.1 Desktop and Literature Search
There is a huge amount of information available both online and in hard copy describing the task facing the government's audit management process for contracts. The most daunting task I faced was the sheer volume of information available. In undertaking this endeavor, I did extensive online research for information that discusses the questions outlined in Section 1.4. My methodology was based on an organized search that would yield information about:
the audit process itself background about the audit process why the audit process is necessary how it works how it can be improved
By gathering articles, journals and government-sponsored information, I was able to gather a large amount of diverse information, representing many viewpoints. Therefore, my research was not one-sided and provided a cross-section of opinions. I tried to structure my research so that I was able to construct a comprehensive view of the audit process and a better understanding of the maze of regulations and procedures that govern Federal contract management through the audit process.
I have listed my information sources in the Bibliography Section of this paper.
2.2 Rationale for Search Methodology
In trying to determine the most comprehensive and time saving method of gathering a large amount of information on the audit management process, I realized I would need to conduct an extensive online and literature search for articles, journals and government documents that discussed the issue from a variety of aspects. The complexity of government contracts research requires familiarity with research methods, particularly being able to ascertain and access online information.
During my research for this paper, I found that the Internet provided the most up-to-date and easily accessible information. The Internet does an excellent job of providing access to many of the processes and procedures.
There was no empirical research methodology used in this paper.
Chapter 3 will address the objectives outlined in Section 2.1 and provide a complete discussion of the subject matter. Following the discussion, I will analyze my findings and finally, present my own view…
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