What is the role of internal auditing?
Internal auditing is an objective assurance and consulting activity designed to add value and improve an organization's management and operations. Activities included in the definition consist of adopting and following a system of internal controls, compliance with laws, rules, regulations, and contractual agreements, and responding to the needs of the citizens of Escambia County. Through the internal audit activity, recommendations are made to improve operations and performance.
What is the Clerk’s Authority to Audit?
Under Article VIII, Section 1(d), of the Constitution of the State of Florida, the Clerk of the Circuit Court serves as auditor and custodian of all county funds for the Escambia County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC). In Escambia County, the Clerk of the Circuit Court (Clerk), an elected Constitutional Officer is the County's Internal Auditor. The Florida Supreme Court has ruled that the Clerk of the Circuit Court has the right to perform all auditing functions, including financial and performance audits. The Clerk has delegated responsibility for the management of the internal audit function to his appointed Administrator for Financial Services and the function is coordinated through the Clerk’s Finance Department. All internal audit functions are reviewed and approved by the Clerk.
Why does Escambia County Need an Internal Audit Function?
The federal government and the state of Florida have implemented laws and regulations affecting Escambia County. In addition, the BOCC has established policies and procedures for county management to follow in serving the citizens of Escambia County. Further, the BOCC has entered into contracts and agreements and expended public funds to provide these services and purchase assets. The internal auditing process conducts financial, compliance, operational, and performance audits intended to improve the effectiveness of governance, risk management and control processes within the Escambia County government. This audit function, in addition to evaluating these areas, results in recommendations for improvement. To that end, by conducting limited scope and continuous audits of departments, functions, and activities internal audit helps ensure that the County is fulfilling its fiduciary responsibilities to its citizens and taxpayers.
What about Audit Independence?
Independence is paramount in performing the internal audit function since it provides for an atmosphere for objective and uninhibited appraisal. The Clerk, as an elected official, is independent of the BOCC. By maintaining independence in the process, an objective assurance adds value and improves operations, thereby preserving public trust. Depending on the scope of the internal audit or performance review, the Clerk either utilizes highly qualified internal staff or contracts with an outside CPA firm.
Audit work papers are considered confidential until the audit report is made public (Florida Statute 119.07 Public Records, was amended by Chapter 95-399, dated June 18, 1995). Upon presentation at the BOCC meeting, the audit report is considered final and becomes a public document, available to the media and the general public. Audit reports are posted on the Clerk’s website, Internal Auditor page.