Wayne State University

Aim Higher

Do's and Don'ts of External Audit

External auditors are auditors who are not employed by the University and are performing an audit or review of any of the following:

  • The University’s financial statements
  • Specific programs within the University (e.g., NCAA, Financial Aid, etc.)
  • Grants

When a department is notified by the external auditor of an impending audit or review, the department should immediately contact the Office of Internal Audit to arrange an entrance meeting. Please see section 10.3.3 of the APPM for Internal Audit’s policies and procedures for the Registration of Outside Auditors at www.wayne.edu/fisops/APPM99s.pdf

An audit can be a painless event if you follow some very simple suggestions.

How should I handle an external auditor?

Do’s:                                                                                                        TOP         

  • Be courteous, cooperative, and professional. An angry auditor is not a friendly auditor who may be willing to negotiate possible findings should they arise.
  • Obtain a written notification of the audit or review. The notification letter should outline:
    • The audit scope
    • The name of the auditor in charge
    • Timing of the audit
    • Requirements and expectations of the university
  • Complete the External Auditor Registration Form and fax it to the Office of Internal audit
  • Forward a copy of the notification letter to the Office of Internal Audit (attention of the Assistant Vice President or Associate Director)
  • Obtain an Information Request List outlining all of the documentation needed by the auditors complete with due dates
  • Attend the audit entrance meeting scheduled by Internal Audit
  • Ask questions about anything requiring clarification at the entrance meeting
  • Provide all of the documentation requested on the Information Request List on time (e.g., or before the due date)
  • Be proactive. Notify the auditor of any request that cannot be met and the reason(s) therefore.
  • Some examples may include:
    • Other significant deadlines (e.g., yearend closure, other reporting deadlines, student registration, etc.)
    • Staff shortages
    • Document no longer used or available (but provide a viable substitute)
    • System contingencies or restrictions for data (but discuss other viable alternatives)

If the auditor knows about any possible issues up front, they can deal with them more effectively as they proceed with the audit rather than reacting to them as they arise.

  • Assist the auditors with their specific requests. The longer it takes the auditors to complete their work, the longer they will be on campus.
  • Answer only the questions asked by the auditors.
  • Forward copies of all written communications received from the auditor to the Office of Internal Audit
  • Contact the Office of Internal Audit if any issues arise concerning the audit, the auditors, or possible findings as soon as they arise.
  • Be positive.

 Don'ts:                                                                                                     TOP

  • Don’t be rude. An angry auditor is not a friendly auditor who may be willing to negotiate possible findings should they arise.
  • Don’t spring any surprises on the auditor. Auditors don’t like surprises particularly if they have a potentially significant impact on the audit scope, potential findings, or the audit report.
  • Don’t provide any extraneous, unrequested information. If you are unsure about the information and how it may relate to the audit, but the auditor has not specifically requested it, consult with Internal Audit first and a decision will be made on how to proceed.