Audit FAQs

Who are internal auditors?
As defined by the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA), “internal auditors are “business generalists” who specialize in efficiency and effectiveness for the good of the organization.

Their roles include monitoring, assessing, and analyzing organizational risk and controls; and reviewing and confirming information and compliance with policies, procedures, and laws. Working in partnership with management, internal auditors provide the board, the audit committee, and executive management assurance that risks are held at bay and that the organization’s corporate governance is strong and effective. And, when there is room for improvement anywhere within the organization, internal auditors make recommendations for enhancing processes, policies, and procedures.

Why does CUNY have an internal audit function?
The University Audit Office exists to assist University management and the Audit Committee of the Board of Trustees effectively fulfill their responsibilities. We are charged with reviewing the reliability and integrity of information; compliance with policies, plans, laws, and regulations; the safeguarding of assets; and, the economical and efficient use of resources.

In simpler words, we’re here to help.

What is the difference between external and internal auditors?
External auditors can be government auditors or independent public accounting firms that the University hires. Government auditors focus primarily on compliance with government laws and regulations. Since city, state and Federal governments fund portions of the University’s activities, they want to make sure we use their money as they intended.

Independent public accounting firms review the University’s annual financial statements to ensure the information presented accurately portrays the University’s financial condition. Government agencies, University’s Board of Trustees, and bond rating agencies rely on the independent auditor’s opinion of the University’s financial statements.

Internal auditors sometimes look at the same data or perform some of the same steps as external auditors. If there is a problem, it’s better to find it and fix it before external auditors review our practices. What if an external auditor contacts you? All external audits should be coordinated through the University Audit Office. We can sometime dissuade an audit or at least minimize the impact on an operation. Remember, internal audit is on your side and can help you get through an external audit.

What are internal auditors looking for?
Primarily compliance with university policies and internal controls. University’s policies are designed to help ensure we all comply with applicable laws and regulations and operate efficiently. By following these policies we help protect the University from unnecessary risks and help ensure sound business practices are consistent throughout the University.

What does a typical internal audit include?
Common elements of an internal audit engagement include the following:

  • Scheduling an opening conference to discuss audit objectives, timing, and intended report format and distribution
  • Evaluating internal control systems
  • Testing to ensure proper operation of internal control systems
  • Developing conclusions based on test results
  • Reviewing audit issues and draft audit reports with management and staff
  • Preparing and distributing an audit report which generally includes management’s responses to the issues raised

How can I best work with auditors at CUNY?
Each audit engagement has a defined scope and objectives. Any auditor requesting information from you should be able to explain the audit’s purpose and objectives so you can understand the reasons for questions being asked and provide accurate answers.

When you understand the audit’s purpose, you can assist by either providing relevant information or, if you are not the best source of the requested information, directing the auditor to the right person or office.

If you have questions or concerns about information being requested, it is appropriate to discuss those concerns with the auditor, an Internal Audit manager, or the Director of Internal Audit.

What if something is not handled correctly?
We will make recommendations wherever we find room for improvement. The recommendations are realistic because we want you to implement them.

Can a department request an audit?
Yes! We take requests for audit work, although our ability to perform the audit might be affected by our staffing levels, or audit workload. Still, if you are concerned about an area in your department, we will try to make time for a limited examination of the area. We’re also available to do presentations and training for your department.

What if it’s a bad time for an audit because (choose one)
we’re short staffed
the deputy director just quit
it’s budget season
we’re crawling with students!
we’re trying to close out the year

What if I don’t have the time to deal with the auditors?
During the opening meeting, we will discuss the audit schedule and try to accommodate time constraints that you may have. Many people operate under the erroneous belief that in doing an audit we will spend lots of time with you and take time away from your other obligations. We may need to meet with your assistants two or three times for maybe an hour at a time over the audit period. We may spend equal amounts of time, and perhaps less, with others in the department, but we will not be monopolizing anyone’s time in the department. Some of our compliance testing, such as accounts payable, involves more contact with University offices than with you and your staff. And some of our work, such as planning and report writing, is done in our office.


  • Annual Internal Control Review Report


  • Internal Control Program
  • Description of Internal Controls
  • Auditing at CUNY: A Service to Management
  • External Audit Protocol


  • Manual of General Policy
  • Fiscal Handbook for the Control and Accountability of Student Activity Fees
  • Records Retention and Disposition Manual
  • Internal Control Training Guide

Other Websites

  • NY State Internal Control Association
  • U.S. Government Accountability Office
  • COSO/The Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission
  • Association of College and University Auditors
  • National Association of College and University Business Officers

Contact Us

Office of Budget and Finance
230 West 41St Street
New York, New York, 10036
(212) 397 – 5600

Office Internal Audit and Management Services
(646) 746-4290

University Budget Office
(646) 746-4270

Office of the University Controller
(212) 397-5600