Page Updated: August 8th, 2018
Audit requests are often initially sent to a person at UW-Madison who has made previous contact with the sponsor on the award, whether or not that individual is responsible for the financial and administrative duties of the project. If an auditor contacts you for any purpose, please let me know.
Annually, UW-Madison goes through a review process called the Single Audit (or may be referred to as the Uniform Guidance Audit or previously commonly referred to as an “A-133 audit”). Per 2CFR200.501, if a US entity (not including For-profits) spends more than $750,000 of federal funds in a given fiscal year, they must have a Single Audit completed by an independent auditor. UW-Madison’s audit is completed by the Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB). The auditors are required to complete their work by March 31st of the year following our fiscal year, which ends June 30. For example, if they were auditing FY 2017, the audit report would be due by March 31st, 2018.
UW-Madison’s Single Audit, Management Letter and Sponsored Agreement Info Letter can be found on our Frequently Used Data page under the section titled Budget Information.
Every year, LAB reviews clusters of federal funding to determine whether to designate them as “high risk” and whether they will audit that cluster. For example, in FY 2017, they designated the Research and Development (R&D) cluster as high risk and therefore audited that cluster. In FY 2018, the Student Financial Aid cluster was designated as high risk and it will be audited. In years that the auditors select R&D, a sample of grant expenditures will be tested for compliance with the Uniform Guidance principles. They will also test each compliance requirement as stated in the compliance supplement. Some of these requirements include Procurement and Suspension and Debarment, Period of Performance, Subrecipient Monitoring, and Reporting.
Federal and non-federal sponsors may request audits of UW, but the timing of these audits are unpredictable. Sponsor audits have included, but are not limited to, the National Science Foundation (NSF), Department of Defense (DOD) Army Audits, United Soybean Board, and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Audits.
Once every three years, Sandia completes an audit of our Department of Energy (DOE) awards. They test a selection of expenditures and make sure we are following the contracts’ terms and conditions, including the applicable Federal Acquisition Regulations.
Each federal agency has an Office of Inspector General (OIG) which is responsible for preventing fraud, waste, and abuse of federal funds. OIG may review a specific award, policy or procedure. For example, the NSF OIG conducted a Data Analytics audit, which reviewed all NSF expenditures for a three-year period. Also, the NSF OIG performed an Effort Reporting audit, which reviewed the charging of salaries and reporting of effort. OIG offices also investigate complaints or whistle-blower allegations of wrongdoing or misconduct involving federal awards.
The University of Wisconsin System has a financial statement audit on an annual basis. This audit occurs any time during the April-December period. For example, if the auditors were auditing fiscal year 2017, which ends June 30, they would complete this work during April-December of 2017. This audit focuses on making sure the financial statements are fairly stated. The auditors will also look at controls related to the preparation of the financial statements, such as information system controls. This audit was formerly completed by the Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB). Starting in 2018, this audit is now performed by the audit firm Plante Moran.
Sponsors will sometimes review a particular invoice that we have sent them and may request supporting documentation. This is to ensure that our expenditures are allowable, allocable, and reasonable. At other times, they may request documentation on UW-Madison’s policies and procedures to verify our compliance with their terms and conditions.
Sponsors will sometimes do site visits as opposed to full audits. Often, these reviews will be done in advance of funding a proposal or providing continuation funding. The focus of a site visit is to verify that the University has the appropriate expertise, staffing, resources, and capacity to manage the award. The sponsor will send representatives to visit campus and interview programmatic and administrative staff that are working on the award or awards. They may request documentation to review prior to their visit.
Internal Audit reviews programs throughout campus. Every audit has a specific scope developed for the segment that they want to review. Some previous audits have examined Contracts, Subrecipient Monitoring and Closeout processes.
The Office of Internal Audit also provides a simple and anonymous way to report activities that may involve misconduct or violations of University policy. Additional information is available at https://www.wisconsin.edu/offices/office-of-internal-audit/