Stillwater News Press

Q5 Interviews

July 12, 2014

Q5: Watchdog conducting state audits

STILLWATER, Okla. — Gary Jones is the Oklahoma State Auditor and Inspector. His agency is in the process of performing an audit of Payne County.

1 What is the role of the State Auditor and Inspector?

The State Auditor is often referred to as the “taxpayer’s watchdog.” While there is certainly much truth to that characterization, this office has taken an active approach to assist public officials and entities identify certain risk factors in order to reduce the risk of fraud, waste and abuse.

This effort includes offering recommendations as well as solutions that are designed to safeguard the expenditure of public funds in ways that improve government, at every level, through improved efficiencies, and increased effectiveness in the delivery of services.

2 How many agencies and government bodies is your office responsible for monitoring and what types of reports do they file?

The Office of the State Auditor is responsible for auditing most state agencies, boards and commissions, as well as all 77 county governments. Our office also audits emergency service districts and all district attorney offices.

The largest and probably least well-known audit we conduct is a two-part audit known as the CAFR (Comprehensive Annual Financial Report) and the state Single Audit in which we look at the expenditure of both state and federal revenue. The approval of the Single Audit by Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is vital to Oklahoma receiving various federal funds which account for more than 45 percent of the state’s annual budget.

Our office conducts several types of audits, including financial statement and operational audits. When requested, we engage in performance audits, which are important to improving government by improving processes and procedures, when recommendations are implemented.

Perhaps the audits for which we are most credited are special audits which are conducted by request most typically when fraud, waste or abuse is suspected to have occurred.

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