The Audit Process

Primary Purpose

The purpose of the OAG is to report on whether organizations spending public monies use it properly, and effectively. The Office does this by carrying out financial statement audits, performance audits, and special investigations. The OAG from time to time retains external audit firms and consultants to assist in the conduct of audits.

As the watchdog of Government spending, the OAG’s primary aim is to hold Government accountable for how it manages and spends the scarce resources at its disposal.

The Audit Act allows the Auditor General considerable discretion to decide the form and content of reports to the House of Assembly. The Auditor General’s practice is to report matters that he/she believe are significant and constitute an actual or potential for loss of public funds, lack of financial control, impairment of accountability, or non-compliance with legislative requirements. It is also his/her practice not to report errors or deficiencies that in his/her opinion have been or are being satisfactorily rectified except if they have resulted in a significant loss of public assets or if they are long-standing and he/she believes that reporting them will be instructional to other Government organizations.

The OAG reports its findings to:

  • The Department and Ministry
  • The Audit Committee per the Audit Act 1990 can make comments regarding changes to the wording in the draft Auditor General’s report, however, the Auditor General is not obligated to amend his/her reports based on their comments. The Audit Committee is also charged with reporting to the secretary to the Cabinet any concerns raised in the draft Auditor General’s report that they feel need to be brought to Cabinet’s attention. Once the Audit Committee finalizes its review of the draft report, it is finalized and readied for tabling.
  • The Public Accounts Committee under the Constitution deliberates on all the Reports of the Auditor after they have been tabled. In addition, the PAC can deliberate either in camera or in a public forum and can call any witness to attend and answer questions raised by the Committee.
  • The House of Assembly –for tabling. Once the report has been tabled it becomes a public document.


In conducting an audit of financial statements, the overall objective of the auditor is to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements as a whole are free from material misstatement, whether due to fraud or error, thereby enabling the auditor to express an opinion on whether the financial statements are prepared, in all material respects, in accordance with an applicable financial reporting framework.  In addition the  fundamental objective of our audit work is to bring about improvements in the management and conduct of government's financial activities and programs.  This can be achieved by evaluating performance and providing information on such questions as to whether -

  • internal controls are adequate
  • waste and inefficient use of public money can be eliminated;
  • programs are achieving their objectives;
  • there are other ways of accomplishing programme objectives at lower costs;
  • funds are being spent legally; and
  • the accounting and financial reporting systems are adequate.

Performing an Audit

There are five phases in the audit process.


Planning activities include obtaining a signed engagement letter, verifying compliance with independence requirements and performing other procedures to determine the nature, timing and extent of procedures to be performed in order to conduct the audit in an effective manner.

Risk Assessment

Auditors use their knowledge of the business, the industry and the environment in which the organization operates to identify and assess the risks that could lead to a material misstatement in the financial statements. Those risks often involve a
high degree of judgment and require a significant level of knowledge and experience by the auditor, particularly on large and complex engagements. This requires a good understanding of the business and its risks.

Audit Strategy and Plan

Once the risks have been assessed, auditors develop an overall audit strategy and a detailed audit plan to address the risks of material misstatement in the financial statements. Among other things, this includes designing a testing approach to various financial statement items, deciding whether and how much to rely on the organization’s internal controls, developing a detailed timetable, and allocating tasks to the audit team members. The audit strategy and plan is continually reassessed throughout the audit and adjusted to respond to new information obtained about the business and its environment.


Auditors apply professional skepticism and judgment when gathering and evaluating evidence through a combination of testing the organization’s internal controls, tracing the amounts and disclosures included in the financial statements to the organization’s supporting records and obtaining external third party documentation.  This includes testing management’s material representations and the assumptions they used in preparing their financial statements.


Auditors form an opinion on whether the financial statements are prepared, in all material respects, in accordance with the applicable financial reporting framework. This opinion takes into account:

(a)      whether sufficient appropriate audit evidence has been obtained and
(b)      whether uncorrected misstatements are material, individually or in aggregate.

What does an audit not do?

Due to inherent limitations of an audit, together with the inherent limitations of internal control, there is an unavoidable risk that some, even material, misstatements in reported information may not be detected, and the completeness and the accuracy of the information reported are not guaranteed.