For Immediate Release - March 20, 2014

After failing three years ago, Office of State Auditor passes national review

BOSTON, MA — State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump today announced that her office has received the highest rating from the National State Auditors Association.

“Our success was the result of a decision I made to invest in accountability. It required hiring new auditors, elevating the quality assurance team, bringing in new technology, and instilling a culture committed to professionalism and integrity in government,” said Auditor Bump. “The most critical element however, was the willingness of the audit staff to embrace the challenge of achieving excellence. I am very proud to have the opportunity to lead this great organization of professionals.”

Today’s announcement comes as a result of an independent review of her office’s quality control system. In the peer review process, six professional state auditors from across the country evaluated Massachusetts’ policies, procedures, and work product from February 1, 2013 through January 31, 2014. State audit organizations can receive a rating of pass, pass with deficiencies, or fail. The Office of the State Auditor (OSA) received a rating of pass.

In its report, the review team said OSA’s quality control system, “has been suitably designed and was complied with during the period to provide the audit organization with reasonable assurance of performing and reporting in conformity with Government Auditing Standards in all material respects.”

Prior to being sworn in as State Auditor, Bump commissioned the office’s first peer review in 15 years. The 2011 report resulted in a rare failing grade and criticized the office’s audit planning, audit documentation, audit reporting, and staff competency. Since taking office, Auditor Bump has prioritized professionalizing her office to meet national standards. Actions of reform have included:

• Reorganizing the office’s structure and reassigning staff

• The development of a new audit manual and improvement of the functionality of the software used to conduct audits to ensure rigorous adherence to and documented compliance with government auditing standards  

• The launch of a new performance evaluation system to review, manage and reward staff performance throughout the entire office

• The initiation of an intensive, ongoing training curriculum that focuses on government auditing standards, and institutes mentoring and professional development requirements which exceed generally accepted standards

• The elevation of the audit quality assurance team and appointment of a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Fraud Examiner, and financial forensics specialist, to spearhead the office’s evolution

“We can’t expect the state agencies we audit or the public to respect and heed our work if we don’t operate at the highest professional levels,” said Auditor Bump. “The NSAA peer review should provide an additional measure of confidence in the work we do on behalf of taxpayers and all who rely on government services.”

Peer reviews performed through the National State Auditors Association are conducted on a three year interval. The team of professionals who conducted Massachusetts’ peer review was comprised of state auditors from Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Washington, and Tennessee. The reviews are required as part of compliance with the Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards, promulgated by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.  The OSA is required by statute to comply with these standards in conducting its audit work.

The Office of the State Auditor conducts performance and compliance audits of state government’s programs, departments, agencies, authorities, contracts, and vendors. With its reports, the OSA issues recommendations to improve accountability, efficiency, and transparency.

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For more information, visit www.mass.gov/auditor or follow Auditor Bump on Twitter @MassAuditor.