APIPA 2013 Conference Courses

Plenary Sessions

Emerging Government Auditing and Financial Management Issues

(Stephen Morgan, 4 Hours, Monday Morning)

Given the magnitude and breadth of current and anticipated budget reductions, coupled with increasing citizen demands for tighter fiscal accountability, government at all levels is permanently changing. This requires the government auditing profession to reach deep for answers that go beyond strengthening controls or improving processes. This session will focus on identifying and responding to critical emerging issues both within the auditing profession and the surrounding environment. Issues include defining auditor roles, interpreting standards for audit and non-audit services, linking appropriate and sufficient evidence to high impact audit objectives and methodologies, assessing the benefits of auditor certifications, recruiting and nurturing an interdisciplinary workforce, and understanding the impact of governance structures on auditor effectiveness. Attention will be given to the measurement based audit approach compared to one based on auditing organizational controls.


The Hunt for Fraud - The Devil’s in the Data

(David Hancox, 4 Hours, Friday Afternoon)

Finding fraud is a significant challenge to the auditing profession. Auditors need to re-examine the approach they have historically taken to their work. Auditors have to get back to basics and assure they are using up-to-date techniques to find the fraud, waste and abuse that exist in the system. Traditional audit techniques relying on examining documents are simply ineffective. Documents can be manufactured or altered with the technology that is readily available today. But, documents are also disappearing in this electronic age. Confronted with literally millions of transactions, what do we do?

Mr. Hancox defines five major challenges to the auditing profession and their cause. He also proposes a focus that will enable auditors to meet the public’s expectations for auditors and the work they do. His presentation is supported by real examples of fraud and waste and the techniques used to find it.


Audit Track

Auditors' Responsibilities to Deter and Detect Fraud

(Stephen Morgan, 12 Hours, Monday Afternoon and Tuesday)

Reengineer your internal audit process to ensure your risk and vulnerability assessment fully comprehends the role of auditors in preventing and detecting fraud within the context of organizational performance measurement and management systems. Participants conduct a risk and vulnerability assessment during the conference session which includes assessing the potential for fraud. Overall, the speaker will discuss how performance auditing incorporates an integrity element to help auditors meet stakeholder expectations and address needs such as:

  • Establishing performance measurement, management, and audit systems;
  • Creating a risk and vulnerability matrix to achieve maximum impact;
  • Integrating performance auditing with fraud prevention, detection, and investigation;
  • Emerging need for “Audi-gators” to enhance the performance auditing process.

Interviewing Techniques for Auditors

(Mark Gebicke, 12 Hours, Thursday and Friday Morning)

Sharpen your skills to obtain the information necessary for an effective audit through practice interviews. Learn the mechanics of effective interviewing techniques through lectures, discussions, and simulated interview exercises. You will witness the major steps of the interview process in a mock interview. You will also identify ways to improve your interviewing technique, identify your own style, and try out your solutions through role-playing.

After successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Plan and conduct effective audit interviews using an eight-step model
  • Conduct effective individual and team interviews
  • Manage the interpersonal dynamics that occur between us and those we audit
  • Select an appropriate note-taking technique
  • Listen more effectively during an interview
  • Use appropriate questioning and paraphrasing skills

Presentation Skills for Auditors

(Mark Gebicke, 8 Hours, Wednesday)

Acquire the knowledge and skills you need to make effective presentations with confidence. Learn how to determine the audience’s knowledge of your topic and what they need to know. In addition, learn how to organize your message and deliver it in a compelling fashion while maintaining complete control of your presentation.

After successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Define your objective and build you message
  • Utilize the correct tone and style to convey your message
  • Analyze you audience
  • Organize you key points in a logical and concise manner
  • Learn how to stick to the point and avoid rambling

Audit Supervisory Track

High Impact Audit Planning: Mapping Programs and Developing Audit Objectives

(Stephen Morgan, 12 Hours, Thursday and Friday Morning)

As soon as technically feasible in the audit project planning stage, auditors should map the program(s) potentially being audited. This course provides internal, compliance, operational, and performance auditors with tools to efficiently and logically map any program at any governmental level. Mapping the program makes transparent the relationships between a program’s inputs (resources), processes, outputs, and outcomes enabling auditors to categorize measures to demonstrate program performance levels. Also, auditors and managers can use the mapping tool to determine if the program’s design is fundamentally flawed from the perspective of cause and effect relationships between program components. If the program is flawed at this fundamental level, program goals and objectives cannot be accomplished without reengineering or redesign.


Internal Controls for Auditors – Does Anyone Really Get it?

(David Hancox, 8 Hours, Wednesday)

Guidance on internal controls is important and the seminal document Internal Control — Integrated Framework issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO) provides an excellent framework for organizations to follow. COSO just issued an updated framework in May 2013.

Unfortunately, auditors and managers often place too much emphasis on the wrong control components under the misguided premise that control activities (i.e., policies and procedures) are the most critical elements of an organization's success. This misplaced focus can cause managers to respond with strong — but wrong — preventive controls over day-to-day activities, which ultimately frustrates efforts to correct an organization's real problems. It's time to identify and implement the right controls to prevent the past practices, which have harmed major organizations involved in fraud and scandals over the years, from reoccurring.

Mr. Hancox will explore internal control concepts that can make for a high performing organization.


Skills for Leading and Managing Audit Projects

(Mark Gebicke, 12 Hours, Monday Afternoon and Tuesday)

Acquire the knowledge and skills you need to be an outstanding leader, one who can influence audit teams to boost productivity and achieve positive results. Learn concepts and techniques for managing your audits and for making the best use of your limited and valuable time. Also learn how to better communicate with your staff and other officials, and how to coach and motivate your staff.

After successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Comprehend the behavioral changes necessary to become a leader
  • Understand the skills you will need to become a leader
  • Motivate your staff
  • Better manage you scarce resources and valuable time
  • Become a confident leader by applying the management tenets of people, principles, and products
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Finance Track

Assessing Risk in Your Organization

(David Hancox, 12 Hours, Thursday and Friday Morning)

Assessing risk in organizations is critical to properly determining how resources should be allocated and what type of control systems should be put in place to mitigate those risks. This session will help you focus on issues of significance to your organization. Done right, a proper assessment of risk can help an organization assure it:

  • Complies with laws, rules and regulations
  • Manages efficiently and effectively to accomplish the organization’s mission
  • Produces reliable data
  • Safeguards program assets

As an auditor for 36 years, Mr. Hancox and his staff sought to assess risks in the organizations they audited to identify high impact issues that would:

  • Gain attention of the policy makers
  • Bring about appropriate change
  • Identify fraud, waste, abuse, inefficiency or poor program results.
  • This session will provide you with insight into appropriate ways to manage your organization and minimize the effects of future audit findings.


    How to Clean Up Your Audit: Enhancing Internal Controls over Grants

    (David Rykken, 12 Hours, Monday Afternoon and Tuesday)

    Long-standing regulations over grants establish basic requirements and expectations – however the vast majority of grant-related audit findings result from a lack of basic internal controls over the grants management process. During this session we will examine recent audit reports and findings, to identify opportunities to avoid seeing these same findings in your grants audit. From the existing version of the Federal A-133 Audit Compliance Supplement to coming changes, this course will identify the discrepancies between auditor expectations and management interpretation of requirements.


    An Organization's Responsibility in Establishing Performance Measures

    (Stephen Morgan, 8 Hours, Wednesday)

    The instructor will present a framework that pulls various auditor roles and practices into a new service model for auditors to apply to improving performance measurement and management of governmental organizations. The new auditor service model will be viewed in the context of models of effective governance, service delivery, managing for results, and organizational learning to demonstrate the value of the framework. Situational exercises will help participants understand different ways roles and practices can be used to improve performance measurement and management. The course will conclude with a self-assessment exercise in which participants determine good opportunities in their own situation for developing or improving capabilities for applying specific roles and practices.


Advanced Finance Track

Governmental Pension and Retiree Health Plans

(Michael de Leon, 12 Hours, Monday Afternoon and Tuesday)

This course provides an in-depth understanding of governmental pension and retiree health plans. Areas covered will include:

  • Plan structure and types of benefits that plans offer
  • Roles and responsibilities of those involved with these plans (trustees, administrators, employers, actuaries, consultants)
  • How the actuarial valuation is performed and how the results are used
  • Testing and documenting the actuarial assumptions during the financial audit
  • Current and future accounting standards (GASB 25/27/50, 43/45, 67/68, and preliminary views to replace 43/45)
  • Comparisons to private sector retirement benefits
  • Recent rating agency and media scrutiny of public sector retirement plans
  • Solutions that various governmental entities have tried and what’s next

The course will cause participants to consider the impact on the financial audit of each of the topics including fraud considerations and best practices and may include case studies.


Process Improvement in Finance Operations: What IS the Process?

(Jeanne Yamamura, 12 Hours, Thursday and Friday Morning)

Clearing audit findings has often meant simply adding another procedure to an existing process. The result is a bulky and most likely inefficient process. When added to the other bulky and inefficient processes, we have a distinctly non-lean government! How do we go about reducing and streamlining our processes while still maintaining strong internal controls? The first step is to identify and understand exactly what the process is. This course provides an introduction to process documentation as a first step toward understanding and then improving the process. Participants should bring a description and/or knowledge of a process from their departments. Over the 12 hour day course, participants will learn how to identify and document the steps in that process, including internal controls.


Streamlining the Grants Process: Proposed OMB Uniform Guidance

(David Rykken, 8 Hours, Wednesday)

In February 2013 the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) published a significant set of proposed reforms entitled “Proposed Uniform Guidance: Cost Principles, Audit, and Administrative Requirements for Federal Awards,” This combines the multiple Federal regulations that currently govern the way we administer grants into a single, comprehensive and streamlined uniform policy guide intended to both increase the efficiency and effectiveness of grant programs by eliminating unnecessary and duplicative requirements and strengthen the oversight of grant dollars by focusing on areas such as eligibility, monitoring of sub-recipients, adequate reporting, and other areas that are potential indices of waste, fraud or abuse. This one-day course will provide an overview of the changes encompassed in this proposed guidance.