What Is An Audit?


The Office of the County Auditor will achieve its goals primarily through financial and performance audits.

Financial audits look at the County’s financial statements and determine whether they comply with established accounting principles and account for the County’s assets and expenditures. Financial audits may also examine internal controls, compliance with laws and regulations, and compliance with the requirements of grants and agreements.

Section 3.12 of the Kaua‘i County Charter requires a financial audit of all County funds and accounts and at least once every two years. Other financial audits may also include special reports on certain accounts or items and auditing compliance with regulations relating to federal awards and other governmental financial assistance.

Performance audits look at government programs or functions and measure them against objective criteria or best practices. Performance audits can also be used to review programs to compare whether program goals are being met, whether services are delivered efficiently and cost-effectively, whether programs comply with the applicable laws, regulations, and policies, whether management reports are accurate, and whether the department or activity has safeguards to prevent fraud and abuse. Performance audits may also detect fraud or abuse and identify risks that may develop into future lawsuits or expenses for the County.

How Audits Are Conducted

The Office of the County Auditor presents its audit plan to the County Council for review and comment at the beginning of each fiscal year. The audit areas may be suggested by the County Council or initiated by the County Auditor based on observations, prior audits, or input from the public and others. The departments or activities are selected for the audit plan by a priority based on:

  • Amount of risk represented by the department or activity
  • Extent of savings or improvements expected
  • Indications of problems in the department or activity
  • Importance of the department or activity to the public
  • Resources available for the audit

The County Auditor prepares a plan for each audit, and the department or activity to be audited is informed of the purpose and schedule for the audit. The department or activity is requested to make information and personnel available to meet with the auditors. Under the County Charter, the Auditor can issue subpoenas to require the production of documents or employees.

The auditors conduct interviews, document reviews and other fieldwork to gather data, and analyze the data. Detailed and comprehensive fieldwork is necessary to make certain the audit is sound. The results of the analysis, including findings and recommendations, are documented in a draft audit report. Each conclusion in the draft audit report is checked to ensure it is supported by facts. The draft audit report is transmitted to the department or activity for comment. The auditors review any comments, and provide the agency with written feedback on the comments. After comments are exchanged, the audit report is finalized, and the final audit report, the agency comments, and the auditors’ responses to the comments are sent to the mayor, the county council, and the county clerk. Reports, comments, and responses are public, and will be posted on this website.