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Audit Report Contents

Table of Contents



  • Background
  • Objectives, Scope, and Methodology
  • Statement on Auditing Standards

Audit Results

  • Findings
  • Conclusion
  • Recommendations

Auditee Response

Contents of an Audit Report


The Table of Contents lists the major headings and subordinate subheadings used in the report and the corresponding page numbers.


The Office of the Auditor General includes a one page Summary to the audit report. The Summary page is intended to meet the needs of management and other decision makers who are interested in important facts and do not necessarily have time to read an entire report. The Summary is designed to highlight the audit results in a brief and concise manner.

The one page Summary contains several modules as follows:

Purpose - presents the reasons for conducting the audit and the objectives the audit report satisfies.

Results in Brief - provides the basis of the report's main message.

Principal Findings - presents the highlights of what the auditors found.

Recommendations - presents the auditors' principal recommendations for corrective action.


The background section provides information on the audited program's purpose and authority, organizational structure, activity or function under audit, operating costs or budget and other information that are helpful to the readers in understanding the significance of the findings.

Objectives, Scope and Methodology
An audit's objectives express what the audit is to accomplish. Audit objectives declare precisely what the auditor intends to verify or is asked to review.

The scope and methodology are developed to satisfy the audit objectives. The scope defines the boundaries of the audit such as the time period and universe the audit will cover. The universe refers to locations, transactions, outputs, and individuals or entities to be covered in the audit.

Methodology provides the approach on how to accomplish the audit objectives. Audit procedures detail how data will be gathered and what types of analytical methods will be used to meet the objectives.

Statement on Auditing Standards
The Office of the Auditor General conducts audits in accordance with Government Auditing Standards to provide assurance that audit work is performed with objectivity, independence, and due professional care. This statement of conformance with Government Auditing Standards is included in all audit reports.


Findings are the heart of the results of the audit. Each finding is composed of four elements: criteria, condition, effect and cause. Auditors use these elements to construct a finding that will persuade the audited programs and other readers of the audit report that the finding is valid and the conclusions and recommendations are reasonable.

Criteria - are the standards used to determine whether a program meets or exceeds expectations. Criteria represent what should exist. It is the term auditors use to describe the standards or benchmark they apply to assess the adequacy of performance. Common source of criteria is the audited organization's established goals and objectives, policies and procedures or best practices. In government, sources of criteria are laws, legislative policy statements, and regulations.

Condition - is the situation that actually exists and documented during the audit. The condition represents actual practices that are currently performed by the audited program.

Effect - is the difference between criteria and condition and the consequences of that difference. Auditors use effect to demonstrate and convince management and the Navajo Nation Council that performance is ineffecient and ineffective. As a result, the organization is wasting money by its present practices and, therefore, management needs to take corrective action.

Cause - is the reason the "condition" deviates substantially or materially from the criteria or standard. The "cause" identifies why, for example, goals are not achieved, performance does not meet expectations, laws are not being complied with, or why policies and procedures are not followed or do not exist.

Conclusions are of two types: those that address the audit objective(s) and those that summarize the audit findings.

Recommendations represent the auditor's opinion on the actions needed to improve performance, correct the immediate cause of an identified problem and the underlying management weakness. Recommendations are to be of maximum usefulness when they are positive in nature, as specific as possible and designate who is to act on them. Auditors focus their recommendations on "what needs to be done. Deciding on "how to do it" is management's responsibility.


The Government Auditing Standards require auditors to obtain comments on the draft report from the audited programs and include the audited programs' written comments as an appendix to the audit report, if any. The response should state a general agreement of the audit results and a general plan of action to correct the findings. If the audited program disputes any portion of the audit report, the response should state the reasons.

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