POL-U5320.13 Coordinating Financial Statement and Accountability Audits and Responding to Audit Issues

Dates and Approval

Effective Date:

November 6, 2006

Revised Date:

August 1, 2023

Approval Date:

August 1, 2023

Approved by:

President Sabah Randhawa

Who does this policy apply to?

This policy applies to all University employees whose participation is required to coordinate and effectively respond to financial statement and accountability audits mandated by the State Auditor’s Office under RCW 43.09.


This policy governs the engagement of external auditors and provides guidance for:

  • University personnel whose areas are included in the audits, and
  • Ensuring responses to external audit findings or conclusions are properly implemented in a timely manner.


Accountability Audit

Assesses whether public fuds and assets are protected and accounted for, and governments are following laws, regulations, and their own policies. 

Financial Audit

Provides an independent audit opinion on whether the University’s financial reports are accurate and complete.


Findings are included in the audit reports and are considered significant weaknesses in internal controls, misappropriation, and material abuse or non-compliance with laws, regulations, GAAP, contracts or grant agreements.

Management Letters

Letters to management that communicate control deficiencies, non-compliance, misappropriation, abuse or errors with a less- than-material effect on audit objectives. Management letters are referenced, but not included in the audit reports.

Exit items

Additional control deficiencies, non-compliance, abuse, or errors that have an insignificant effect on the audit objectives. These issues are verbally communicated to management and are not referenced in the audit report.

Policy Statements

1. Controller/Director of Financial Services is Responsible for Facilitating Audits

The Board of Trustees (BOT) Financial Audit, and Enterprise Risk Management (FARM) Committee approves which external audit services, including the State Auditor's Office, will be procured for the Financial Statement Audit. The Accountability Audit must be conducted by the State Auditors Office.

The Controller/Director of Financial Services (DFS) under the purview of the Vice President and Financial Affairs (VP for BFA) is responsible for coordinating the external auditor contract, the initial onboarding the auditors, and facilitating the University response for the audits. 

2. Entrance Interviews are Required

An entrance interview is the opening meeting between key personnel and the external auditors to:

  1. Discuss the audit's scope, objectives and engagements protocol, and
  2. Share operational changes that occurred during the audit period.

Two entrance interviews are required for financial audits, one at the department level and one at the BOT/FARM Committee level. The Controller/DFS will determine who needs to be informed of any accountability audits to be performed.

Department level entrance interviews are coordinated by the Controller/DFS and will include the following, at a minimum:

  1. External auditors,
  2. Appropriate department personnel,
  3. Director or department head and/or dean,
  4. Associate Vice President for Business and Financial Services (AVP for FBS)/Internal Control Officer (ICO),
  5. Executive Director of Audit and Consulting Services (ACS),
  6. Controller/DFS, and
  7. Assistant Director of Accounting Services. 

BOT/FARM Committee entrance interviews are coordinated by the VP for BFA and will include the following, at a minimum, the:

  1. External Auditors,
  2. BOT/FARM Committee,
  3. University President,
  4. VP for BFA,
  5. AVP for FBS/ICO,
  6. Controller/DFS,
  7. Executive Director of ACS, and
  8. Assistant Director of Accounting Services.

3. Auditors and Management to Meet Regarding Audit Concerns at Time of Discovery

The external auditors will meet with the Controller/DFS during the audit and time of discovery if there is a concern needing immediate attention rather than waiting for the conclusion of the audit.

The auditors will also meet with the VP for BFA, AVP for FBS/ICO, Executive Director of ACS, University President, and/or BOT FARM Committee if necessary, depending on the issue.

4. Preliminary Exit Interview is Required

The preliminary exit interview is coordinated by the Controller/DFS. The purpose of an interview is to review and discuss draft documents for management letters or audit findings prepared by the auditors which will be brought forward to the BOT FARM Committee during the official exit interview. This review provides the opportunity to suggest corrections to misstatements or edits to provide clarification.

The following personnel are to participate, at minimum, in the preliminary exit interview with the external auditors:

  1. VP for BFA,
  2. AVP for FBS/Internal Controls Officer,
  3. Controller/DFS,
  4. Executive Director of ACS, and
  5. Assistant Director for Accounting Services.

Additional participants may include the Vice President of any area with management letter items or findings, and personnel directly responsible for financial oversight in the audits of sub entities within the University.

If required to provide an official response to management letters and/or findings, the VP for BFA will coordinate the response prior to the exit interview with the BOT FARM.

5. Department Exit Interviews are Required

An exit interview is a meeting at the conclusion of a financial statement or accountability audit to discuss the overall outcome of the audit, findings, and exit items identified, and to review the auditor’s recommendations. The Controller/DFS is responsible for coordinating department exit interviews.

When there are no management letter items or findings, the department exit interview will include:

  1. Appropriate department personnel,
  2. Director or department head and/or dean,
  3. Associate Vice President of FBS/ICO,
  4. Controller/DFS,
  5. Executive Director of ACS, and
  6. Assistant Director of Accounting Services

When there are management letter items and/or audit findings, the department exit interview should include the individuals listed above plus the following:

  1. If it is an academic department, the Provost/Executive Vice President, and the Dean of the College.
  2. If it is an administrative department, the Vice President over the department.

6. Exit Interview with Board of Trustees FARM Committee is Required

A final exit interview is required with BOT FARM and is arranged by the VP for BFA and will include:

  1. External auditors,
  2. Board of Trustees FARM Committee,
  3. University President,
  4. VP for BFA,
  5. AVP for FBS/ICO,
  6. Controller/DFS,
  7. Assistant Director of Accounting Services, and
  8. Executive Director of ACS.

Policy Information


Display policy history


  • POL-U5320.14 Coordinating Exit Interviews for Financial Audits
  • POL-U5320.15 Coordinating Entrance Interviews for Financial Audits

See Also:

Display procedures, standards, and forms


  • POL-U5320.14 Coordinating Exit Interviews for Financial Audits
  • POL-U5320.15 Coordinating Entrance Interviews for Financial Audits

See Also