Audits include review and analysis of processes, documentation, and data. Audit findings and recommendations must be supported by the collection of adequate evidence. Legislative Audit Bureau reports typically contain reviews of financial transactions, analyses of agency performance or public policy issues, conclusions regarding the causes of problems found, and recommendations for improvement.
Bureau reports are submitted to the Joint Legislative Audit Committee and made available to other committees of the Legislature and to the public. However, state law requires the Bureau’s work to remain confidential prior to publication. The Committee may arrange public hearings on the issues identified in a report and may introduce legislation in response to the audit recommendations. However, the findings, conclusions, and recommendations in the report are those of the Bureau.
Bureau reports are typically characterized as financial audits, performance evaluations, investigations, and best practices reviews. Any one audit report may include multiple components. Each report is assigned a number that begins with the last two digits of the year of publication.
Information from a Bureau report is published in multiple forms. Each report is accompanied by a briefing sheet, which describes the background of the audited program or agency, key audit findings, and key recommendations in a one-page format. The briefing sheet is also a navigation tool that links key findings and recommendations directly to specific tables, figures, or sections of the report. Many reports include a highlights, which functions as an executive summary and provides more detail than that which appears in the briefing sheet. When a highlights is prepared, it is also read as a podcast, which is available as an audio file for convenient playback on demand. Mobile-friendly versions of the briefing sheets and highlights are also available.
Financial audits may provide an opinion on whether an entity’s financial statements present a fair view of its financial activity or may determine whether public funds have been spent only for the purposes for which they were intended. Financial audits may also analyze whether auditees have adequate control mechanisms in place in order to reduce the likelihood of errors or fraud. In addition, a financial audit may assess compliance with financial reporting and other laws and regulations.
Performance evaluations determine whether an auditee or program is achieving objectives set forth by the Legislature. A performance evaluation may also address whether an auditee or program is effective and whether it is operated efficiently and in compliance with applicable laws and policies.
Investigations are conducted in response to reports made to the Fraud, Waste, and Mismanagement Hotline. The Bureau investigates allegations of fraud and other improper acts by state agencies, employees, and contractors. Callers may remain anonymous, and state law requires the protection of their identities even when other information related to calls is made public.
Best practices reviews identify local government practices that may save public funds or provide more effective delivery of government services. Report topics are selected with the assistance of an advisory council whose members represent counties, cities, villages, and towns.
You may automatically receive links to reports through our email notification service, which will send you an email notice when each new report is released. To request notification of the release of a specific report, email us at AskLAB@legis.wisconsin.gov. Audit reports issued since August 1998 are available online. Summaries of audit reports issued in 1997 and 1998 are also available online. To request a paper copy, please contact us by email or at (608) 266-2818.