Section 1. (d), Article VIII, State Constitution, provides for the election of certain County Officers including a Clerk of the Circuit Court. The latter part of this section specifies that, "...the Clerk of the Circuit Court shall be ex officio clerk of the Board of County Commissioners, auditor, recorder and custodian of all county funds". Section 16 Article V, State Constitution, also specifies that the Clerk shall have the duties quoted above. The Supreme Court of Florida in the case of Alachua v. Powers (351 So. 2d 32) ruled that the Clerk is to act as county auditor in all auditing functions except when the Board employs an independent certified public accountant. The Attorney General, in Opinion No. 086-38, ruled that the Clerk "...as ex officio county auditor is not authorized to perform post-audit functions on the records of other constitutional officers."
Pursuant to the legal authority and responsibility cited above, the Clerk has established the Internal Audit Department to fulfill the responsibilities of the office as they relate to auditing functions other than the preaudit of disbursements from the Board of County Commissioners funds. The preaudit function is performed by the board of County Commissioners Finance Department of the Clerk of Circuit Court's office. As Authorized by Sections 125.01(1)(x), 11.45(1)(e), and 11,45(3)(a)3., Florida Statutes, the Board retains an independent certified public accounting firm to perform an annual financial audit of its accounts and records including the accounts and records of all county officers named in Section 1. (d), Article VIII, State Constitution. The Internal Audit Department assists the external auditing firm in the completion of the annual financial audit. This assistance benefits Manatee County through reduced auditing fees paid to the external auditing firm.
Internal auditing is an independent appraisal function within the organization for the review of operations as a service to management. It is a managerial control which functions by measuring and evaluating the effectiveness of other controls. The primary purpose of the Department are to 1) assist all members of County management in the effectiveness discharge of their duties by providing an independent appraisal function to examine and evaluate management functions and 2) through its reports and memorandums, furnish analysis, appraisals, recommendations, and information on functions or activities reviewed. Fulfilling this purpose benefits officials as well as management by providing information about the adequacy and effectiveness of internal controls and the quality of performance in carrying out assigned responsibilities. Fulfilling the primary purpose of the Department also results in a secondary benefit of assisting the County's external auditors. The results of internal audits are used by external auditors to supplement their work, thereby reducing the volume of work performed by them and reducing the cost to Manatee County of the yearly financial audit.
The scope of the Department includes any operation under the direction of the Board of County Commissioners. It also includes other functions for which the Board of county Commissioners provides financial support as separate entities in its budget or of which the Board of County Commissioners is the ex-officio governing body. Other constitutional officers are excluded.
The scope of the Department's work includes, but is not limited to, the following general areas:
- Review of the reliability and integrity of financial and operating information and the means used to identify, measure, classify and report such information.
- Review the systems established to insure compliance with those policies, plans, procedures, laws and regulations which could have a significant impact on operations is in compliance.
- Review the means of safeguarding assets and, as appropriate, verify the existence of such assets.
- Investigate occurrences of alleged fraud, abuse, or illegal acts.
- Appraise the economy, efficiency, and effectiveness with which resources are employed and review management's operational internal controls.
- Review operations or programs to ascertain whether the results are consistent with established objectives and goals and whether the operations or programs are being carried out as planned.
Internal Audit Department Auditor's Responsibilities:
The authority and responsibilities for carrying out the internal auditing function for Manatee County empowers the Internal Audit Department Auditors to:
- conduct audits of county activities as they consider desirable, in consultation with the Clerk of the Circuit Court and the County Administrator.
- decide the nature and scope of such audits, based on risk analysis and input from all levels of management.
- formulate programs and methods of investigation to ensure complete and effective audit coverage and reporting.
- investigate occurrence of alleged fraud, abuse, or illegal acts
- have unrestricted access to all county properties, records and personnel relevant to the fulfillment of their audit responsibilities.
- review and appraise policies, plans, procedure, and records.
- inform and advise management.
- coordinate the department's activities with other external auditors and individuals so as to best achieve their audit objectives and the objectives and best interests of Manatee County.
The Director of Internal Audit reports directly to the Clerk of the Circuit Court. Audit Reports prepared by the Internal Audit Departments are issued through the office of the Clerk of Circuit Court to the County Administrator and the Department Head whose department is audited. Internal Audit Reports are released to the public by authorization from the County Administrator's office.
Rules of Professional Conduct:
The Code of Professional Conduct developed by the Institute of Internal Auditors is deemed an appropriate code of ethics for all members of the internal audit staff. Among other obligations, these standards obligate members of the Internal Audit Departments to:
- exercise honesty, objectivity, and diligence in the performance of their duties and responsibilities.
- not knowingly being a party to any illegal or improper activity.
- refrain from entering into any activity which may be in conflict with the interest of the county or which would prejudice their ability to objectively carry out their duties and responsibilities.
- refrain from accepting fees or gifts without the prior approval of the Clerk of the Circuit Court.
- be prudent in the use of information acquired in the course of their duties and not use confidential information for any personal gain or in a manner which knowingly would be detrimental to the welfare of Manatee County.
- use reasonable care to obtain sufficient, factual evidence to support the conclusions drawn and, in reporting, reveal such material facts that could distort the report of the results of operations under review or conceal an unlawful practice.
The professional standards of the Internal Audit Department will be those adopted and published by the Institute of Internal Auditors, titled "STANDARDS FOR THE PRACTICE OF INTERNAL AUDITING" and the "GOVERNMENT AUDITING STANDARDS" issued by the United States General Accounting Office by the Comptroller General of the United States. In conformance with these standards,:
- sufficient work papers will be prepared and maintained by the Internal Audit Department to substantiate work performed, findings reported, and recommendations made.
- quality control of internal audits will be maintained through work paper review, a formal internal quality control review program, and external peer reviews performed by independent auditors.
- continuing professional education for internal audit staff will be maintained to meet stringent requirements set by the standards.
- professional proficiency will be maintained to assure audit tasks are carried out with professional proficiency and due professional care.
The effective date of this Internal Audit Department is December 11, 1990 as approved by R. B. Shore and the Board of County Commissioners. ( Original includes signatures on document.)