How do we decide what to audit?

The Multnomah County Auditor's Office uses a risk matrix to determine which areas may need our attention. Anyone who works or lives in Multnomah County can share audit ideas with us and we will run this through the risk matrix. The matrix asks questions about each program, such as: 

  • What is the annual budget?
  • How many employees do they have?
  • Does the program enable other County programs to function?
  • Have there been any significant changes?
  • How many vulnerable or under-served people depend on the program for basic needs?
  • Does the public care about this program?
  • What is the life and safety impact if program does not meet its mission?
  • Is there external oversight other than the Auditor's Office? 
  • What is the program's score on the ethics survey that our office conducts every other year?

Based on the answers to these questions, we create a risk score. This information is evaluated by the County Auditor, who then creates an annual audit schedule. 

Why do we conduct performance audits?

We conduct performance audits to help ensure that county government is effective, equitable, transparent, and accountable. Our audits result in recommendations intended to improve government. 

What is a performance audit?

In a performance audit, we examine a program or service and make recommendations for improvement. Performance audits are similar to evaluations. The goal is to improve county programs.

When we examine a program, we do the following types of work:

  • Interview managers, employees, community partners, clients, and other stakeholders
  • Research laws, regulations, and best practices
  • Gather and analyze data
  • Observe programs in action
  • Make recommendations for improvement

How do we conduct performance audits?

The County Charter states that all of our audits must comply with the Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards that the U.S. Government Accountability Office maintains. We set an audit schedule each year, and each performance audit follows three basic phases:

  • Planning: We gain a basic understanding of how the program works and determine what exactly we will focus on in the audit.
  • Fieldwork: We conduct focused interviews, information gathering, and analysis to achieve the objectives we developed through the planning phase.  
  • Reporting: We we write our report and take steps, internally and in collaboration with the program under audit, to verify accuracy.  All of our reports are available to the public.