How We Serve the Citizens

Many people are unaware of the role of auditors within a government.  We are often asked, "What do auditors do?"   The simple answer is....

 Auditors help add to the transparency and accountability of an organization, its leaders and its employees. 

We provide objective evaluation of processes, programs and events in order to provide assurance that an organization is effective and efficient.  When we identify the potential for increased efficiency, fewer mistakes or fraud deterrence, we make practical recommendations for improvement.  Auditors specialize in various disciplines, but often have a background in accounting, finance, information technology, management or business.  Within the Office of the County Auditor, auditors are certified in public accounting, governmental auditing, internal auditing, information systems and fraud examination. See the About Us page for more details.

Harford County, like most local governments, is subject to an annual financial statement audit that is performed by an external audit firm.  The external auditor expresses an opinion on whether the County's financial statements are free from material misstatement. They assess the County's financial statements, taken as a whole, at the end of each fiscal year.  Financial Statements and financial statement audits are important matters of compliance and their results are key components in maintaining the County's credit rating and providing transparency for the County's stakeholders.

Harford County also has a County Auditor that functions as an internal auditor.  Internal auditors are employees of the organization and generally report to an independent group such as an audit committee or an elected body.  In contrast, to external auditors, internal auditors generally focus on auditing one program or business process at a time and review each process in great detail.  This more detailed review allows internal auditors to gather a more thorough knowledge of the organization, its strengths and its vulnerabilities.   Internal auditors should have unrestricted access to records so that they can identify trends, errors and/or fraud that may have a financial impact on the government, its vendors or its customers.  The knowledge and detailed work of internal auditors often helps external auditors make a more informed assessment of the financial statements.

The Harford County Office of the County Auditor prepares a risk based annual audit plan that identifies the projects we have planned for the upcoming year.  In addition to audits, we also prepare fiscal analysis of legislation that is presented to the County Council and perform research on matters affecting the County.

Please see the links below to learn more about how local governments benefit from internal audits.
  The Role of Auditing in Public Sector Governance  Written by Association of Local Government Auditors together with the Institute of Internal Auditors  

This practice guide presents information on the importance of the public sector audit activity to effective governance and defines the key elements needed to maximize the value the public sector audit activity provides to all levels of government.

Why Your Organization Should have an Independent Performance Audit Function

A brief introduction to performance auditing to answer questions that local government officials frequently ask about establishing an independent performance audit function.