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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Cost-Saving Ideas: School District Auditing - Roles, Responsibilities and Resources

As a member of a board of education (board), you’re responsible for ensuring the school budget is well managed and operations are cost effective. Auditing provides your board the best opportunity for improving fiscal management and protecting taxpayer dollars through expert and independent review.

Use this reference guide to familiarize yourself with the different roles and responsibilities in the audit process.


Understanding the different roles

Each of the four types of audit functions are separate and distinct, and it’s important to understand the intended protection each is meant to provide. Select the name to learn about qualifications and requirements for each role.

  • External Auditor – Audits financial statements to render an opinion on whether they adhere to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).
  • Internal Auditor – Performs risk assessments and helps the board in developing internal controls to reduce financial risk.
  • Claims Auditor/Deputy Claims Auditor – Ensures that all expenditure vouchers are properly itemized and documented before payments are made by the treasurer.
  • Audit Committee – Assists the board with matters related to both internal and external audits, including input on the hiring of internal and external auditors and reviewing reports and recommendations.

Avoiding conflict of interest

By law, you can’t hire or appoint immediate or close family members of a school board member, school district (district) employee or contractor. This includes a:

  • parent
  • sibling
  • non-dependent child
  • spouse (or spouse equivalent)
  • dependent (related or not)

In addition, you must use good judgment by not appointing other relatives, such as in-laws, or family members of individuals with the responsibility of business operations or contracts (other than employment contracts) with the district, to auditing positions.


Drafting a request for proposal (RFP)

To fulfill the position of external auditor, you must use a request for proposal (RFP), which is a detailed document that contains a description of the services requested and information about the district. The RFP should:

  • outline the scope of the audit, including which financial statements will be audited and the applicable time period to be audited;
  • specify the expectations for entrance/exit conferences, work products and reports;
  • stipulate contract terms and conditions; and
  • specify information the firm must include in the proposal.

Use the RFP template below and modify it to suit your district’s needs.

"Sample Request for Proposals (RFP) for External Auditor," - State Education Department


For more information

You may contact the regional office that serves your area or email questions to Local Government and School Accountability.

Updated 2016

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