Important Notice

Dear Campus Community:

The State Comptroller, Division of State Audit, is engaged in an audit of the University. The auditors have commenced their work in support of the Statewide Single audit, specifically on the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) provided in response to COVID 19.  Later, they will commence audit procedures for the Annual Financial Statements audit that is expected to be completed in January 2023. They will perform audit procedures on-site or remotely as determined to be appropriate. They are committed to following the COVID 19 safety guidelines applicable to Faculty and Staff.

Auditing standards require the state auditors maintain an independent attitude as they go about their audit process and be professionally skeptical. Because of this independent attitude they are neither an advocate nor foe of the University. To clarify how we should work and communicate with the auditors, the following guidelines are provided.

  1. The University has designated the Controller, George Ninan, as the primary liaison with the auditors. Any University staff member with questions relative to the auditors may contact George Ninan at gninan@memphis.edu.
  2. The auditors maintain and exercise the right to contact any employee they determine appropriate regarding any item or subject of their choosing. They may make this contact directly or through the primary liaison. You may ask for identification from the state auditor to confirm their identity and they will comply.
  3. By State statute, the auditors have the right to any and all records of the University on any subject. Records requested by the auditors will be provided as quickly as reasonably possible. You may ask for further clarification of what is desired if the initial request seems too broad or beyond what you think the auditor might really want. Efforts to narrow the scope of the inquiry should be in the form of, “I can provide you information/records of such and such; is this what you are interested in?” It is not appropriate to ask, “What do you want that information for?” or “Why do you need that?” If the records cannot be provided immediately, advise the auditor when you could have them available and ask if that time would be satisfactory. If you cannot easily work out a time frame for production of records that you consider reasonable, immediately contact the Controller. Also, if anyone has concerns about what the auditor is requesting, discuss your concern with the Controller as soon as possible.
  4. Discussions with auditors should be limited to audit related matters. Attempt to understand clearly and exactly what the auditor wants and provide that information. Do not presume you know what the auditor wants. Let the auditor explain their request and have them clarify if it is not clear to you. Provide all the information within the scope of the request, but do not provide additional information that is not necessary to answer the inquiry. Do not joke with the auditors; even if you are joking and the auditor thinks you are joking, some funny comments may require the auditors to perform additional work to establish that there was no ring of truth to your joke.
  5. Under no circumstances should any staff member discuss possible employment opportunities within the University with the auditors. These guidelines apply to auditors currently engaged in performing audit work as well as those not assigned to the audit or to those opportunities occurring while no audit is in progress. If any such inquiry or line of conversation is initiated by an auditor, immediately show the auditor a copy of this memorandum and of this provision. You may tell the auditor, “In accordance with this memorandum I cannot discuss this subject with you in any way.” This applies to inquiries about specific job openings as well as to more general inquiries about employment opportunities, potential openings, application processes, etc.

If any conversation is held with a State auditor of any nature about University employment, regardless of how limited, it should be immediately (same day) reported to the primary liaison identified in Item 1 above. This includes a conversation limited to the situation discussed in the previous paragraph. A written contemporaneous record of all contacts, conversations, and follow up actions regarding employment related matters should be maintained by each party involved.
State auditors will also be provided a copy of these guidelines. In order to avoid any misunderstandings, the following should be understood by all:

  1. There are no “informal,” “personal”, or “off the record” conversations with anyone at the University about potential employment. Any such conversations are expected to be reported and the University will handle as follows.
  2. All contacts or conversations about potential employment will be reported to the Division of State Audit. A minor inquiry which is cut short by following the procedures noted in the first paragraph of this item will be handled by the primary liaison advising the in-charge auditor of the contact or conversation. This notice will be provided no later than the next business day the auditors are on site; if that will be more than three working days then telephone contact will be made with the in-charge, audit manager, or audit supervisor.
  3. If the inquiry or conversation involves the in-charge, or if the contact or conversation advances beyond that of a minor contact or conversation, it will be immediately communicated by the primary liaison to Raaj Kurapati, Executive Vice President for Business and Finance and Chief Financial Officer (CFO). If the primary liaison is not immediately available (within the same working day), the contact or inquiry should be communicated to the CFO. The highest level official on site (the CFO or the Controller) will take steps to notify the audit manager, audit supervisor or director of state audit of the matter within one working day of the contact or conversation occurring.

The University cannot engage in other actions to discourage any interested individual from officially applying for any position or from being equally considered for an opening on the same basis as all other applicants are considered. State auditors must secure job opening information directly from the Department of Human Resources and must submit applications as required of all applicants. Upon receipt of any application from an individual currently employed by the Office of the State Comptroller, including the Division of the State Audit or the Division of County Audit, the Department of Human Resources will advise the CFO or the Controller of the application; one of these officials will in all cases provide the Comptroller’s Office notice of the application. The Department of Human Resources will further keep the CFO advised of changes in the application process, such as inclusion in a pool for interview. When the position is filled the CFO will be notified and advised if the auditor was selected or not. The CFO will advise the Comptroller’s Office of each status change of which the auditor applicant would be aware, such as being selected for interview, and will also notify them of the final disposition of the application.