Audits can feel overwhelming, but charter leaders can get great resources to help. One such resource is free to download: The Charter School Audits Guide Preparing Your School for the Annual Audit. This guide can serve to keep schools on track for a less stressful auditing experience. It outlines a way to prepare a little each month to help simplify the process.

Here’s a breakdown of audit preparation by month:

2023 January Audits Blog Image with chart

As seen in the chart above, month one is dedicated to the fiscal audit overall. That’s because month one is when schools have just completed the previous year’s audit, so first steps are about how to move forward from there.

In month one, you’ll want to: 

  1. Review your previous audit with your auditor. Your audit review is a great opportunity to discuss ways you can improve your school with the auditor. Look over your financial statements together and be sure to take notes. 

  2. Review feedback with your audit committee. Take the auditor’s advice and comments back to your audit committee. Discuss the good, the bad, and the ugly. 
  3. Present the auditor’s findings to your governing board. Go over the auditor’s findings and answer any questions from the board members. Tip: After presenting, ensure you get a copy of the minutes so you can reference them when necessary. 

  4. Submit your audit to your authorizer. Be transparent with your authorizer, but also let them know that you and your colleagues are working on any improvements based on the feedback you received during the audit process. 

  5. Prepare your audit message. Reflecting on these conversations, prepare your audit message for a wider audience. You’ll want to make sure your message is clear, detailed, and anticipates the questions your audience might have. 
  6. Post your audit and audit report. Make your audit message into a web post for visibility in your community.

It’s understandable to feel daunted by the need to address compliance and other issues while focused on the day-to-day aspects of growing a school—by breaking things down month-by-month, a school can be ready when the time comes. To take a deeper dive into this plan, download The Charter School Audits Guide Preparing Your School for the Annual Audit, a free guide for charter leaders.

What do you find especially challenging during your audits? What else would you add to the audit guide? Let us know in the comments.

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