Governments have a responsibility to protect public resources and take steps to minimize losses. As a partner in accountability, an important part of our work is to equip governments with tools to help them evaluate and minimize risk, ensure accountability and prepare for audit.
Independence is paramount to our audits. While the position of State Auditor is partisan, our work is not. It must remain fair, objective and free from bias or partiality. Our independence is established by both Government Auditing Standards set by the United States Government Accountability Office and through state law.
By adhering to GAO established auditing standards, audits conducted by the State Auditor’s Office are independent, as demonstrated every three years by a required external peer review. Further, because the State Auditor is a statewide elected official, he reports directly to the citizens of Washington. The Legislature and Governor have no direct oversight of our work beyond approval of our budget and enactment of laws and policies that affect state agencies. This unique independence allows us to carry out our mission without outside interference and to represent the sole interest of the public.
Through statute established by the Washington State Legislature and more recently, by citizen initiative, the State Auditor has the statutory authority to audit every and all governments in the state. We report objectively and directly to the taxpayers about all levels of government regarding their stewardship of public funds.
Roles of auditors and management
The roles of auditors and the audit client's management differ but serve a common purpose -- ensuring accountability for public resources.