The Audit process

The Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) conducts financial and performance audits as required by Section 13 of the Audit Act 1994 (the Act).

How is an audit conducted?

  Button links to the webpage page about financial auditing   Image of button that links to a page regarding performance auditing

More information on how audits are conducted can be found in our Audit Practice Statement, our Performance Audit Practice Statement .

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What is audit evidence?

For financial audits, audit evidence includes information from accounting records used to prepare the report and other relevant information. Accounting records generally include data from accounting entries and supporting documents. These include cheques and details of electronic fund transfers, invoices, contracts, general and subsidiary ledgers, and journal entries. Work sheets and spreadsheets supporting cost allocations, computations, reconciliations and disclosures are also examples.

For performance audits, audit evidence gathered is usually broader than that obtained for the audit of a financial report. Some examples include strategic plans, tender documents, business cases, Cabinet submissions, consultant’s reports, legal opinions and contracts with private providers. These documents can be accessed even if they are in draft form or subject to privacy restrictions.

However, persuasive audit evidence must have the same characteristics whether it is obtained as part of a financial or performance audit. That is, the evidence must be sufficient and appropriate. Audit evidence is cumulative and is also gathered to corroborate management representations.

More information can be found in our Audit Evidence Brochure.

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What powers does the Auditor-General have to obtain audit evidence?

The Auditor-General has broad powers under the Act to access information necessary to perform audits. Under Section 12 of the Act, the Auditor-General or an authorised representative can access information that is otherwise subject to secrecy or other disclosure restrictions, such as Cabinet documents.

If there is lack of cooperation by someone representing an entity subject to audit, under Section 11 of the Act, the Auditor-General can compel individuals to provide documents or be examined upon oath and the Auditor-General or delegate can cause a search to be made for any documents in the possession, custody or control of any authority.

There are procedural fairness controls surrounding the use of Section 11 of the Act. For instance, if a person is to be examined on oath, a notice under Section 11 must state the nature of the matters about which the person is to be examined. The person is entitled to legal representation, and if the person is under the age of 18, has a mental impairment or insufficient knowledge of English to understand the questions, there are steps that the Auditor-General must take to support the individual.

The Auditor-General rarely uses the powers governed by Section 11 as authorities usually cooperate with requests for information.

More information about section 11 of the Act.

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Last updated on 19/09/2016