Department of Legislative Services Maryland General Assembly
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Thomas J. Barnickel III, CPA, Legislative Auditor
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EMPLOYMENT FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

Frequently Asked Questions

About Employment with the Office of Legislative Audits

 

What is the Office of Legislative Audits?

What does the Office of Legislative Audits do?

What is a fiscal compliance audit?

What is a performance audit?

Will I have the opportunity to work on different types of audits?

Who does OLA audit?

What industries will I be exposed to?

As an OLA staff member, will I specialize in a certain area?

How long does an audit last?

What is the size of a typical audit team?

Will I work with the same audit team on every audit?

What is a typical day like?

What can I expect during my first week?

What can I expect on my first audit?

Where will I be working?

Will I be traveling?

Will I be required to work a lot of overtime?

How and when will I get performance feedback?

Do you support professional certifications?

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What is the Office of Legislative Audits (OLA)?

The Office of Legislative Audits (OLA) is a unit within the Maryland General Assembly’s Department of Legislative Services and reports to the Joint Audit Committee.  The committee is established by State statute and consists of 20 General Assembly members. Ten members are appointed from the Senate by the Senate President and ten other members are appointed from the House of Delegates by the Speaker of the House.

OLA is an independent and non-partisan agency that provides audit services to assist the General Assembly in its oversight responsibilities.  OLA is directed by the Legislative Auditor and is staffed by approximately 110 auditors, many of whom are certified public accountants.  OLA has three field audit divisions: Fiscal Compliance, Performance and Information Systems.


What does the Office of Legislative Audits do?

By law, OLA is required to conduct a fiscal compliance audit of each Executive and Judicial Branch agency of State government every three to four years.  OLA may also conduct performance audits at its discretion or as requested by the Joint Audit Committee or the Executive Director of the Department of Legislative Services.

What is a fiscal compliance audit?

A fiscal compliance audit is designed to evaluate an agency’s operations and internal controls and determine whether the agency complied with applicable laws and regulations.  These audits are conducted by the Fiscal Compliance Audit Division and primarily focus on fiscal operations, information systems (with the assistance of the Information Systems Audit Division), and programs with financial impact on the State.

What is a performance audit?

A performance audit is designed to evaluate whether an agency or program is operating in an economic, efficient, and effective manner or to determine whether desired program results have been achieved. These audits are conducted by the Performance Audit Division at OLA’s discretion or as requested by the Joint Audit Committee or the Executive Director of the Department of Legislative Services. OLA is also required to conduct a performance audit of each of the 24 local school systems in the State to assess its financial management practices at 6 year intervals, unless there is an exemption as provided for by law. The next audit for those systems that have received an exemption will occur 12 years from their last audit. Finally, OLA is authorized to conduct audits of state agency performance measures to assess the reliability of the measurement data reported in State agency budget submissions.

Will I have the opportunity to work on different types of audits?

Yes.  You'll work on different types of audits such as fiscal compliance audits and performance audits.

Who does OLA audit?

OLA is required by law to conduct a fiscal compliance audit of each agency in the Executive and Judicial branches of State government. These audits are conducted at an interval ranging from three to four years, unless the Legislative Auditor determines, on a case-by-case basis, that more frequent audits are required.

What industries will I be exposed to?

OLA's auditors are exposed to a wide variety of government sectors which encompass many diverse industries such as health care, transportation, education, agriculture, insurance, law enforcement, investments and finance just to name a few.

As an OLA staff member, will I specialize in a certain area?

At OLA, we like our staff to obtain broad experience in a variety of audit areas.  We value a fresh perspective on our audits and encourage our staff to get experience working on different types of audits in different sectors of government.

How long does an audit last?

The length of an audit varies depending on an agency’s complexity and size, and the audit scope. Some audits are completed within a matter of weeks, while other audits could take six months or more.

What is the size of a typical audit team?

This varies depending on the audit.  Generally, the audit is managed on a day-to-day basis by a senior auditor who supervises approximately one to five staff auditors. The senior auditor reports to an audit manager who makes periodic visits to the audit site.

Will I work with the same audit team on every audit?

No.  You generally work with different auditors on each audit and have the opportunity to share knowledge and experiences with more than 110 coworkers.

What is a typical day like?

There are no "typical" days for OLA auditors.  One day you might be interviewing agency personnel and assessing controls over the agency’s operations.  Another day you could be collecting and analyzing audit evidence using computer assisted auditing techniques. You could even be assigned to investigate a tip received from our fraud hotline. Every assignment at OLA offers new experiences, new challenges, and new learning opportunities.

What can I expect during my first week?

Employees spend their first week in our office getting to know some of the OLA staff and participating in our orientation program and new employee training classes.

What can I expect on my first audit?

For your first audit, you'll be participating in a structured on-the-job training program.  You'll be part of an audit team performing actual audit work and making meaningful contributions to the audit while receiving hands-on training under the close guidance and supervision of an experienced auditor.

Where will I be working?

Audit assignments are primarily in the Baltimore, Annapolis and College Park areas. 

Will I be traveling?

Yes.  All of our audits are conducted on-site at the offices of the agency under audit.  These agencies are located throughout the State of Maryland.  The auditors commute to most audit sites on a daily basis, but approximately 10% of their time may be spent on overnight audits.

Will I be required to work a lot of overtime?

Our work load is evenly distributed throughout the year.  As a result, our auditors can typically manage their workloads by working a standard 40-hour work week.

How and when will I get performance feedback?

On-the-job progress is assessed on a continuous basis and employees are given feedback on their performance.  Auditors receive a formal written performance evaluation after each audit.  These evaluations are prepared by the auditor's immediate supervisor.  Auditors also participate in annual progress meetings with management staff to discuss their overall performance for the year and their professional development goals for the upcoming year.

Do you support professional certifications?

Yes.  Many of OLA’s staff members hold professional certifications such as the CPA, CISA, and CFE.  We have numerous programs in place to support your efforts towards professional certification and encourage other professional development opportunities as well. 

 

 

 
 

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