About The Office of The Auditor General
Although initially created in 1836 as an elected office, the Auditor General is now appointed by a majority vote of the legislative members to serve an eight year term, as prescribed by the Michigan Constitution of 1963. The Constitution and other statutes provide the Auditor General with the authority to conduct post financial and performance audits of all branches, departments, offices, boards, authorities, and other institutions. The OAG fulfills these mandates by directly conducting or contracting for audits executed in accordance with professional accounting and auditing standards. The resulting reports are public documents.
Our mission is to improve the accountability for public funds and to improve State government operations for the benefit of Michigan’s citizens. We best accomplish our mission by adhering to the professional standards of the auditing profession; and by promoting an atmosphere of independence, objectivity, and transparency among OAG staff and the people we serve.
The Constitution of Michigan mandates the Auditor General to conduct post financial and performance audits of State government operations in Article IV, Section 53. This responsibility is further reflected in Section 13.101 of the Michigan Compiled Laws. Additionally, certain sections of Michigan law contain specific audit requirements in conformance with the constitutional mandate.
Government officials and employees are accountable to the citizens of the State of Michigan for the proper handling of public funds and are responsible for managing State resources effectively, efficiently, and economically. OAG audit reports provide a continuing flow of information to assist the Legislature in its oversight of approximately 100 individual State funds and an annual budget of over $55 billion. OAG audit reports also provide citizens with a measure of accountability and assist department administrators by providing an independent and objective evaluation of their operations. The OAG’s overall goal is to improve accounting and financial reporting practices and promote effectiveness, efficiency, and economy in State government.
We perform audit activities in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and Government Auditing Standards issued by the Comptroller General of the United States.
The OAG is under the direction and control of the Auditor General, Doug A. Ringler. Mr. Ringler is the principal executive and has ultimate responsibility for OAG policies and practices. He was appointed in June 2014.
The Auditor General appointed Laura J. Hirst as Deputy Auditor General in August 2014. Ms. Hirst also serves as the Director of Audit Operations and acts as the Auditor General’s principal aide in carrying out the management responsibilities and audit activities of the OAG.
The OAG is organizationally divided into five areas of responsibility:
The Bureau of Audit Operations is responsible for conducting post financial and performance audits of the State of Michigan’s executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government, including its universities and community colleges. The Bureau also has a specialized data extraction and analysis team, performs specific reviews in response to legislative requests, and participates in joint National State Auditors Association audits with other states’ audit agencies.
The Office of Professional Practice is responsible for performing quality assurance reviews of audit reports and working papers, editing audit reports, and conducting accounting and auditing research.
The Office of Information Technology is responsible for managing the OAG network, information systems, and data security and providing software assistance and computer support and training to all OAG staff.
The Office of Administration is responsible for human resource management, accounting and budgeting, audit report production, and office wide printing, purchasing, and clerical support.
The Fraud Investigative Services Team is responsible for investigative audit work related to allegations of fraud, waste, or abuse involving State positions or taxpayer dollars. The Team advises OAG staff and collaborates with the legal community on fraud-related concerns.
As of September 30, 2021, the Office of the Auditor General had 154 employees, comprised of audit, IT, administration, and support service professionals.
OAG Contact With the Legislature
The audit report is the formal written contact that the OAG has with the Legislature. Upon request the OAG provides legislative briefings to key members of oversight and appropriations committees and other members of the Legislature who have expressed a particular interest in specific topics or audit reports. Periodically, the briefings result in OAG staff testifying at related hearings. Also, the Auditor General or his designee testifies on audit-related activities, as requested by the Legislature.
Furthermore, the OAG employs a State Relations Officer, whose primary responsibility is to enhance communication and effective relationships with the Legislature, the legislative leadership, and the Executive Office. The State Relations Officer also facilitates communication with the legislative fiscal agencies, the judicial branch, State departments, and universities and community colleges.