Specialty Teams Imagine scenario one...you are graduating from college with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and on your big graduation day, your uncle asks "what's next on the horizon? Are you going to put that degree to good use? Where have you looked for a job?". Imagine scenario two...you are an employee at a dead end job where coming into work is a miserable experience. And to add fuel to the fire, you perform tasks that you do not enjoy and nobody listens to your ideas. This sounds all too familiar in today's working world. Guess what!? APA has the solution to these concerns.

The APA is structured into specialty teams which allows current and future employees to effectively and efficiently use their specific skills to enhance and promote the agency’s mission. The diversity of skill sets in the agency creates cross-training synergies that are highly valuable and rarely found in many places of employment. Here at APA, we pride ourselves on hiring diverse individuals with backgrounds ranging from Economics, Accounting, IT, and Business Management just to name a few.

Please click on each of the Specialty Teams to read about them and see which team best fits your skill and the team that most interests you.

Acquisitions and Contract Management

Our team supports prudent contract administration within the Commonwealth by providing those responsible for procurement and contract administration with analysis of financial information and best practices related to contractual services. We review and analyze the effectiveness, efficiency, and economy of various contractual services. Our team takes special interest in monitoring and evaluating long-term contracts such as the Commonwealth Infrastructure Partnership between the Virginia Information Technologies Agency and Northrop Grumman.

Our team seeks to train and develop experienced procurement and contracting experts through both internal and external sources. Team training begins with the Virginia Contracting Officer Program, which provides all team members with a basic working knowledge of Commonwealth procurement law and regulations. The team places additional emphasis on the development of its team members’ ability to research and identify best practices in various contracting environments and in project management. Team members are also encouraged to become Certified Public Accountants.

Budget and Legislative Monitoring

The Budget and Legislative Monitoring Team focuses on the Commonwealth’s budget and legislative issues that impact our audits. Team members provide analysis and information to our audit staff to help them understand budget and public policy issues and how to consider these on their financial audits. We do this through attending legislative meetings, reviewing and evaluating legislation, and monitoring the Commonwealth’s budget processes throughout the year. Team members receive training and on the job experience in governmental budgeting and legislative processes and use this knowledge to help our office better identify risks and financial management issues on our projects.

Our team consists of individuals with varying backgrounds, including accounting, public policy, and public administration. Team members participate in various types of audits within the office, while also obtaining knowledge and experience around the Commonwealth’s budgetary and legislative processes. Our team provides the unique opportunity to gain an understanding of the Commonwealth’s governing processes which are relevant to any audit in our office. By combining this specialized knowledge with the auditing and financial reporting skills you will gain at APA, you will be ready to recognize the financial implications of public policy actions and add value to our audits!

Capital Asset Management

The Capital Asset Management Specialty Team’s main objective is to ensure the proper management, control, and valuation of:

  • • capital assets
  • • infrastructure
  • • depreciation
  • • preventive, corrective, and deferred maintenance
  • • leases and installment purchases
  • • historic treasures

Our team bases its work on a life-cycle approach to capital asset management and accomplishes our objectives through both financial and performance audits. We audit the financial recording and reporting of Virginia’s $36.3 billion in capital assets reported in the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. This work focuses on the acquisition, capitalization, depreciation, and disposal of assets. The majority of this work occurs at the Department of Transportation on the highway infrastructure and across the Commonwealth at agencies and institutions of higher education for building construction projects.

In our performance audits, we look for opportunities in state government to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of processes related to capital assets. Our team reviews areas such as fleet management, deferred maintenance, energy performance contracts, and capital outlay. We then research industry best practices and compare them to current practices and recommend ways to bring the Commonwealth’s practices into alignment with best practices, which results in increased efficiency and improved effectiveness.

Our team members enjoy some unique opportunities due to the nature of our audits. While observing assets, team members have seen powerful microscopes, medical equipment as large as an entire room, and machines that measure brain activity. Team members see completed construction projects before the public, including the times our members toured John Paul Jones Arena at the University of Virginia and the Virginia Tech Alumni Conference Center before their grand openings. To enable the team to accomplish its objective, team members receive training in all specialty areas. The team seeks to have every member become a Certified Construction Contracting Officer. In addition, team members receive training on the Commonwealth’s fixed asset and lease systems and in the areas of accounting and financial reporting for capital assets.

Data Analysis

Are you a go-to person who can quickly gain an understanding of complex data and provide valuable information to a team? Are you interested in turning millions of records of raw data into an insightful analysis? Can you find the needle in the haystack?

As the Data Analysis team, we retrieve data from clients’ systems and perform procedures to help the office draw conclusions to meet audit objectives. We provide valuable insight and analytics to increase the productivity and efficiency of our audits. We look for anomalies and fraud throughout all of Virginia’s State Agencies. The more we can draw conclusions from data already provided, the less the auditors must go out into the field and perform manual audit procedures. We proactively seek out and find new ways to obtain, store, and analyze data from all types of systems. The Data Analysis team remains ahead of the auditing curve!

Strategic Risk and Project Management

The Strategic Risk and Project Management Team (SRPM) focuses on three main areas:

  • Workplan Development and Analysis: Due to new accounting standards, regulations, and legislation, the number of mandatory hours in the Office’s work plan has steadily increased each year. Mandatory hours represent the audits completed annually in support of the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the Single Audit of federal funds, and required special projects. Our team is responsible for monitoring the annual work plan to ensure the Office can effectively meet these requirements.
  • Cycled Agency Risk Assessment: Our team also evaluates risk at approximately 85 Commonwealth agencies who do not have an annual audit requirement. We refer to these as “cycled agencies”. Our risk assessment over cycled agencies turns data on the Commonwealth’s current and emerging risks into useful information that helps the Office focus its resources on the cycled agencies and areas that need the most attention. We are constantly expanding our knowledge of risks to these agencies through collaboration with other specialty teams and agencies across the Commonwealth.
  • IT Project Management: Using a risk-based approach primarily driven by project budget and complexity, our team selects IT projects being implemented in the Commonwealth and follows them throughout their entire system development life cycle. Our primary goals are to reduce the number of IT project failures across the Commonwealth, identify issues affecting IT project management statewide, and verify that project teams are following the state project management standards. Annually, we issue a progress report summarizing the selected projects and distribute it to key external parties in the Commonwealth including the state Chief Information Officer, agency heads, and members of the legislature.

The SRPM Team provides great value to the Commonwealth’s taxpayers and legislators by identifying and helping mitigate significant issues in operations, IT projects, and leadership across all state agencies.

Higher Education Programs

With 14 four year universities and 23 community colleges with over $26 billion in combined assets, the Higher Education team provides audit and advisory services to one of the largest industries in Virginia. Explore how universities set tuition rates, award and administer financial aid, and operate auxiliary activities like athletics, dining services, and housing, all while influencing future Higher Education policy. Team members will apply skills developed in school and on the job to the unique and important challenges facing public Colleges and Universities.

Compliance Assurance

Every year, the Commonwealth receives tens of billions in Federal assistance and collects even more in taxes. State agencies must use these funds according to numerous state laws and other legal agreements. As our team name suggests, we provide assurance that the Commonwealth is complying with the law and the terms of those agreements. We encourage proper management and controls over compliance to minimize financial and legal consequences that ultimately affect the taxpayers. In short, all of the funds that the state receives come with “strings attached”; if the rules are not followed, then management is not fulfilling their responsibility.

Our team is also committed to developing new computer assisted auditing techniques and developing innovative ways to examine statewide compliance.

Here are a few of the questions we help to answer:

  • • Is the state verifying that recipients of assistance programs are actually eligible?
  • • Is the state complying to receive billions in Federal cash?

If you are interested in answering questions like these, then the Compliance Assurance team could be for you.

Local Government and Judicial Systems

The Local Government and Judicial Systems specialty team is responsible for comprehensive audits of the Commonwealth’s 320 courts and performance of reviews of internal controls, system financial information and court procedures. The team is also responsible for audits of Commonwealth Magistrates, General Receivers, and local Constitutional Officers.

We work with local government officials and their auditors on accounting and auditing requirements and prepare and distribute annual local government guidelines related to new standards and audit specifications for requirements that are unique to Virginia. Our team prepares the annual Comparative Report of Local Government Revenues and Expenditures and performs special analyses on local government taxes and other local data. We also perform quality control reviews on local audits performed by CPA firms.

Information Systems Security

Are you interested in ensuring and improving how the Commonwealth of Virginia keeps its most sensitive and critical information protected within information systems and network infrastructure? Are you concerned with helping to ensure that Virginia’s government is capable of responding to threats or disasters of all sizes? If so, a typical day for any member of the Information Systems Security specialty team focuses on all of these issues and many more for clients throughout the State.

Based on risk, you will be challenged to assess different technological environments, and rewarded for obtaining industry-recognized certifications, such as the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), and Certified Public Account (CPA). Our team welcomes anyone who has degrees in Accounting, Computer Science, or Information Systems and is also interested in the fields of auditing information systems and security.

Reporting and Standards

Would you like to be on the cutting edge of your profession? Do you enjoy being the first one to learn about changes that affect everyone else? Do you like sharing your knowledge with others? Since all teams at the APA have to be knowledgeable about auditing and accounting standards, the Reporting and Standards team is responsible for ensuring all APA staff are aware of and following the applicable standards. We also coordinate with the various teams in the office to integrate their specialty areas into the APA’s overall audit approach and resources.

Our team’s knowledge of auditing and accounting standards make our team members in high demand on some of the Office’s key audits. Our broad based background affords us the opportunity to work on a variety of projects, including financial statement audits, performance audits, and special projects.

As part of our specialty work, we review proposals for new auditing and accounting standards and draft responses to the standard setting bodies as part of the process that determines standards used by state and local government accountants and auditors throughout the United States. We determine the impact of new standards on audits performed and determine the most appropriate team to address any changes that need to be made to the resources we use to perform our audits. To ensure APA staff are aware of and are following standards, we provide training, perform quality control reviews on select audits, and serve as a technical resource for researching accounting and auditing issues.