The annual independent audit should serve as a valuable tool in the budgeting process. The audit may not always receive the attention it deserves because it follows the close of the budget year. However, since the audit is prepared at the close of the year by an outside independent certified public accountant or public accountant, it represents an unbiased look at the major categories of expenditures and revenues. The audit can serve to point out areas for improvement in the budget development process, as well as to serve as a review of the district's compliance with laws, regulations and accounting practices.
Accounting firms that have specialists on staff can also provide valuable consulting and training services throughout the fiscal year to district staff dealing with budgeting and accounting matters. Questions addressed at the appropriate time can prevent problems from occurring that are difficult to correct after the close of the fiscal year.