AU Internal Auditing: Departmental History

Departmental Leadership

The Internal Auditing Department was created at Auburn University on October 1, 1973, with the hiring of Donald T. Royal as Director of Internal Auditing. Royal served as the Director of Internal Auditing for twenty-eight years until his retirement on September 30, 2001. Upon retirement, Royal was named Executive Director Emeritus by the AU President and Board of Trustees. Kevin Robinson was named Acting Executive Director of Internal Auditing on October 1, 2001. Robinson served in this position for one year and was named to the permanent position effective October 1, 2002. One note regarding the history of Internal Auditing at Auburn University is the fact that Donald Royal was not the first person to hold the title Internal Auditor. Rhett Riley held the title of Internal Auditor upon his hiring in 1963, but he functioned as an accountant/business officer and did not perform internal auditing functions. Therefore, our history as a department did not effectively begin until October 1973.

Departmental Reporting Structure

Initially, the Director of Internal Auditing reported to the Business Manager/Treasurer. This reporting line changed in 1980. By action of the Budget Committee of the Board of Trustees of Auburn University, the Director of Internal Auditing began reporting to the President with a dotted line to the Budget Committee on June 2, 1980. In 1991, the reporting line was changed to the President and Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees. Beginning in the late 1990's the Executive Director reported to the Executive Vice President for administrative purposes with a line continuing to the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees. Significant reporting changes occurred in 2004 with the creation of an Audit Committee of the AU Board of Trustees. Board Member Virginia N. Thompson was named first Audit Committee Chair. Other members of the original audit committee were Charles D. McCrary and Earlon C. McWhorter. The Executive Director currently reports administratively to the President’s Office (reporting to the Senior Presidential Advisor - with Presidential access as needed) with a functional line to the Audit Committee.

Departmental Charter

In 1980, the Internal Auditing Charter was approved by the Budget Committee of the Board of Trustees. Among other things, the Charter set out the independence of the Director of Internal Auditing and established his authority to have full, free, and unrestricted access to all University functions, records, property, and personnel.

The Internal Auditing Charter was updated in November 2004 to reflect changes in Institute of Internal Auditing Standards (IIA). The update was approved by the Audit Committee of the Board of Trustees then formally approved by the entire board at their November 2004 meeting. The Charter continues to provide free and unrestricted access to the records or personnel relevant to an audit project.

Departmental Responsibility

Since our beginning, Internal Auditing has held internal audit responsibility for all areas within the Auburn University system. These areas include the Main Campus in Auburn, Auburn University at Montgomery, the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service Main Office and all sixty-seven county offices, the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station and outlying stations. Audit responsibility does not include related foundations which are separately incorporated.

Departmental Focus & General Comments

Internal Auditing has provided valuable services to Auburn University since its inception in 1973. Many internal auditors have moved on to key administrative and management roles within the AU system. Internal Auditors have moved into leadership positions such as Controller & VP for Business and Finance, Bursar, Director of Financial Reporting, Vice Chancellor for Finance, and other various director/manager positions.

Internal Auditing as a profession has changed dramatically over the past several years. There is a significant emphasis on risk assessment and mitigation under current IIA Standards. Risk assessment and risk inventories are a critical part of current operations to ensure audit resources are being directed to the appropriate area. An annual risk assessment serves as the basis of the annual audit plan.

To keep abreast of the changes in the profession the Internal Auditing department actively participates in the Association of College and University Auditors. Auburn University Internal Auditing was a charter member of ACUA and is currently very active with the Executive Director serving on the ACUA Board of Directors. Internal Auditors also hold memberships in various other organizations such as the Institute of Internal Auditors, the AICPA and Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.


Last Updated: January 24, 2011

Internal Auditing | Auburn, Alabama 36849 | (334) 844-4389 |
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